State of Emergency and Update to Essential Businesses
On January 13, 2021, O. Reg. 7/21 was filed with the Registrar of Regulations officially declaring a second state of emergency in the province of Ontario. Under sections 7.07(1)-(3) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, states of emergency remain in effect for 14 days, unless terminated or extended by order.
Considering the state of emergency and the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the province, the government of Ontario has imposed restrictions on the types of construction activities, projects and related services that are allowed to operate during this time.
Filed on and effective from January 13, 2021, O. Reg. 10/21 made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 amends O. Reg. 82/20 by revoking Section 43 of Schedule 2 and substituting it with the following list of construction activities that are permitted to operate during the state of emergency:
43. Construction activities or projects and related services, including land surveying and demolition services, that,
(a) are associated with the health care sector or long-term care, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space;
(b) ensure safe and reliable operations of, or provide new capacity in, provincial infrastructure, including the transit, transportation, resource, energy and justice sectors beyond day-to-day maintenance;
(c) support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, electricity generation, transmission, distribution and storage, natural gas distribution, transmission and storage or in the supply of resources;
(d) support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, schools, colleges, universities, municipal infrastructure or child care centres within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014;
(e) are required for,
(i) the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,
(ii) significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work commenced before January 12, 2021, or
(iii) industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance or enhancement of personal protective equipment, medical devices such as ventilators and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic;
(f) would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products;
(g) were commenced before January 12, 2021 and that would,
(i) provide additional capacity for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping and delivery services, or
(ii) provide additional capacity in the operation and delivery of Information Technology (IT) services or telecommunications services;
(h) support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services;
(i) are related to residential construction projects where,
(i) a building permit has been granted for a single family, semi-detached and townhomes,
(ii) the project is a condominium, mixed-use or other residential building, or
(iii) the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work that was started before January 12, 2021;
(j) prepare a site for an institutional, commercial, industrial or residential development, including any necessary excavation, grading, roads or utilities infrastructure;
(k) are necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused, or that are not active, to ensure ongoing public safety;
(l) are funded in whole or in part by the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program;
(a) intended to provide shelter or support for vulnerable persons or affordable housing; and
(b) being funded in whole or in part by, or are being undertaken by,
(A) the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,
(B) an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,
(C) a municipality,
(D) a service manager as defined the Housing Services Act, 2011, or
(E) registered charity within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada), or
(F) a not-for-profit corporation.
O. Reg. 10/21 can be accessed through the following link: https://files.ontario.ca/solgen-amend-8220-2021-01-13.pdf
Prior to O. Reg. 10/21, all construction activities or projects and related services that support construction activities or projects, including demolition, were permitted to continue in Ontario.
While this list of permitted construction activities is similar to the initial list in the various versions of O. Reg. 82/20 in existence between March 17 to May 17, 2020, there are several differences. One significant change is the addition of subsection 43(m)(b) which permits construction activities and related services being funded or undertaken by government entities or non-profit corporations to continue. In addition, construction activities and services that support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services are permitted to continue. This is in line with the Government of Canada’s commitment to provide all Canadians with reliable broadband access.
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