November 4, 2020
Ontario Releases COVID-19 Response Framework to Help Keep the Province Safe and Open

Government Provides Additional Details on $300 Million to Support Eligible Businesses

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and other health experts, the Ontario government has developed the Keeping Ontario Safe and Open Framework. It ensures that public health measures are targeted, incremental and responsive to help limit the spread of COVID-19, while keeping schools and businesses open, maintaining health system capacity and protecting vulnerable people, including those in long-term care.

The framework takes a gradual approach that includes introducing preventative measures earlier to help avoid broader closures and allow for additional public health and workplace safety measures to be introduced or removed incrementally. It categorizes public health unit regions into five levels: Green-Prevent, Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown being a measure of last and urgent resort.

As the province continues to expand access to real-time data, enhancements are also being made to, Ontario's one-stop shop for information on COVID-19. Information about the spread of the virus, and public health and health system capacity will now be available on the website.

Going forward, the government will continually assess the impact of public health measures applied to public health unit regions for 28 days, or two COVID-19 incubation periods.

Click here to read the full news release.

Ontario Launching COVID-19 Resilience Infrastructure Stream

The Ontario government is providing up to $1.05 billion in combined federal-provincial funding through the new COVID-19 Resilience infrastructure stream to build or renovate health and safety related projects in long-term care, education and municipalities.

Eligible projects under the COVID-19 Resilience stream will fall under four main categories:

  • Community, recreation, health and education renovations (e.g. retrofits, repairs or upgrades to long-term care homes, publicly funded schools and co-located childcare centre facilities, recreation centres or shelters);
  • COVID-19 response infrastructure (e.g. heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, new builds or renovations to enable physical distancing);
  • Active transportation (e.g. parks, trails); and
  • Disaster mitigation, adaptation, or remediation (e.g. flood mitigation).

Eligible projects must begin by September 30, 2021 and be completed by December 31, 2021. Additional details about the COVID-19 Resilience stream and intake opening dates will be available in the days and weeks ahead

Click here to read the full news release.

Civil and engineering contractors concerned about volume of work coming down the pipeline
An Ontario Construction Secretariat (OCS) survey focusing on the civil and engineering sectors finds contractors are experiencing concerns around the second wave of COVID-19 but are also worried about the drop in tenders and projects to bid on, especially municipal projects.

The survey, Coronavirus Contractor Survey: Spotlight on Civil/Engineering Sector, was conducted by the OCS and commissioned by the Residential and Civil Construction Alliance of Ontario (RCCAO).

The findings are part of a larger survey that was conducted at the beginning of October and included 300 ICI respondents, with 100 of those doing work in the civil and engineering sector.

In addition to the impact of the second wave of COVID-19, other top concerns among civil and engineering contractors include the health and safety of workers, the ability to get skilled labour, the impact of supply chain disruptions and the ability of government to quickly roll out stimulus spending on infrastructure projects.

Click here to read the full news release.

Employment & Building Permits (Sept 2020), GDP (Q2 2020)

Increase in Commercial Permit Activity Keeps ICI Industry on Pace With Last Year

Ontario’s ICI permit values have amounted to $11.1 billion in the first three quarters of this year. Despite the pandemic-related disruptions to the industry, this is only 3.7% lower than at the same point last year. The industrial sector has seen the most significant drop off, down 28.4% YTD, with institutional permit values down 6.7%. The ICI industry’s permit activity has been buoyed by the commercial sector, which has actually seen an increase in permit values of 8.1%.

Year-to-date ICI permit values have increased in four of Ontario’s sixteen census metropolitan areas: Barrie, Brantford, Ottawa, St. Catharines-Niagara. Toronto’s ICI permit values have had the smallest decline in the first three quarters compared to last year, down 8%. The remaining metro areas have seen greater declines.

Statistics Canada has reported that “with COVID-19 cases rising in many regions in September, some municipalities reported that builders have begun to submit applications earlier as a precaution against potential shutdowns”. Some of the divergences in permit values between metro areas may also be due to changes in municipal permit processing capacity.

Click here to read the full news release.

Slimming project pipeline a big concern for construction supply chain as frantic 2020 nears end

Construction materials suppliers have spent much of 2020 digging out. Uncertainty and job site shutdowns this spring walloped demand, but by early summer, the need for concrete and lumber, among many other products, outstripped supply, leading to shortages, rationing and higher prices.

Suppliers are still catching up, but as a unique 2020 draws to a close, they’re also watching a shrinking project pipeline with growing apprehension.

In a webinar hosted by the Canadian Construction Association, representatives from the concrete, forestry and steel industries sat down to discuss some of the steep challenges the year brought, as well as the outlook for the months ahead.

Click here to read the full news release.

Digital Bonds the Way of the Future – and the Present 

Moving through the third decade of the 21st century, an ever-increasing number of public bodies at all levels of government are requiring tenders to be submitted digitally via an automated on-line bidding platform. These tender documents typically require that the bid be accompanied by a digitally prepared Bid Bond or Consent of Surety.

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic (Spring 2020), the previous routine task of creating, executing, and delivering hard copy multi-party documents in a physically distanced world has become maddeningly complicated. In response, the Surety Association of Canada (SAC) has encouraged construction purchasers to expand their use of digital bonds to the contracting phase by accepting electronic performance and payment bonds as well.

Click here to read the full report.

COVID-19 - Standardized Protocols for All Canadian Construction Sites

The Standardized Protocols for All Canadian Construction Sites outlines the best practices for construction sites in order to maintain the health and safety of all workers required to perform duties during the COVID-19 crisis. The protocols, which include prevention, detection and response measures, will minimize the impacts of the crisis and ensure business continuity in the construction industry. This is not a legal document. Some provinces and municipalities have implemented stricter measures than those found in this document, and contractors are responsible for compliance with the rules, regulations and practices required by the applicable authorities. At the end of this document, there are links to information from some of our partner associations and other industry stakeholders that are further tailored to province specific requirements.

The objectives of the Standardized Protocols are to:

  • Prioritize the health and safety of workers and of their surrounding communities; 
  • Apply recommendations and best practices from federal, provincial, and municipal public health authorities to construction site procedures; 
  • Establish and maintain a common COVID-19 Pandemic Response Plan across construction sites; and 
  • Foster open communication amongst stakeholders and ensure a respectful work environment.

Click here to read the full news release.

Confirmed COVID-19 case onsite, what do you do?

Panic. Fear. Misinformation.

These are the issues experienced on a construction site when a worker tests positive for COVID-19, explained health and safety professionals during a panel discussion entitled Confirmed Case – Be Prepared to Act Quickly and Effectively.

The panel, where construction firms shared stories of actual case studies onsite and lessons learned, was part of a Preparing Your Workforce During the Second Wave webinar, hosted by the Residential Construction Council of Ontario and the League of Champions.

Click here to read the full news release.

Exclusive Discount for TCA Members on publishing Certificates of Substantial Performance (CSPs) in the Daily Commercial News (DCN)!
All certificates and notices published in the Daily Commercial News (DCN) are a flat fee of $300 (plus tax). Special Affinity Pricing of $200 per certificate is available to all ConstructConnect subscribers and TCA members.
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TCA Resources on COVID-19

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