On Friday, June 11, 2021, the province of Ontario entered Step 1 of The Roadmap to Reopen. The Roadmap to Reopen is a three-step plan "to safely and cautiously reopen the province and gradually lift public health measures."
The three-step reopening plan is based largely on vaccination rates and other public health indicators. Step 1 of the reopening plan will still have significant restrictions on businesses and public gatherings in Ontario. Fortunately for those in the construction sector, Step 1 allows all construction to open.
Specifically, as of 12:01 a.m. on Friday, June 11, all construction activities and associated support services are permitted to resume operations. The province, through O. Reg. 440/21, amended O. Reg. 82/20: Rules for Areas in Shutdown Zone and at Step 1 in response to the current conditions of the pandemic in the province.
O. Reg. 440/21 amended several aspects of O. Reg. 82/20 but this amending regulation did not amend section 40 to Schedule 7 of O. Reg. 82/20 which states that all construction operations may open at Step 1. Section 40 at Schedule 7 under O. Reg. 82/20 provides that "Construction activities or projects and related services that support construction activities or projects, including demolition services" may operate during Step 1 of the province's reopening plan.
Under the rules of Step 1, those businesses allowed to operate, such as construction activities and related services, must still continue all COVID-19-related workplace health and safety protocols. Protocols include but are not limited to workplace screenings, physical distancing, face coverings, enhanced hygiene practices, and the development of a safety plan in accordance with the Regulation.
The Ontario Government website provides resources on employer obligations and recommendations, which includes construction-sector specific guidance.
Gowling WLG has been at the forefront in guiding our clients through the COVID-19 pandemic, and our construction sector clients in particular. For more of our resources and updates on the legal impacts of the pandemic, please visit our COVID-19 resource page hub. Our legal professionals are regularly updating this hub with resources to ensure you are prepared for how coronavirus will impact your business. If you are concerned about COVID-19 or have any queries, please speak to your usual contact at Gowling WLG or email email@example.com.