May 8, 2020
Ontario Further Eases Restrictions on Retail Stores and Essential Construction During COVID-19

The Premier announced on Wednesday, May 6, 2020, that in addition to easing restrictions on retail, the government is expanding essential construction to allow below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects like apartments and condominiums to begin and existing above-grade projects to continue.

As early as Friday, May 8 at 12:01 a.m., garden centres and nurseries will be able to open for in-store payment and purchases, operating under the same guidelines as grocery stores and pharmacies. Hardware stores and safety supply stores will be permitted to open for in-store payment and purchases as soon as 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, May 9. On Monday, May 11 at 12:01 a.m., retail stores with a street entrance can begin offering curbside pickup and delivery, in accordance with the Ministry of Health's Guidance Document for Essential Workplaces and occupational health and safety requirements. 

All sites and businesses must meet or exceed the Ministry of Labour’s Guidelines for Construction Site Health and Safety during COVID-19.

Click here to read the complete News release.
Updated List of Essential Services


20. Maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.


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

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

28.1 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.

29. Critical industrial construction activities required for,
  • i. the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,
  • ii. significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced,
  • iii. 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 stakeholders largely support new list of essential services

Construction industry stakeholders feeling the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic are applauding the Ontario government’s recent announcement to expand the list of certain businesses and projects allowed to reopen and proceed, calling it a cautious but prudent decision.

While many construction projects were deemed an “essential service” by the government throughout the pandemic and allowed to remain operational, some were shut down. On May 1, additional essential construction projects could reopen including shipping and logistics; broadband, telecommunications, and digital infrastructure; any other project that supports the improved delivery of goods and services; municipal projects; colleges and universities; child care centres; schools; and site preparation, excavation and servicing for institutional, commercial, industrial and residential development. The list also includes other businesses and sectors. They were allowed to reopen as of May 4.

Click here to read the full article.

Safety Month will be moving forward but won’t be business as usual

Ontario construction health and safety advocate Craig Lesurf says plans for the usual team barbecues, dunk tanks, group demonstrations, safety talks and other special events have fallen by the wayside this month, replaced by new messaging and programming necessitated by the spread of COVID-19.

North American Occupational Safety and Health Week draws participants from across the continent the first full week in May to raise awareness about the importance of preventing injuries and illnesses at work, with some members undertaking programs throughout the month. Lesurf, president of the Gillam Group, is on the executive board of the Toronto Construction Association (TCA), serves as chair of the safety committee for the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) and is on the League of Champions steering committee, all of which are determined to mark Safety Week and Safety Month despite the sector’s preoccupation with establishing a “new normal” in workplaces across the province, said Lesurf.

“COVID-19 is overwhelming everyone,” said Lesurf. “Right now it is safety minute by safety minute.”

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Letter of Interest/Request for information - Design-Build Standing Offers for office fit-up projects 
Public Services and Procurement Canada (PSPC) is contemplating the establishment of Design-Build Standing Offers (DBSOs) to deliver a full range of office fit-up projects, in the National Capital Area and potentially across Canada, and is seeking information from respondents with interest, individually or as part of a consortium/joint venture, in one or more aspects of the proposed approach.

The details on how to submit your response can be found in the notice Design-Build Standing Offers for Office Fit-ups ( EP008-210016/A ). Please provide your comments, ideas, responses or information no later than May 22, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. EDT.

The Economy Under COVID-19: Notes From the Trenches - May 6, 2020
There are currently two crises underway simultaneously. The advance of the novel coronavirus is taking a terrible toll in terms of physical and emotional well-being. At the same time, job losses resulting from ‘social distancing’ are sending the economy into a tailspin. To fight on both fronts, governments are advancing rescue packages of never-seen-before dimensions. Every day, the tremendous number of factors in play reconfigure in a new way. These ‘from the trenches’ notes attempt to shed some light along a murky pathway.

  • Pivot time, everyone! No longer is all the news surrounding the health care crisis entirely about bringing the economy to a near standstill so that ‘social distancing’ can establish fire walls against the spread of the coronavirus. More than half of U.S. states are presently allowing some form of business re-openings.

  • New guidelines, ‒ to be implemented in phases, ‒ for conducting operations in restaurants, retail stores, cinemas and so on vary widely by location, but they all include some version of personal protective gear and reduced space occupancy.

  • Going forward, construction trade associations should be focusing on measures to recommend for next-round building code revisions. For example, hospitals, nursing homes, seniors’ homes, homeless shelters and prisons would all benefit greatly from physical layout improvements to accommodate isolation of ill individuals when necessary. Standards recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) must be followed. Design changes throughout the built environment may become one of the most significant offshoots of these heart-wrenching days.

Click here  to read the full article .

MDS ruling begs the question: Are your BI pandemic exclusions iron-clad?

After recent events surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, in addition to a recent Ontario Superior Court decision about business interruption in a nuclear incident, Canadian P&C underwriters may want to take a second look at the wording of their pandemic exclusions in commercial policies covering business interruption.

Click here to read the full article.
TCA Resources on COVID-19

To access TCA dedicated Covid-19 Updates, click here .