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Ontario loosens restrictions on construction, will allow work to restart on some projects May 4


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May 1, 2020 by On-Site Staff

Some construction projects have been allowed to move forward during the COVID-19 pandemic, while others have been forced to pause

Some Ontario construction crews forced to sit idle through much of April, will be allowed to return to work May 4.

The Ontario government announced Friday it is rejigging its essential businesses list to include construction on schools, digital infrastructure, logistics projects and municipal work. Excavation and other site preparation for projects in the industrial, commercial and institution (ICI) and residential segments will also be allowed to resume.

“Ontario workers and businesses have shown exemplary cooperation and resilience throughout the course of this crisis,” said Victor Fedeli, the province’s minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, in a statement. “We’re beginning to ease restrictions on select businesses as we carefully and methodically re-open Ontario’s economy and continue together on our path to renewed prosperity.”

Lawn care workers and landscapers will also be able to return to work May 4 as part of the staged reopening.

Earlier this week, the province released a framework for reopening its economy as health experts work to contain COVID-19. It stressed the process would take time.

Dave Wilkes, president and CEO of the Building Industry and Land Development Association applauded the looser restrictions for construction.

“Given Canada’s climate, much of the work is seasonally dependent and the construction season for foundational activities is short,” he said in a release. “Extending the prohibition of critical work for much longer threatens the entire construction year, turning the GTA’s housing supply crunch into a full blown crisis and undermining one of the province’s most important economic engine.”

Wilkes noted the decision on earthworks “makes sense” as equipment operators can remain in their own cabs and easily maintain physical distancing.

Though a large portion of the construction industry has been forced to halt work during the pandemic, key infrastructure work and many residential building projects already underway have been allowed to continue over the past six weeks.