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April 2021

Ontario Enacts 3-Day Sick Leave

On April 29, 2021 the Ontario Government introduced Infectious Disease Emergency Leave Pay (“Paid Leave”). Employers will be required to pay eligible employees up to $200 of pay for up to three days if they are missing work because of COVID-19. Employers will then be eligible to apply to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (“WSIB”) for reimbursement. The Paid Leave will be administered by the employer and will be applied retroactively starting from April 19, 2021, and will expire on September 25, 2021. Click here to read more.

Gov’t Inspectors Coming To Jobsites

Monday, April 19, 2021- The Ontario government will begin targeted provincewide inspections of construction sites starting  last Friday, April 16, 2021 to ‘hotspots’ of which Ottawa is one. They will be dispatching 200 workplace inspectors, supported by provincial offenses officers, to visit 1,300 constructions sites to enforce safety requirements. Officers will also be visiting over 500 workplaces, including big box stores, food processors, manufacturers and warehouses, in Ottawa, Toronto and York Region, which have been identified as hot spots for COVID-19. Please ensure all your jobsites comply with Ontario’s Covid – 19 protocols.

Travel Restrictions Imposed

Monday April 19th, 2021 – Premier Ford announced late Friday that non-essential construction will be shut down effective Monday April 19th until at least May 20th. Checkpoints will also be set up at the Ontario-Québec border to restrict land travel with exceptions for essential travel only. Construction workers who live in Gatineau and western Québec and working on an essential construction project in eastern Ontario will be allowed to travel into Ontario. Traveler’s who are coming into Ontario for purposes other than work, medical care, transportation of goods will be turned back at the border. Police will have the authority to ask anyone outside their residence to indicate their purpose for leaving home and provide their address. That includes stopping vehicles and potentially issuing tickets of approximately $750. Ontario Regulation 293/21 detailing the above interprovincial travel rules is accessible at this LINK. See the ECA Ottawa Covid – 19 webpage for a sample cross-border letter.

Essential Construction Definition

Essential Construction Defined – Further to the ECA Ottawa newsletter of Friday April 16 the province has now posted on line the detail as to what is essential construction. If your project doesn’t fall in in the following list of essential construction you have to shut down until at least May 20th. If your work does not fit into these parameters you can assume it will be closed. Construction activities or projects and related services, including land surveying and demolition services, that,

•          are associated with the health care sector or long-term care, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space’; •          ensure safe and reliable operations of, or provide new capacity in:
1.         municipal infrastructure
2.         provincial infrastructure, including but not limited to, the transit, transportation, resource, energy and justice sectors
•          support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, electricity generation, transmission, distribution and storage, natural gas distribution, transmission and storage or in the supply of
•          support the operations of, or provide new capacity in, schools, colleges, universities or child care centres within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014
•          are required for:
•          the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries
•          significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work commenced before April 17, 2021 or
•          industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance or enhancement of personal protective equipment, medical devices such as ventilators and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic
•          would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages or agricultural products
•          were commenced before April 17, 2021 and that would,
•          provide additional capacity for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping and delivery services
•          provide additional capacity in the operation and delivery of Information Technology (IT) services or telecommunications services
•          provide additional capacity to, or enhance the efficiency or operations of, businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials
•          support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services
•          are residential construction activities or projects and related services
•          prepare a site for an institutional, commercial, industrial or residential development, including any necessary excavation, grading, roads or utilities infrastructure
•          are necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused, or that are not active, to ensure ongoing public safety
•          are funded in whole or in part by:
•          the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario
•          an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario
•          a municipality
•          are:
•          intended to provide shelter or supports for vulnerable persons or affordable housing
•          being funded in whole or in part by, or are being undertaken by:
   1.     the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario
   2.     an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario
   3.     a municipality
   4.     a service manager as defined the Housing Services Act, 2011
   5.     a registered charity within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada)
   6.     a not-for-profit corporation

Ontario Enacts Provincial Stay-At-Home Order

The Ontario government is immediately declaring a third provincial emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act (EMPCA). Premier Doug Ford says the order will take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning and last for four weeks. Ford says stores providing essential goods will remain open during the four-week period, but they will only be permitted to sell grocery and pharmacy items. He says the new measures are necessary to fight the third wave of the pandemic that threatens to overwhelm the health-care system. The new restrictions follow a decision last week to impose a four-week provincewide shutdown that put an end to short-lived indoor and outdoor dining and lowered capacity for retail establishments as well as indoor and outdoor gatherings.

Ontario Moves To Phase 2 Vaccine Plan

The Ontario government is moving into Phase Two of its COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan, with a focus on reaching individuals in “hot spot” communities where COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted certain neighbourhoods. In addition, this phase will prioritize individuals with the highest-risk health conditions in April 2021. With a steady supply of the COVID-19 vaccine expected from the federal government, over nine million Ontarians will be offered their first vaccination between April and end of June 2021.