Ontario Releases Regulations Defining Essential Construction Activities and Other COVID-19 Restrictions

The Ontario Government has released Regulations defining essential construction activities.  These Regulations also stipulate restrictions pertaining to businesses / activities for the current State of Emergency and Stay at Home order.

The restrictions are being implemented as part of the enhanced COVID-19 safety measures announced on April 16, 2021. For further details regarding this announcement, please refer to our In A Flash article Ontario Extends Stay-At-Home Order and Announces New COVID-19 Restrictions

A detailed list of the new restrictions is set out below:

Construction Industry

The following construction activities are permitted to remain open:

Construction activities or projects and related services, including land surveying and demolition services, that:

  • 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;
  • ensure safe and reliable operations of, or provide new capacity in,
    • municipal infrastructure, or
    • provincial infrastructure, including but not limited to, the transit, transportation, resource, energy and justice sectors;
  • 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;
  • support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, schools, colleges, universities or child care centres within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014;
  • are required for,
    • the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,
    • significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work commenced before April 17, 2021, or
    • 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;
  • would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products;
  • were commenced before April 17, 2021 and that would,
    • provide additional capacity for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping and delivery services,
    • provide additional capacity in the operation and delivery of Information Technology (IT) services or telecommunications services, or
    • provide additional capacity to, or enhance the efficiency or operations of, businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials;
  • support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services;
  • are residential construction activities or projects and related services;
  • prepare a site for an institutional, commercial, industrial or residential development, including any necessary excavation, grading, roads or utilities infrastructure;
  • are necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused, or that are not active, to ensure ongoing public safety;
  • are funded in whole or in part by,
    • the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,
    • an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, or
    • a municipality; or
  • are,
    • intended to provide shelter or supports for vulnerable persons or affordable housing, and
    • being funded in whole or in part by, or are being undertaken by,
      • the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,
      • an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,
      • a municipality,
      • a service manager as defined the Housing Services Act, 2011,
      • a registered charity within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada), or
      • a not-for-profit corporation.
Capacity Limits

The following businesses, if permitted to open pursuant to the Regulation, are subject to a 25 percent capacity limit:

  • Supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers’ markets and other stores that primarily sell food, other than restaurants, bars, food trucks, concession stands and certain other food or drink establishments;
  • Pharmacies;
  • Discount and big box retailers which engage in retail sales to the public; and
  • Outdoor markets, including farmer’s markets and holiday markets.

Marinas which provide the following services are permitted to open:

  • Repairing or servicing boats or other watercraft;
  • Placing boats or other watercraft in the water to be secured to a dock until the marina is open to the public; and
  • Any other services that may be required to:
    • enable individuals to access their place of residence or their other property;
    • support government operations or services; or
    • support the transportation of items by commercial barges.
Outdoor Recreational Amenities

Individuals are not permitted to use any outdoor recreational amenities, including:

  • All outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment;
  • All outdoor sports facilities and multi-use fields, including
    • baseball diamonds;
    • soccer fields;
    • frisbee golf locations;
    • tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts;
    • basketball courts;
    • BMX parks; and
    • skate parks;
  • All portions of park and recreational areas containing outdoor fitness equipment; and
  • All outdoor picnic sites and picnic tables in park and recreational areas.

Individuals are permitted to use the following outdoor amenities:

  • Off-leash dog areas and park benches; and
  • Parks and recreational areas may be open for the purposes of permitting persons to walk through the park or recreational area.

Individuals who use an outdoor park or recreational area, off-leash dog areas, or benches in parks or recreational areas are required to maintain a physical distance of at least two (2) metres from any other person, other than a person who is a member of the same household, a member of one other household who lives alone, or a caregiver for any member of either household.

 Limits on Weddings, Funerals, and Religious Services

Weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies are limited to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Drive-in services, subject to certain conditions, are permitted.

A copy of the amendment setting out the above restrictions can be found here.

If you have any questions about this topic, other COVID-19 related questions, or would like assistance with developing and/or reviewing pandemic plans, please do not hesitate to contact a Mathews Dinsdale lawyer, or refer to the Firm’s COVID-19 website resources.

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