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COVID-19 INFORMATION

May 27, 2021

We have been informed that the portal where employers can apply for reimbursement of COVID-19 related sick pay is now up and running.  Here are two links that will get you there: 

https://ontario-covid19-worker-income-protection-benefit.ca/en

More information on the program can be found here:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-worker-income-protection-benefit

May 21, 2021

Below is the latest release of information in regard to the three step reopening of our Province and the Construction Industry. Based on current trends in key health indicators, including the provincial vaccination rate, the government expects to enter Step One of the Roadmap the week of June 14, 2021. The province will confirm closer to the expected start of Step One.

The complete news release can be found here: Roadmap to Reopen


April 27, 2021

SSMCA is pleased to provide you with four documents that have been developed jointly by the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council (the Building Trades), the Construction Employers Coordinating Council of Ontario (CECCO) and COCA to advise construction employers, supervisors and workers about the measures that must be taken to keep job sites safe, minimize or eliminate the possibility of virus transmission and keep our industry working.

There are four documents:

  1. Safety Bulletin
  2. Safety Bulletin – Workplace Poster
  3. Safety Bulletin – Roles and Responsibilities
  4. Safety Bulletin – Workplace Guidance Practices

We encourage you to distribute these materials as widely as possible.  Let’s not give thee government reasons to close down the industry even further.  Let’s show the government that we operate safely and that the elements of the industry that were recently shut down should be reopened. 

April 26, 2021

The Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association is a proud member of the Council of Ontario Construction Associations (COCA).  Today, COCA President, Ian Cunningham, sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford, asking the government to reconsider the recent emergency order, which shut down much of the commercial component of the construction industry.

The letter is filled with information that demonstrates how the construction industry has not been a significant driver of COVID workforce transmission, with just 0.065% of workplace transmission being attributed to construction sites. 

The letter can be found by clicking below.



 

April 18, 2021

The provincial government has updated and posted the new regulations as we previously reported.  Official information regarding what construction activities can continue can be found here:

https://www.ontario.ca/page/enhancing-public-health-and-workplace-safety-measures-provincewide-shutdown 

Also, some of you may be interested in reading an article written by respected construction lawyer Rob Kennaley. He has proved to be a valuable resource through the pandemic as the government has made new rules and orders. You might find his analysis and advice regarding the government’s new order relating to what elements of the construction industry can remain open and operational, of interest.  It can be found by clicking here.

 

April 17, 2021

Our friends at the Council of Ontario Construction Associations have provided us with an UNOFFICIAL List of Essential Construction.
They have also provided us with a draft of the legislation which can be found here.

Please find below the UNOFFICIAL list of essential construction workplaces and activities that are allowed to remain operational pursuant to yesterday’s announcement by the government.  While it was provided to us by the Minister’s Office for the purposes of being helpful, the official list will appear in a regulation which is expected to be posted soon.  While the regulation is likely to be similar if not the same as this information below, you should be advised that the regulation is the only official list that should be absolutely relied upon.

 
Construction
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,
(i)  municipal infrastructure, or
(ii)  provincial infrastructure, including but not limited to, the transit, transportation, resource, energy and justice sectors;

(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 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 April 7, 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  April 7, 2021 and that would,
(i)  provide additional capacity for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping and delivery services,
(ii)  provide additional capacity in the operation and delivery of Information Technology (IT) services or telecommunications services, or
(iii)  provide additional capacity to, or enhance the efficiency or operations of, businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials.

(h)  support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services;

(i)  are residential construction activities or projects and related services;

(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,
(i)  the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,
(ii)  an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, or
(iii)  a municipality;

(m)  are,
(i)  intended to provide shelter or supports for vulnerable persons or affordable housing; and
(ii)  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)  a registered charity within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada), or
(F)  a not-for-profit corporation

April 16, 2021

The Government has issued a News Release on today's announcement of new COVID restrictions.  There are not yet any additional details on what is deemed essential construction.  We expect the restrictions will be similar to what we experienced in January and will distribute the official information as soon as it's available. 

The government intends to implement the following public health and workplace safety measures effective Saturday, April 17, 2021, at 12:01 a.m.:

  • Prohibit all outdoor social gatherings and organized public events, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone or a caregiver for any member of the household;
  • Close all non-essential workplaces in the construction sector;
  • Reduce capacity limits to 25 per cent in all retail settings where in-store shopping is permitted. This includes supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies; and,
  • Close all outdoor recreational amenities, such as golf courses, basketball courts, soccer fields, and playgrounds with limited exceptions.

In addition, effective Monday, April 19, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is limiting the capacity of weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions are prohibited, except for with members of the same household or one other person from outside that household who lives alone. Drive-in services will be permitted.

The new releases can be read here: https://news.ontario.ca/en/release/61192/ontario-strengthens-enforcement-of-stay-at-home-order

April 7, 2021

It is SSMCA's current understanding that construction activities or projects and related supporting services, including demolition and land surveying, will continue to be allowed with today's changes.  We expect more details will be released in the coming hours.

During the Stay-at-Home Order, SSMCA will have one staff member in the office from 8:30am-4:30pm for all services.  


Office of the Premier


 

TORONTO — The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is immediately declaring a third provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA). These measures are being taken in response to the rapid increase in COVID-19 transmission, the threat on the province's hospital system capacity, and the increasing risks posed to the public by COVID-19 variants.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
"The Covid-19 situation is at a critical stage and we must act quickly and decisively to stay ahead of these deadly new variants," said Premier Ford. "By imposing these strict new measures we will keep people safe while allowing our vaccination program to reach more people, starting with our high risk population and identified hot spots. Although this is difficult, I urge everyone to follow these public health measures and together we will defeat this deadly virus."
Case rates, hospitalizations, and ICU occupancy are increasing rapidly, threatening to overwhelm the health care system. The number of COVID-19 hospitalizations in the province have increased by 28.2 per cent between the period of March 28 and April 5, 2021. In addition, between March 28 and April 5, 2021, Ontario has seen the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care escalate by 25 per cent. While every action possible is being taken to increase capacity and continue daily surgeries and procedures, the province is reaching a tipping point.
Effective Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a province-wide Stay-at-Home order requiring everyone to remain at home except for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services (including getting vaccinated), for outdoor exercise , or for work that cannot be done remotely. As Ontario's health care capacity is threatened, the Stay-at-Home order, and other new and existing public health and workplace safety measures will work to preserve public health system capacity, safeguard vulnerable populations, allow for progress to be made with vaccinations and save lives.
Retail
In addition, the province is also strengthening public health and workplace safety measures for non-essential retail under the provincewide emergency brake. Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Limiting the majority of non-essential retailers to only operate for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, between the hours of 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., with delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6:00 am and 9:00 pm, and other restrictions;
  • Restricting access to shopping malls to limited specified purposes, including access for curbside pick-up and delivery, via appointment, with one single designated location inside the shopping mall, and any number of designated locations outside the shopping mall, along with other restrictions;
  • Restricting discount and big box stores in-person retail sales to grocery items, pet care supplies, household cleaning supplies, pharmaceutical items, health care items, and personal care items only;
  • Permitting the following stores to operate for in-person retail by appointment only and subject to a 25 per cent capacity limit and restricting allowable hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m. with the delivery of goods to patrons permitted between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.:
    • Safety supply stores;
    • Businesses that primarily sell, rent or repair assistive devices, aids or supplies, mobility devices, aids or supplies or medical devices, aids or supplies;
    • Rental and leasing services including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;
    • Optical stores that sell prescription eyewear to the public;
    • Businesses that sell motor vehicles, boats and other watercraft;
    • Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services; and
    • Retail stores operated by a telecommunications provider or service, which may only permit members of the public to enter the premises to purchase a cellphone or for repairs or technical support.
  • Permitting outdoor garden centres and plant nurseries, and indoor greenhouses that engage in sales to the public, to operate with a 25 per cent capacity limit and a restriction on hours of operation to between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.

These additional and strengthened public health and workplace safety measures will be in effect as of Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. 
Education
Keeping schools and child care open is critical to the mental health and well-being of Ontario children and youth. Schools and child care will remain open for in-person care and learning in public health regions where it is permitted, with strict safety measures in place.
In addition, beginning next week, education workers who provide direct support to students with special education needs across the province, and all education workers in select hot spot areas, will be eligible to register for vaccination. Vaccinations will commence during the April break starting with priority neighborhoods in Toronto and Peel, then rolling out to priority neighborhoods in other hot spot regions, including York, Ottawa, Hamilton, Halton and Durham. This will be followed by a rollout across the province as supply allows.
 "While our government took decisive action by implementing the provincewide emergency brake, more needs to be done to protect against the threats to our health system resources and the continued health and safety of individuals and families across the province," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "By further strengthening public health and workplace safety measures, we can work to reduce transmission of the virus while we work to rollout Phase 2 of our vaccine distribution plan, and put more needles in the arms of Ontarians."
"The rapid and increasing spread of COVID-19 and the variants of concern pose significant threats to our health care system and the well-being of Ontarians, requiring immediate and decisive action," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "The declaration of a third provincial emergency is necessary to provide the government with the tools needed to help protect the public, reduce the spread of the virus and save lives."
Vaccinations
As part of Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, people living in regions with the highest rates of transmission will be prioritized to receive a vaccine, starting with the most at-risk in the Peel and Toronto public health regions. This initiative will be expanded to additional "hot spot" regions based on established patterns of transmission, severe illness, and mortality.
To support this expanded vaccination effort, mobile teams are being organized to administer vaccines in high-risk congregate settings, residential buildings, faith-based locations, and locations occupied by large employers in hot spot neighbourhoods to individuals aged 18 or over. Pop-up clinics will also be set-up in highly impacted neighborhoods, including at faith-based locations and community centres in those hot spots, in collaboration with public health units and community organizations within those communities. The province will provide additional resources to support these mobile and pop-up clinics in the hardest-hit neighbourhoods.
The government will also extend booking for COVID-19 vaccination appointments to more age groups through its provincial booking system, for public health regions with highly impacted neighbourhoods, on Friday, April 9, 2021. Booking eligibility will be extended to include individuals aged 50 and over for COVID-19 vaccination appointments at mass immunization clinics in high-risk areas as identified by postal code, using the provincial booking system.
Workplace Inspections
Health and safety inspectors and provincial offenses officers will increase inspections and enforcement at essential businesses in regional hot zones to continue protecting essential workers while on the job. There have been 19,500 COVID-related workplace inspections and investigations across the province since the beginning of 2021. During those visits, over 450 COVID-19 related tickets have been issued and OHS inspectors have issued over 14,446 OHS orders and stopped unsafe work related to COVID-19 a total of 24 times.
Rapid Testing
Rapid testing continues to be deployed in workplaces for asymptomatic staff in key sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, mining, construction and food processing. Approximately 5.4 million rapid antigen tests have been sent to over 1,150 workplaces, including 100 essential industry sites, under the Provincial Antigen Screening Program. To encourage the use of these tests under the program, additional outreach will occur to employers in regions with highest rates of transmission to increase access to testing, and the process for enrollment in the screening program will be streamlined to allow for quick access to these supports.
"As we continue to see COVID-19 variants of concern drive this third wave of COVID-19, it is evident stronger public health and workplace measures are needed to help interrupt the spread of the virus," said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. "By all of us staying at home, while still taking some time to enjoy the outdoors with the people we live with in our local neighbourhoods and maintaining two metres physical distance from others, we can reduce our mobility, minimize transmission, protect our loved ones and our communities, safeguard health system capacity, and save lives."


Quick Facts

  • Over the past week, the province’s positivity rate is 5.1 per cent, well above the high-alert threshold of 2.5 per cent, and as of April 6, 2021, there has been a total of 2,483 cases with one of the three variants of concern (VoC). The percent of cases in the last week that tested positive for a mutation or VOC was 63.1 per cent.
  • On Saturday April 3, 2021, in response to an alarming surge in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province and in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government imposed a provincewide emergency brake, implementing additional time-limited public health and workplace safety measures, including encouraging remote work in all industries to the greatest extent possible and the closure of additional workplaces, further capacity limits on some essential businesses which are able to remain open, and strengthened advice on limiting trips outside of the home for essential reasons.
  • On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable community members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household in our their communities. Individuals should remain in their local communities and avoid all non-essential travel – even within the province – and to stay home when ill even with mild symptoms. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.
  • To ensure that every person who requires care in a hospital can access a bed, the government has invested more than $5.1 billion to support hospitals since the start of the pandemic, creating more than 3,100 additional hospital beds and 500 critical care and high intensity medicine beds. This includes $1.8 billion in 2021–22 to continue providing care for COVID-19 patients, addressing surgical backlogs and keeping pace with patient needs through its Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy.
  • The Ontario government continues to implement its High Priority Communities Strategy to provide targeted supports to communities hardest hit by COVID-19. In these communities 1,000 Community Ambassadors have been mobilized, 30 community testing sites have been opened and nearly 36,000 PPE kits have been distributed to community members.
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert App. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtest to find the nearest testing location.

Additional Resources

April 1, 2021

News Release

Ontario Implements Provincewide Emergency Brake

April 1, 2021

All 34 Public Health Unit Regions to Move into Shutdown

TORONTO —The Ontario government, in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, is imposing a provincewide emergency brake as a result of an alarming surge  in case numbers and COVID-19 hospitalizations across the province. The provincewide emergency brake will be effective Saturday, April 3, 2021, at 12:01 a.m. and the government intends to keep this in place for at least four weeks.
Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health, and Dr. Adalsteinn (Steini) Brown, Co-Chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table.
"We are facing a serious situation and drastic measures are required to contain the rapid spread of the virus, especially the new variants of concern," said Premier Ford. "I know pulling the emergency brake will be difficult on many people across the province, but we must try and prevent more people from getting infected and overwhelming our hospitals. Our vaccine rollout is steadily increasing, and I encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated. That is our best protection against this deadly virus."
Ontario's key indicators and latest modelling show that additional measures must be taken. From March 26 to 28, 2021, provincial case rates have increased by 7.7 per cent to 101.1 cases per 100,000 people. Current COVID-19 related ICU admissions are already over the peak of wave two and hospitals in regional hotspots will need to further ramp down scheduled surgeries. COVID-19 related ICU admissions are projected to exceed 650 beds in a few weeks. These increases are being driven by COVID-19 variants, which are transmitted easily and result in a higher risk of death and hospitalization, including in younger populations.
The provincewide emergency brake would put in place time-limited public health and workplace safety measures to help to stop the rapid transmission of COVID-19 variants in communities, protect hospital capacity and save lives. Measures include, but are not limited to:

  • Prohibiting indoor organized public events and social gatherings and limiting the capacity for outdoor organized public events or social gatherings to a 5-person maximum, except for gatherings with members of the same household (the people you live with) or gatherings of members of one household and one other person from another household who lives alone.
  • Restricting in-person shopping in all retail settings, including a 50 per cent capacity limit for supermarkets, grocery stores, convenience stores, indoor farmers' markets, other stores that primarily sell food and pharmacies, and 25 per cent for all other retail including big box stores, along with other public health and workplace safety measures;
  • Prohibiting personal care services;
  • Prohibiting indoor and outdoor dining. Restaurants, bars and other food or drink establishments will be permitted to operate by take-out, drive-through, and delivery only;
  • Prohibiting the use of facilities for indoor or outdoor sports and recreational fitness (e.g., gyms) with very limited exceptions;
  • Requiring day camps to close; and,
  • Limiting capacity at weddings, funerals, and religious services, rites or ceremonies to 15 per cent occupancy per room indoors, and to the number of individuals that can maintain two metres of physical distance outdoors. This does not include social gatherings associated with these services such as receptions, which are not permitted indoors and are limited to five people outdoors.

On the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, all Ontarians are asked to limit trips outside the home to necessities such as food, medication, medical appointments, supporting vulnerable communit y members, or exercising outdoors with members of their household. Employers in all industries should make every effort to allow employees to work from home.
"Ontario, like many other provinces and jurisdictions around the world, is in the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and immediate action is required to help turn the tide," said Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health. "Implementing a provincewide emergency brake was not an easy decision to make and is not one we take lightly. As we continue to vaccinate more Ontarians, the end is in sight, but right now these necessary measures will help to stop the spread of variants in our communities, protect capacity in our health care system, and save lives."
The current COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open, will be paused when the provincewide emergency brake comes into effect. The impacts of these time-limited measures will be evaluated throughout the next four weeks to determine if it is safe to lift any restrictions or if they need to be extended. With more than $1.6 billion invested to protect against COVID-19, schools remain safe for students and staff. Keeping schools open is critical to the mental health and well-being of Ontario youth. During the emergency shutdo wn, schools will remain open for in-person learning with strict safety measures in place. The spring break will continue as planned for the week of April 12. In order to support working families, child care will remain open during the shutdown. Child care settings will continue to adhere to stringent health and safety measures so that they remain safe places for children and staff.
"In the last few weeks a significant increase in COVID-19 cases and variants of concern has been observed across Ontario which has put considerable strain on our public health and health care systems," said Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health. "Implementing a provincewide shutdown is needed to bring the third wave of this pandemic under control so that we can save lives, keep our education system open and allow our vaccination program to take hold."

 

QUICK FACTS

  • Based on the latest modelling data, variants of concern are continuing to grip the province and drive this third wave of the pandemic. Case rates are rising, younger Ontarians are becoming sicker and ICU capacity is at risk of becoming overwhelmed without stronger public health and workplace safety measures in place.
  • The 2021 Budget, Ontario’s Action Plan: Protecting People’s Health and Our Economy, brings the government’s total investments to protect the economy to $23.3 billion. This includes an estimated $3.4 billion to support approximately 120,000 small businesses across Ontario via two rounds of the Ontario Small Business Support Grant. Applications for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant have been extended for one week through April 7 and all eligible businesses are encouraged to apply.
  • Additionally, the new Ontario Tourism and Hospitality Small Business Support Grant will provide an estimated $100 million in one-time payments of $10,000 to $20,000 to eligible small businesses in the tourism and hospitality sector. Businesses required to close or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures can continue to apply for property tax and energy cost rebates. Visit Ontario.ca/COVIDsupport for more information on Ontario’s supports for businesses.
  • To ensure that every person who requires care in a hospital can access a bed, the government has invested more than $5.1 billion to support hospitals since the start of the pandemic, creating more than 3,100 additional hospital beds and 500 critical care and high intensity medicine beds. This includes $1.8 billion in 2021–22 to continue providing care for COVID-19 patients, addressing surgical backlogs and keeping pace with patient needs through its Ontario's Action Plan: Protecting People's Health and Our Economy.
  • The province continues to deploy rapid testing in workplaces, including up to 300,000 COVID-19 tests per week for asymptomatic staff in key sectors such as manufacturing, warehousing, supply chain, mining, construction and food processing. More than 4.7 million rapid antigen tests have been sent to over 1,150 workplaces, including 89 essential industry sites, under the Provincial Antigen Screening Program.
  • The Ontario government continues to implement its High Priority Communities Strategy to provide targeted supports to communities hardest hit by COVID-19. In these communities 1,000 Community Ambassadors have been mobilized, 30 community testing sites have been opened and nearly 36,000 PPE kits have been distributed to community members.
  • Get tested if you have COVID-19 symptoms, or if you have been advised of exposure by your local public health unit or through the COVID Alert App. Visit Ontario.ca/covidtest to find the nearest testing location.
  • Emergency orders O. Reg. 55/21 (Compliance Orders for Retirement Homes) and O. Reg. 8/21 (Enforcement of COVID-19 Measures) currently in force, under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, have been extended until April 19, 2021, as the province continues to deal with the impacts of COVID-19.

 

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

March 24, 2021

The Ontario Government has released a document on the COVID-19 Vaccination Program.  They have added "construction including infrastructure" to the "Second Group" of Essential Workers Who Cannot Work from Home" in Phase 2 of Ontario's COVID-19 Vaccination Roll-out.

This means that all construction workers will have access to a COVID-19 vaccine, when available, and prioritized a month earlier than the general public.

Construction workers may require some proof of employment  in order to receive their priority vaccinations.  As more information becomes available on this requirement, SSMCA will provide further guidance to its members, up to developing a template for all members to use if required.

The Phase 2 Prioritization for COVID-19 Vaccination document can be found by clicking here.

February 8, 2021

News Release

Ontario Extending Stay-at-Home Order across Most of the Province to Save Lives


February 8, 2021


Public Health Units to Gradually Return to the COVID-19 Response Framework

TORONTO — In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is moving to a regional approach and maintaining the shutdown in the majority of the public health regions in Ontario, including the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures. When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the "Framework"). 

Details were provided today by Premier Doug Ford, Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones, and Dr. David Williams, Chief Medical Officer of Health.
"Our number one priority will always be protecting the health and safety of all individuals, families and workers across the province," said Premier Ford. "But we must also consider the severe impact COVID-19 is having on our businesses. That's why we have been listening to business owners, and we are strengthening and adjusting the Framework to allow more businesses to safely reopen and get people back to work."

To support the province's economic recovery, the government has updated the Framework to allow for a safer approach to retail. Limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with public health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25 per cent in most retail settings. In addition, public health and safety measures in retail settings will be strengthened for other levels of the Framework. Individuals will also be required to wear a face covering and maintain physical distance when indoors in a business, with limited exceptions.

Other measures include a requirement for individuals to wear a face covering when attending an organized public event or gathering (where permitted) if they are within two metres distance of another individual who is not part of their household (both indoor and outdoor). All other requirements for gatherings and organized public events would be maintained.

Based on the improving local trends of key indicators, including lower transmission of COVID-19, improving hospital capacity, and available public health capacity to conduct rapid case and contact management, the following three regions will be moving back to the Framework at the Green-Prevent level on Wednesday, February 10, 2021 at 12:01 a.m. and will no longer be subject to the Stay-at-Home order:

  • Hastings Prince Edward Public Health;
  • Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health; and
  • Renfrew County and District Health Unit.

Due to the fact that public health trends are improving in some regions faster than others, the current Stay-at-Home order will be amended and individual orders making it applicable to each public health region will be made except for the three above. It is proposed that the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions until Tuesday, February 16, 2021. For Toronto, Peel and York regions, it is proposed that the Stay-at-Home order will continue to apply until Monday, February 22, 2021. Final decisions will be subject to review of the trends in public health indicators at that time.

"While we have seen some progress in our fight against COVID-19, the situation in our hospitals remains precarious and the new variants pose a considerable threat to all of us," said Minister Elliott. "As we cautiously and gradually transition out of the provincewide shutdown, we have developed an emergency brake system giving us the flexibility to contain community spread quickly in a specific region, providing an extra layer of protection."

Recognizing the risk posed by new variants to the province's pandemic response, Ontario is introducing an "emergency brake" to allow for immediate action if a public health unit region experiences rapid acceleration in COVID-19 transmission or if its health care system risks becoming overwhelmed. If this occurs, the Chief Medical Officer of Health, in consultation with the local medical officer of health, may advise immediately moving a region into Grey-Lockdown to interrupt transmission.

"While we are seeing our numbers trend in the right direction, our situation remains precarious as the variants of concern remain a serious risk," said Dr. Williams. "This is not a re-opening or a 'return to normal' and we must continue to limit close contact to our immediate households and stay at home except for essential reasons. By continuing to follow all public health and workplace safety measures, we can continue to reduce the number of new cases and the strain on our health system."

In addition, the provincial emergency declared under s 7.0.1 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA) will be allowed to terminate at  the end of February 9, 2021. While the provincewide Stay-at-Home order will cease to apply in some regions as of February 10, 2021, everyone is strongly advised to continue to stay at home, avoid social gatherings, minimize travel between areas with different rules, and limit close contacts to their household. Employers in all industries should continue to make every effort to allow employees to work from home.
Enforcement of residential evictions will remain paused in the public health unit regions where the provincial Stay-at-Home order remains in effect. This will ensure people are not forced to leave their homes. In regions where the Stay-at-Home order is lifted, the regular process for residential eviction enforcement will resume.

Orders currently in force under the EMCPA have been extended to February 23, 2021 and will be extended further if necessary. O.Reg.55/21 (Compliance Orders for Retirement Homes) is currently in effect until February 19, 2021.

"While the declaration of emergency will be ending, the risks posed by COVID-19 and the new variants remain serious concerns," said Solicitor General Jones. "That's why extending the stay-at-home orders for most of the province is necessary to protect our communities, our most vulnerable populations, and stop the spread of COVID-19. We continue to urge all Ontarians to follow public health guidelines and stay home, stay safe, and save lives."

The Chief Medical Officer of Health will continue to consult with public health and other experts, review data, and provide advice to the government on the appropriate and effective measures that are needed to protect the health of Ontarians. Municipalities and local medical officers of health may have additional restrictions or targeted requirements in their region.
 

QUICK FACTS

  • Provincewide Shutdown measures went into effect on December 26, 2020 to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 across the province.
  • The government declared its second provincial emergency on January 12, 2021 and issued a Stay-at-Home order to reduce mobility and address hospital capacity concerns.
  • Ontario has implemented a six-point plan to deal with the new variants which includes mandatory on-arrival testing of international travellers, enhanced screening and sequencing, maintaining public health measures to keep people safe, strengthening case and contact management to track the spread of new cases, enhanced protections for vulnerable populations, and leveraging the latest data to inform public health decisions.
  • In January, Ontario's provincial offences officers visited 1,147 big-box stores and other essential retail businesses to ensure businesses are following the public health guidelines and properly protecting workers and customers from COVID-19. 112 tickets were issued to businesses and individuals during three inspection campaigns.
  • To support the safe return of in-person learning, Ontario has introduced new measures to continue to protect students and staff against COVID-19 in the classroom.
  • Once the shutdown is lifted, visitor restrictions for long-term care homes will once again apply to those homes in the public health regions that are in the Orange-Restrict level or higher. In addition, long-term care homes must implement enhanced testing requirements.
  • A full list of emergency orders under the EMPCA as well as orders under the ROA can be found on the e-Laws website and at Ontario.ca/alert.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

 

CONTACTS

Ivana Yelich
Premier’s Office
Ivana.Yelich@ontario.ca
Alexandra Hilkene
Minister Elliott’s Office
Alexandra.Hilkene@ontario.ca
Office of the Premier
http://www.ontario.ca/premier

January 18, 2021

The Ontario government on late January 15th amended Regulation 82/20 under the Reopening Ontario Act (2020) to further clarify what construction projects can remain open. We encourage our members to review all the available information to determine if their projects can continue to operate or not.
 

Click HERE to view the most current rules for areas in Stage 1.  You can find the construction specific regulations in section 43 of Schedule 2

 
The changes made to the legislation on January 15th are as follows:
1. (1) Clause 43 (b) of Schedule 2 to Ontario Regulation 82/20 is revoked and the following substituted:
(b)  ensure safe and reliable operations of, or provide new capacity in,
(i)  municipal infrastructure, or
(ii)  provincial infrastructure, including but not limited to, the transit, transportation, resource, energy and justice sectors;
 
(2) Clause 43 (d) of Schedule 2 to the Regulation is amended by striking out “municipal infrastructure”.
 
(3) Clause 43 (l) of Schedule 2 to the Regulation is revoked and the following substituted:
 
(l)  are funded in whole or in part by,
(i)  the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,
(ii)  an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario, or
(iii)  a municipality;
 
Commencement
2. This Regulation comes into force on the day it is filed.

January 15, 2021

The Building Department of the City of Sault Ste. Marie released an update on their operations today.  The bulletin can be found here

Applications for the Ontario Small Business Support Grant are now open.  More information and the application can be found at https://www.ontario.ca/page/businesses-get-help-covid-19-costs

January 14, 2021

The Ontario government late Wednesday January 13th posted online the Regulation under the Reopening Ontario Act (2020) with the precise wording defining essential construction which can continue stay open.

Click HERE to view the Regulation to amend existing Regulation 82/20
(Rules for areas in Stage 1).


An important clarification has emerged in respect to the final section dealing with affordable housing and projects funded by government.
 
The Ontario summary of emergency measures (shown below) that was released Tuesday (click HERE to download) provided 34 pages of detail including on page 23 & 24 the listing of the many types of essential construction that could continue.


SSMCA's bulletin on Tuesday replicated the information in the same format regarding the final 2 sections dealing with affordable housing and projects funded by government. Below is a copy and paste from the Ontario document.



The separation of 2 distinct sections led many to believe that the 2 were not interconnected. The way it was separated left many to believe affordable housing was one category of essential construction and that projects that were government funded was another category of essential construction.
 
Take a look at the just released regulation wording below and you can see that the intention is it is one category - not two. It is affordable housing that is funded by the various sources that is essential.



Another Web Reference
In addition to the above links readers can go to this Ontario Web Page to review the emergency information complete with links to the legal orders currently in force under:
 

Emergency Management & Civil Protection Act
 
and
 
Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act.


Maintenance and Repair Work is Essential
Members asked whether maintenance and repair work was essential because it wasn't contained in the January 12th briefing. You will find it listed as essential in paragraph 35 in Regulation 82/20 of the Rules for areas in Stage 1 noted above.
 
The exact wording is:
 
Maintenance, repair and property management services that manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.

Construction Specific COVID-19 Resources

The IHSA has produced a number of resources to help employers keep their essential workers safe.  We strongly encourage all members to review the resources found here as they continue to develop and improve their COVID Workplace Safety Plans.

Contact Us Anytime

If we can be of any assistance to your organization during these challenging times, please do not hesitate to contact us.  We are more than happy to help.

January 13, 2021

As you are likely well aware, yesterday the Province of Ontario declared a second provincial emergency with measures that will be in full effect Thursday, January 14th at 12:01am.

There are parameters established for general offices that the SSMCA will abide by, even as a support office to an essential sector, we can, and will make some administrative changes to follow the emergency order while maintaining our core membership services.
In particular, the 2 bullets in red below taken from the attachment are the primary reasons the SSMCA have altered their staffing arrangements at the office.

  • Work from Home Except Where Necessary: Each person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person who performs work for the business or organization conducts their work remotely, with limited exception, for instance, where the nature of their work requires them to be on-site at the workplace.
  • Businesses or organizations must ensure that masks or face coverings are worn by any person (including members of the public and workers) in the indoor area of the business or organization, with limited exceptions.

Effective tomorrow, we will modify our operations, but will remain open to members from 8:30a.m. to 4:30pm from Monday to Friday. The building will be restricted to staff only.  SSMCA staff members will attend the office on a rotational basis during open periods to offer services to members which will include the Commissioner of Oath Services/Statutory Declarations, plan copies, etc. All of these services will be done through one of either contactless pickup or in a curbside/drive-through method. 

We also are happy to provide virtual commissioning of documents, please contact adam@ssmca.com for more information.

Staff not on hand or in person will be available each day 8:30a.m. to 4:30 pm and can be contacted at the information below:
Adam Pinder, Executive Director, email: adam@ssmca.com or call 705-255-3712
Karen Mueller, Membership Services Coordinator, email: karen@ssmca.com or call 705-759-8830

Full details on the lockdown and operations of businesses can be found here: https://files.ontario.ca/moh-enhanced-provincewide-shutdown-en-2021-01-12-v3.pdf

We thank everyone for their understanding and cooperation as we navigate these challenges. 

Sincerely,
Adam Pinder – Executive Director

January 12, 2021

The Province has released further details on Enhancing Public Health and Workplace Safety Measures in the Provincewide Shutdown.  The document details information regarding general public health and workplace safety measures for all businesses, organizations and facilities and individuals.  The document can be found here: https://www.ontario.ca/page/covid-19-provincewide-shutdown

 January 12, 2021

Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021 at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work. This order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at limiting people's mobility and reducing the number of daily contacts with those outside an immediate household. In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.

 

The Ontario government has updated the list of construction projects deemed essential, and that list includes:

 

Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector and long-term care, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space. 

Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy, mining and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance. 

Construction projects and services that support the operations of, and provide new capacity in schools, colleges, universities, municipal infrastructure and child care centres within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.  

Construction projects under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program 

Construction projects and services that support the operations of Broadband internet and cellular technologies and services. 

Critical industrial construction activities required for,

  • the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries, 
  • significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced,
  • industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, and/or enhancement of Personal Protective Equipment, medical devices (such as ventilators), and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction projects that are due to be completed before July 2021 and that would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products.

Construction projects that were commenced before January 12, 2021, and that would,  

  • 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.

Residential construction projects where,  

  • a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes 
  • the project is a condominium, mixed use or other residential building, or 
  • the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before January 12, 2021.

Construction to prepare a site for an institutional, commercial, industrial or residential development, including any necessary excavation, grading, roads or utilities infrastructure.

 

Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety.

Below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects, such as apartments and condominiums. The Ontario government also provided that businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines.

Construction on any project intended to provide either, 

1.      affordable housing, or 

2.      shelter or supports for vulnerable persons,  

 

If the project is being funded in whole or in part by, or is being undertaken by, any of the following:  

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 in the Housing Services Act, 2011, or 

E. a registered charity and not for profit within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada)

.