COVID-19 INFORMATION

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)

.