April 14, 2020
Holdbacks to be released: Provincial government amends emergency limitations regulations for construction industry
The provincial government has amended its emergency regulations to exempt the Ontario Construction Act from a suspension on limitations, an action which will free owners to release 10 per cent construction lien holdbacks.

“The suspension will be lifted on April 16, 2020, to give the industry time to prepare for these changes,” attorney general Doug Downey wrote in a memo on Thursday, April 9, 2020. “Once lifted, parties will have the same amount of time to meet a deadline that had been remaining before the suspension began on March 16, 2020.”

Please see the Attorney General memo here .

COCA Update: Contact your MPP
COCA is pleased by the government’s recent decision to lift the suspension of limitation periods and procedural time periods under the Construction Act which was an unintended consequence of Ont. Reg. 73/20. However, many are struggling with the availability of their workforce, supply chain challenges, and other productivity issues. In this context, it is difficult and sometimes impossible to meet milestones and other project deadlines.

We still need your support. The online letter has been updated to reflect the Province’s recent decision, so please contact your MPP using the form below.

For more information, click here .

CARES Act Paycheck Protection Program Available for Construction Firms

The CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security) Act includes many potential relief opportunities for the nation’s construction industry, which has been hit hard with disrupted supply demand, delayed projects, closed sites, and labor shortages. The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a provision in the CARES Act, will help construction companies keep their workforce employed during the coronavirus crisis.  

Contractors and construction firms need to apply as soon as possible to benefit from the PPP. Funds will be granted on a first-come-first-serve basis and the Small Business Administration (SBA) expects to quickly distribute the $349 billion available for the program. 

Here are the things your construction company needs to know about the SBA’s Payment Protective Program to immediately take advantage of the program and help your business.  

Who Qualifies? 

  • 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees 
  • Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees 
  • Self-employed individuals 
  • Sole proprietors 
  • Independent contractors  
  • Tribal business concerns that meet the SBA size standard 

Ontario Starts Planning for Economic Recovery

TORONTO — The Ontario government has launched a new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee which will focus on getting businesses up and running and people back to work after the COVID-19 pandemic is over. While the government's primary focus is on combatting the virus, supporting frontline health care workers and providing immediate relief to people and businesses, this new committee will be developing a plan to stimulate economic growth and job-creation in the weeks and months ahead.

"My heart goes out to those individuals and families who have been out of work, or whose business has closed through no fault of their own," said Premier Ford. "I can assure each person affected by this crisis that we will do everything we can to support you, and get you back on the job as soon as possible. While our government battles this virus, members of our new Ontario Jobs and Recovery Committee will roll up their sleeves and develop a roadmap to a stronger, more prosperous economy." 

Click here to read the full News Release.

Canada loses a million jobs in March, but construction industry holds steady

Just over one million jobs, or 5.3 per cent of all positions, evaporated across Canada in March as governments urged residents to stay at home and businesses closed in response to the COVID-19 crisis.

Statistics Canada released its latest Labour Force Survey April 9, which was widely expected to showcase the economic carnage wrought by coronavirus. The federal agency said the number of people unemployed shot up by 413,000, or 36 per cent, from February to March — easily the largest monthly change on record. The vast majority of this increase can be attributed to temporary layoffs.

Despite the staggering figures in the overall economy, the construction industry saw essentially no change in its workforce, which continued to hover just below 1.5 million workers, in March. Just 2,200 fewer workers, or 0.1 per cent, were on job sites over the four-week period compared to a month earlier.

Construction earned a place on a short list of sectors to hold steady on the month. Public administration, as well as professional, scientific and technical services were the other outliers. Bucking the downward trend entirely, work in the natural resources sector actually increased 1.8 per cent last month.

Click here to read the full article.

Ontario Together: help fight Coronavirus

The Ontario Government has announced the launch of the Ontario Together Fund to help businesses provide innovative solutions or retool their operations to manufacture essential medical supplies. 

Click here to Find out more and submit a proposal.

Working-at-Heights training extended for Ontario construction
The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development is giving workers in the construction sector an extra year to renew their training if they work at heights.

The mandatory training of more than 120,000 workers was due to expire over the next six months. However, many training providers have either cancelled classes or shut down due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The extension will apply to workers who successfully completed their working-at-heights training between February 28 and August 31, 2017. The validity period, normally three years, would have ended this year. It will now end in 2021.

The extension will ensure affected workers can continue to work when possible. Construction will move ahead without interruption.

Click here for more information.
TCA Resources on COVID-19

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