Photo: James Bombales

A new slate of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the Ontario government will limit non-essential construction activities, but will not impact work on residential projects, the province announced today.

In a televised press conference held this afternoon, Ontario Premier Doug Ford and fellow ministers announced the latest round of restrictions aimed at suppressing the surging third wave of COVID-19 cases.

Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, Monte McNaughton, told reporters during the press conference that restrictions would include halting non-essential construction work, with a focus on work at hotel and office buildings.

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“In order to help reduce spread, we are shutting down some non-essential construction, like shopping malls, hotels and office towers,” said Minister McNaughton.

“However, there are still projects that are critical to our health, like building our homes, our hospitals, assessment centres and long-term care homes, and we need to ensure those on these sites are being kept safe,” he added.

The provincial government also kicked off “targeted provincewide inspections” of construction sites today, dispatching 200 workplace inspectors to 1,300 construction sites in a move to enforce safety requirements.

“We’ve inspected these worksites regularly throughout the pandemic, but it is more important than ever, with these new variants spreading, that we continue to ensure that construction worksites are following the rules and that workers who still go to work every day are protected,” said Minister McNaughton in a press release announcing the inspections.

During the first wave of COVID-19 in 2020, restrictions were placed on below-grade and multi-unit residential construction. By May 19th, all construction activities in the province were permitted to resume as normal.

When the province’s second state of emergency was declared in January 2021, residential construction was permitted to continue as an essential service, along with critical industrial construction work.

The majority of the new COVID-19 restrictions announced today will come into force on Saturday, April 17th at 12:01am.

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