COVID-19: Construction updates on Ontario's response

As of April 24, 2020

3 minute read
14 April 2020

The Ontario provincial government's response to COVID-19 continues to evolve. Over the April long weekend, the Province of Ontario issued additional orders that impact the construction industry - namely, by extending emergency orders until April 23, 2020 (now May 6, 2020), extending hours of construction for critical projects, adding to the list of essential workplaces, and lifting the suspension of limitation periods. Here is a summary of the newest changes:

  1. On April 11, 2020, the Province extended until April 23, 2020 all emergency orders that have been issued to date under section 7.0.2(4) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. For more details.
  2. On April 7, 2020, the Province issued orders temporarily waiving noise by-laws as part of an announcement to extend construction hours for essential construction projects, such as critical projects in the health care sector, to 24 hours a day. For more details, see the Province's news release and Ontario Regulations 130/20 and 131/20.
  3. On April 9, 2020, the Province added to the list of essential workplaces "construction projects that are due to be completed before October 4, 2020 and that would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products". For more details, see Ontario Regulation 136/20.
  4. Also on April 9, 2020, the Province announced that the previous suspension of limitation periods will be lifted on April 16, 2020 in respect of limitation periods and procedural time periods under the Ontario Construction Act. The release of holdback to contractors and subcontractors will therefore be payable to contractors and subcontractors in the normal course. Once the suspension is lifted, parties will have the same amount of time to meet a deadline that was remaining before the suspension began on March 16, 2020. For more details, see Ontario Regulation 73/20.

Please also see our previous article on what Ontario construction projects are required to shut down and what projects may continue.

These are very challenging times and even more so for construction projects. The health and safety of construction personnel is always paramount in construction, now more than ever.

Please check back to Gowling WLG's website as we update the sector on new developments, new announcements and best practices. Our Infrastructure & Construction Sector Group will continue publishing articles and hosting webinars to help the construction sector.

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