On-Site Magazine

Ontario issues new stay-at-home order, but job sites allowed to remain open

April 7, 2021   David Kennedy
Health & Safety

The stay-at-home order requires businesses to allow all staff who can work from to do so. Job sites, however, are permitted to remain open

Six days after the Ontario government implemented what it dubbed an “emergency brake shutdown” to slow the spread of COVID-19, the province is again tightening restrictions by issuing a stay-at-home order.

Premier Doug Ford, alongside Minister of Health Christine Elliott, declared a province-wide state of emergency April 7, but as with recent iterations of Ontario’s pandemic response, construction sites will be allowed to remain open.

The state of emergency, Ontario’s third since the onset of the pandemic more than a year ago, includes a four-week stay-at-home order that will come into force 12:01 a.m. Thursday. It requires people to leave their home only for essential purposes, which includes going to essential jobs that cannot be done remotely. Non-essential retail stores will return to curbside pick-up only, and big box stores will be allowed to sell only essential items. Businesses must ensure all staff who can work from home do so.

“These next four weeks are absolutely critical,” Ford said in a press conference April 7. “We have come so far already and we just need to stick together a little longer because hope is on the horizon.”


Ford implored residents to stay home, saying the stay-at-home order is part of the province’s two-part strategy for tackling the third wave of COVID-19.

Stepping up vaccinations by opening up bookings to more Ontarians and rolling out mobile vaccine clinics is the other. The province said vaccine teams will be deployed to high-risk congregate settings, including large employers in hot spot neighbourhoods. With increasing vaccine supplies, Ford said by the end of the four-week stay-at-home order, Ontario hopes to have 40 per cent of adults vaccinated against COVID-19.

For construction, the latest order changes little. Staff that can work remotely must do so, but job sites are allowed to remain open.

For smaller scale work, the Ontario Home Builders’ Association said projects such as renovations are considered essential and are allowed to continue under the industry’s strict health and safety guidelines. For occupied space projects, however, the association advises contractors to work with their clients to devise a scenario all involved are comfortable with.

The province noted health and safety officers will increase inspections at essential businesses in regional hot zones during the latest stay-at-home order.

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76 Comments » for Ontario issues new stay-at-home order, but job sites allowed to remain open
  1. Peter Clarey Clarey says:

    We are supposed to start a full renovation April 13th in our newly purchased 30 condo. Our planned move in is May 31 as we have to be out of our present condo (which we sold) and closes June 3rd. Under the present Stay at home can my reno begin?

    • David Kennedy says:

      All construction is allowed to continue under the latest order. You should have no issue.

      • Fred says:

        Does this still apply keeping in mind the new orders on April 16th? I am having tiling work done in the kitchen on Monday the 19th. Is this still allowed.

        • David Kennedy says:

          The latest details are available in the article here. It appears that yes, reno work can continue under the latest order, but it is not specifically cited in the regulations. Working to confirm.

  2. Kit Wing, Cheng says:

    I am a landscaping contractor providing all kinds of landscaping, interlock, pond installation and maintenance/emergency services. During the recent lockdown, are we still legally allowed to continue our service for our customers?

    • David Kennedy says:

      Yes, you can continue working. Along with all construction being allowed to continue, the province has a separate line specifying that landscaping services are exempt from the restrictions, so you are fine on both fronts.

  3. Randy says:

    I wonder if my current kitchen renovation is allowed to continue during this lockdown? I live at my currently home.

  4. R Wong says:

    Hi, we are supposed to start a renovation on April 12th in our newly purchased (vacant) house in Stouffville. Our plan is to move in beginning of May as our present house were sold with the same closing date.
    Under the new Apr 08 Stay at home order, can my contractor team start on Apr 12? Thanks!

  5. Mike says:

    I own a painting company and I have clients wanting to start jobs and get estimates. Im under the assumption I am not allowed to paint or give estimates during the lockdown?

    • David Kennedy says:

      Renovations and services such as painting are allowed to continue, according to the OHBA. Some added detail now included in the article above about occupied space projects. The OHBA or your location association can likely provide further detail

  6. Janine Weber says:

    What about concrete patio installation?

  7. Marcel says:

    I own a renovation business and have already made quotes on jobs and they have been accepted. Can I do these jobs?

    • David Kennedy says:

      Yes. Do note the occupied space aspect in the article above, however, assuming the owners are home

  8. Lee says:

    Hi, my landlord is currently doing renovations in a fully occupied full building (10 Apts. 9 occupied. They started this in march and have no permits posted. Claim they are reworking the entire building with firewalls boilers etc but have only done wall panelling and maybe some flooring so far and tearing up some random areas. Are they able to continue or should they not be doing this due the stay at home order? I am just trying to figure out if wall panelling and some flooring is essential work or not. Thanks

    • David Kennedy says:

      All construction work, renovations included, has been deemed essential, so they should be allowed to continue. Under earlier orders, specific types of projects were not considered essential, but this time around, it’s a blanket exemption.

  9. Terra says:

    We rent a house. Landlord is trying to sell, but has some repairs he wants done to up the price if the sale. With the 28day lockdown, is he allowed to have contractors in the house to start these projects?

    • David Kennedy says:

      With construction and reno work being deemed essential, yes they are allowed. As noted above, the OHBA is advising contractors to work with customers on a situation everyone is comfortable with for occupied space projects. I don’t have any added details when it comes to tenants in this respect.

  10. Kiki says:

    I work at a construction site where we are building a hotel, is this considered essential or not?

  11. Michelle says:

    We own a small landscaping contractor comapany providing all kinds of landscaping, interlock, pond installation and maintenance/emergency services. During the recent lockdown, are we still legally allowed to continue our service for our customers?

  12. Leslie says:

    Has anything changed since today’s announcement? I have booked a contractor to paint (interior) and do minor renovations to my home (this coming week). Are we still allowed to move forward with this? Thank you.

  13. reagan wong says:

    Hi, we are in the middle of our new (vacant) home renovation. Can our contractors continue under Today’s strengthen enforcement of “Stay Home Order” new announcement?

  14. Dave says:

    Can landscapers work during the latest covid lockdown of April 17th?

  15. Sally Wong says:

    We are a hard scaping company providing services such as concrete patios, walkways, driveways etc. Are we considered essential under the new lockdown?

  16. Erin says:

    We are in the middle of a basement reno but we can’t figure out if it is allowed to continue with the new regulations. It is not a safe space to be in and leave mid-job but we are living in the home and do have little ones with us that we can keep upstairs. Can you clarify if they can complete the week’s worth of work with these new regulations?

    • David Kennedy says:

      Some added details included above now. It appears that yes, reno work can continue, but it is not specifically cited in the regulations. Working to confirm.

  17. Phillip Golland says:

    I’m in the middle of renovating the basement. Painting is the only thing left to do. Can I have my contractor come in

    • David Kennedy says:

      Some added details included above now. It appears that yes, reno work can continue, but it is not specifically cited in the regulations. Working to confirm.

  18. Lance says:

    I have a small business paving asphalt driveways and parking lots. Am I able to work?

    • David Kennedy says:

      Yes. Refer to this article for the latest. Driveways should fall under the residential exemption, but parking lots likely depends on what type of project the lots are tied to. I’d recommend confirming one way or other with the government if the projects don’t fall under the list of exemptions

  19. Carissa Vitug says:

    I am currently having my home Reno’d and it started last week of March. Will this be stopped as it’s concerning that we are still living in this house.

  20. John Clark says:

    Hi David, we own a bath reno company and have many contacts/ deposits/ material ordered. Are we able to keep our scheduling and not lay off our 9 employees with this latest Ford announcment ???

  21. N says:

    Does house renovation comes under essential?

  22. Duc Pham says:

    We are almost finished our basement. Can the constructor allowed done our project.

  23. Kathryn says:

    I have ordered my siding and new windows for my contractor to start work on the entire outside of my house at the end of the month. Can he still proceed with the current restrictions?

  24. Kathy C says:

    I have a kitchen backsplash, window frame and a pantry door and frame to complete my kitchen Reno, that was ordered in November and install started February 5th . can that still continue? Judging from your replies from to others I think yes . But would be great if there was better detail in this stay at hone order. Thank you

  25. Annette Krakar says:

    We started having an in ground pool built can this work continue; next step is concrete around pool and house and driveway.

  26. Cam says:

    I have a pool installation company witch installs pools fence deck and hardscape am I able to start a new project and dig a pool?

  27. Tara says:

    We are a small company that does windows/doors, siding, soffit, fascia and eavestrough. It is a very grey area as to whether we can continue working during this stay at home order. Are we essential?
    I really need clarification

  28. Avery says:

    I have a few questions about residential work that is scheduled but not started yet and the April 17th non essential construction rules.
    1) My driveway is scheduled for dig out on Thurs.,April 22/21 and paved on June 4th. Can this still go ahead?
    2) Landscaping with softscaping and a patio replacement and custom steps.
    3) In ground pool with tentative ground breaking this month.
    Can all these things still go forward as planned?

  29. Marco says:

    Hi we have a small fencing business mostly residential are we allowed to keep working?

  30. Jose says:

    Hello!! I own a small landscaping my company and my question is if interlocking on residential home allowed?

  31. Harry says:

    I have wooden deck on my backyard which needs to be repaired, stained, my question is can I call contractor or it is allowed to do such renovation

  32. Ilana says:

    Out cottage was raised last year for flood protection. Still needs stairs in the back and front stairs to code. Can we built those during lockdown?

  33. brigitte leggett says:

    We own a paving company can we go out and work?

  34. Tejinder Singh says:

    We have to put our house on sale as we already got our new home.wanted to do some renovations to make it saleable are we allowed to do kitchen countertop and paint.

  35. Michael Bartoli says:

    Hi – We received a permit on May 3 for an interior renovation. Clients are moving out. Can we start this project? Thank you!

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