February 11 2021
Ontario Extending Stay-at-Home Order across Most of the Province to Save Lives

Public Health Units to Gradually Return to the COVID-19 Response Framework

TORONTO — In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the government is moving to a regional approach and maintaining the shutdown in the majority of the public health regions in Ontario, including the Stay-at-Home order and all existing public health and workplace safety measures. When it is safe to do so, the province will gradually transition each region from the shutdown measures to a revised and strengthened COVID-19 Response Framework: Keeping Ontario Safe and Open (the "Framework"). 

To support the province's economic recovery, the government has updated the Framework to allow for a safer approach to retail. Limited in-person shopping in Grey-Lockdown zones will be permitted with public health and safety measures, such as limiting capacity to 25 per cent in most retail settings. In addition, public health and safety measures in retail settings will be strengthened for other levels of the Framework. Individuals will also be required to wear a face covering and maintain physical distance when indoors in a business, with limited exceptions.

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Residential Construction Permitted to Resume Under Ontario’s Reopening Framework

Residential construction will be permitted to resume under the province’s reopening framework, which comes as three public health units are set to see COVID-19 restrictions loosened this week.

Starting on February 10 at 12:01 am, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, and Renfrew County and District Health Unit will move into the green category, the least strict in terms of COVID-19 restrictions. The stay-at-home order will be lifted then in those health units as well.

It is proposed that the order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions until Tuesday, February 16, depending upon COVID-19 trends at the time, the government said. In Toronto, Peel, and York regions, however, the order is set to stay in effect until at least February 22.

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Ontario Expands Emergency Child Care to More
Frontline Workers

The Ontario Government offers benefit at no cost in regions where students continue to learn remotely.

"Beginning this Tuesday, emergency child care will be extended to additional frontline workers in Toronto, York Region and Peel. This will include construction workers working on essential projects that have been permitted to continue during the provincial shutdown, and transit workers who are unable to work remotely.    

The government will be further expanding eligibility for the targeted emergency child care program to additional frontline workers who are performing critical roles in their communities. This expansion is intended to support frontline workers and their families with child care options, at no cost, in regions where students continue to learn remotely. These additions build on the existing list of eligible workers and will take effect on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

New additions to the list of those eligible for emergency child care:

  • In the construction sector: individuals who work for a business that undertakes construction activities or projects and related services, including land surveying and demolition services, that are permitted to be open under section 43 of Schedule 2 of O. Reg. 82/20 of the Reopening Ontario Act.
  • In the transportation sector: employees of a municipal transit agency, Metrolinx or the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, who support a function that cannot be done through remote work arrangements.

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Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario’s (RCCAO) Infrastructure Backgrounder

COVID19 has caused a swift and significant downturn on a scale not seen since the Great
Recession in 2008.

One of the major outcomes of the economic downturn has been that, since spring 2020, there has been a steep decline in the revenues of Ontario municipalities. The problem is especially acute in municipalities with large transit systems that remain operational but are experiencing significant ridership decline as millions of people work remotely and are not using public transit.

The federal and provincial governments can run operational deficits to make up for the revenue shortfall. Municipalities, however, do not have the same degree of fiscal flexibility and thus, cannot run deficits – they must pass balanced budgets by the end of February.

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A shift towards transparency – reducing uncertainty
and risk

The world has changed dramatically over the last year. Economic growth is down, tariffs and trade tensions are way up, political turmoil is widespread, and the COVID-19 pandemic has transformed everyday life. Uncertainty everywhere is probably the best way to describe it. The construction industry is not immune and has been impacted to varying degrees — affecting how everyone thinks about risk and managing uncertainty.

The preconstruction phase, specifically how subcontractors get prequalified to work with general contractors, is critical to managing risk and reducing uncertainty. As the earliest stage in the construction process, subcontractor prequalification has a ripple effect on risk for all future projects. It is not just of concern to GCs — subs are also exposed to the risk of a weak subcontractor on the job site. Delays, schedule changes and cost overruns impact everyone on a project.

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Ontario Supports the Development of the Next
Generation of PPE

The Ontario government is providing more than $2.3 million to McMaster University and the University of Toronto through the Ontario Together Fund to carry out research, development and testing of the next generation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).

Ontario is investing $1,122,000 in the University of Toronto to support its Dalla Lana School of Public Health's testing facility as it ramps up filtration efficiency testing of N95, surgical and procedure masks to ensure that they meet Health Canada Personal Protective Equipment requirements.

Through the Ontario Together Fund, the government is delivering targeted investments that will increase the province's stockpile of made-in-Ontario products and PPE. This new manufacturing and research capacity will help the province to combat the current COVID-19 outbreak and prepare for potential challenges in the future, while supporting local businesses during the safe and gradual reopening of the province.  

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TCA Resources on COVID-19

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