Photo: James Bomables

The Ontario government is imposing new province-wide restrictions in the face of soaring COVID-19 cases, including on all non-essential construction.

Today, Premier Doug Ford declared a second state of emergency for Ontario, issued a stay-at-home order and placed additional limitations on retailers, households and businesses.

In an effort to curb the spread of the virus and prevent the medical system from becoming further strained, non-essential construction has been limited in the province.

However, home builders will be able to continue construction on residential developments as their activities have been deemed essential by the province. Critical industrial construction and several other categories of construction will also remain permitted as essential services. Public health measures and workplace safety guidelines related to the pandemic must be followed on job sites.

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“With these new restrictions, the Ontario government continues to make public safety the priority. Our industry has a strong record of implementing enhanced protocols under COVID-19,” said Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), in a joint public statement with the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

“While the new restrictions will slow the delivery of new housing for some projects, case levels have gotten to the point that all sectors and residents must be part of the solution,” he added.

Restrictions on home building were tighter during the virus’ first wave in spring 2020, with below-grade multi-unit residential construction halted. By May 2020, all restrictions were lifted on construction activity in the province.

“The government of Ontario continues to show confidence in the construction industry to operate in a safe environment with the utmost respect for measures to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Dave Wilkes, President and CEO of BILD, in the joint statement.

The latest COVID-19 restrictions will come into effect at 12:01 a.m on Thursday, January 14th, 2021.

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