Ontario Construction News staff writer
Workers at essential construction projects have set the bar high as a long list of Ontario businesses – including all construction work – prepare to reopen next week, says Premier Doug Ford.
“I’m so proud of the construction sector,” Ford said in a press conference Thursday. “As the essential service construction workers continued working; thank god there wasn’t one case of COVID.
“That says a lot about not only the construction trades, but also the construction companies. They are working hand-in hand with each other.”
“They’ve done an incredible job and hopefully they can set the gold standard for the construction across the country,” Ford said.
The province hired additional inspectors in April to ensure sites complied with physical distancing and other health regulations. About 3,000 orders were issued and 20 job sites were shut down.
“We will leave no stone unturned in our mission to keep workers in this province safe,” said Minister Monte McNaughton.
“Ontario’s labour laws are clear: businesses must protect the health and safety of workers, including against workplace hazards like COVID-19. That’s why our ministry has released practical safety guidelines, doubled our capacity to help people by phone and hired more inspectors. We want to ensure everyone is safe at work.”
Ford unveiled the “Framework for Reopening our Province” on Thursday – the first stage of the province’s recovery phase will look like when a large number of businesses can reopen next week, including all construction projects.
Stage 1 of the framework provides businesses owners, workers and families with the information they need to reopen safely in this new environment and make the restart of Ontario’s economy a success.
Ahead of the official start of stage one, on May 16, golf courses can reopen with clubhouses open only for washrooms and restaurants open only for take-out.
Marinas, boat clubs and public boat launches are allowed to reopen for recreational use.
Private parks and campgrounds can start prepping for the summer season and to allow access for trailers and recreational vehicles whose owners have a full season contract.
Businesses that board animals, such as stables, may allow boarders to visit, care for or ride their animals.
The government said the first stage of the reopening plan will focus on workplaces that are well-positioned to follow public health advice and maintain physical distancing.
In late April, the provincial government unveiled a three-step plan to gradually reopen the economy. The framework included three phases: protect and support, restart and recover. Ontario has been under phase one of the plan since April, which included focusing on protecting the health and well-being of individuals and families, as well as supporting frontline health-care workers.
“We are taking a cautious, practical and reasonable approach to restarting the economy, while maintaining the health and safety of the people of Ontario as our top priority,” said Minister Phillips. “This will allow Ontario to emerge from this outbreak with a clear path to economic recovery that keeps people safe and healthy.”
To support business-owners, workers and the economic recovery of the province, the government has launched a website to provide businesses with information on personal protective equipment (PPE) suppliers. The Workplace PPE Supplier Directory has an up-to-date list of Ontario companies and business associations that are ready to supply personal protective equipment.