Various forms of construction, mining and forestry are included in Ontario’s list of essential services, as the province moves to close businesses in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.
On Monday, March 23, Premier Doug Ford announce the provincial government will close non-essential businesses to flatten the curve. The list of essential businesses was released Monday night. Businesses will be required to close as of 11:59 p.m. Tuesday night.
“This was a very, very tough decision, but it was the right decision,” Ford said during a news conference held Monday. “The gravity of this order does not escape me.”
Heavy equipment repair and rental have been deemed an essential services, as well as road construction and maintenance.
Utilities, and businesses that support the provision of utilities and community services are also allowed to continue to operate.
For construction sites, various project types will be able to continue to operate as essential services, including:
- 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.
- Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.
- Construction work and services, including demolition services, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors.
- Construction work and services that supports health and safety environmental rehabilitation projects.
While construction will continue, Ford warned construction companies they must ensure they operate in a sanitary manner.
He said the action of some companies is unacceptable and must be remedied or face potential shutdown.
“On large construction sites downtown, they’ve showed me, they have outhouses over flowing and don’t have proper sanitary items,” Ford said. “Get your act together. Take care of your frontline construction workers.
“If they don’t do it, we will do it.”
Various forms of mining were also deemed as essential services, including:
- Mining operations, production and processing.
- Mineral exploration and development.
- Mining Supply and Services that support supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety.
- Businesses that provide chemicals and gases to support the natural resource sector analytical labs and drinking water and wastewater sectors and other essential businesses.
- Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of forestry products (e.g. lumber, pulp, paper, wood fuel, etc.).
- Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of aggregates to support critical infrastructure repairs and emergency response requirements (e.g. sandbags, armour stone barriers, etc.).
- Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of petroleum and petroleum by-products.
To watch Ford’s entire press conference, click here