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Stay at Home Orders & Law

As a result of the escalating COVID-19 pandemic, on January 12, 2021, Ontario declared a state of emergency and issued a stay-at-home order, effective January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. The state of emergency will remain in effect for 28 days and gives the Ontario Provincial Police, local police forces, bylaw officers and workplace inspectors the authority to enforce public health rules and issue tickets and fines.

Exempt Construction Projects

The declaration of a state of emergency, in conjunction with the stay-at-home order, will have implications for most industries including the construction industry. Construction projects deemed non-essential will be closed for the duration of the emergency declaration. Subject to review of official regulations, the following construction projects are deemed essential and may operate:

  • Construction projects associated with the healthcare sector including long-term care including the creation of new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversions of spaces that could be repurposed for the healthcare sector;
  • Construction projects to ensure safe and reliable operations of municipal and provincial infrastructure including energy, transit, mining and justice sectors;
  • Construction projects proceeding under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program;
  • Construction projects involving educational institutions and child care centers;
  • Demolition and land surveying services;
  • Construction projects involving and/or servicing internet and cellular technologies;
  • Construction projects aimed at modifications to existing industrial structures to produce PPE and other products directly required to combat the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Industrial construction required for the operation of petrochemical plants and refineries;
  • Construction projects commenced before January 12, 2021 and that would provide additional capacity for businesses providing logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping/delivery services;
  • Construction projects that are to be completed before July 2021 and aimed at additional production capacity in food processing, manufacturing and distribution;
  • Construction aimed at preparing a site for commercial, institutional, residential or industrial development, including excavation, grading, roads or utilities infrastructure;
  • Residential construction projects where:
  • a footing permit has been granted for a single family, semi-detached and townhomes;
  • the project is a condominium, mixed use or other residential building; or
  • the project involves renovations of residential properties that started before January 12, 2021
  • Below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects, such as apartments and condominiums;
  • Construction projects intended to provide affordable housing, shelter or support for venerable persons;
  • Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily closed or not active and to ensure ongoing public safety; and
  • Construction projects that are being funded in whole or in part by, or are being undertaken by:
  • the Crown in right of Canada or right of Ontario;
  • an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or right of Ontario
  • a municipality;
  • a service manager as defined in the Housing Services Act; or
  • a registered charity and not-for-profit organization as defined under the Income Tax Act (Canada).

It is imperative that all stakeholders in the above-referenced construction projects remain mindful that with this emergency declaration, the Ministry of Labour will launch a new inspection regime to ensure proper public health steps are adhered to.  It is expected that construction will be among the industries the Ministry of Labour will be focusing on as part of its inspection blitz.

At KMB law, our construction and real estate groups can guide you in navigating these complex, ever-changing rules and reduce any potential exposure. Should you have any questions regarding this article or require any assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us.

This article is provided for general information purposes and should not be considered a legal opinion. Clients are advised to obtain legal advice on their specific situations.

If you have questions, please reach out

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