COVID -19 Industry Update March 24, 2020

WE HBA is committed to making continuous efforts to provide regular updates regarding government announcements, municipal operations, business impacts and construction activities, among others. We hope that you, your families, friends and colleagues remain healthy and safe, and are taking all necessary precautions.
 
Check out the WE HBA website for tips on Preventing COVID-19 in the Workplace.
 

GOVERNMENT OF ONTARIO UPDATE

 
Ontario Releases List of Essential Workplaces
 
The Government of Ontario released the list of essential workplaces and services on Monday night.
As of Wednesday, any business deemed non-essential will only be able to continue operating with employees working from home or through other measures. The orders are in place for 14 days, with the possibility of extension. 74 types of businesses have been listed as “essential workplaces”.
 
Read the list of essential workplaces in response to COVID-19.
 

CONSTRUCTION SITES

 
Ontario Government Continues to Allow Construction Sites to Remain Open
 
 
The Construction Sector has been listed as an essential service under #28 of the government’s list of essential services: “construction work and services, including demolition services, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors”.
 
The government and industry will be looking into the rules by which work can continue on job sites while respecting the health and safety of our workers. Labour leaders and unions are calling for improved sanitation on sites and Ministry of Labour enforcement. Ontario workers continue to have the right to refuse unsafe work sites.
 
The OHBA has released a statement today on the “Residential Construction Industry: Covid-19 Health and Safety” which can be read here.
 
Additionally, read the linked document for what you need to know about “Health and Safety and Working On-Site”. Members, please review this document for best management practices to protect workers and families; it’s time to review and enhance job site conditions.
 
A resource and guidance document by the OHBA to support members keeping sites open can be found at this link.
 

TARION UPDATE

 
Tarion has taken various precautionary measures and adjustments to operations to ensure the health and safety of their employees as well as homeowners, builders and the greater community. At this time, the corporate office will remain open with minimal staff, with the majority working remotely. They have advised that the technology is in place that enables continued operations but there may be some delays and impacts on processes and procedures. 
 
Tarion has issued the following General Advisories for homeowners and builders:
  1. Advisory From Tarion to Homeowners and Builders on COVID-19 Pandemic for the Period of March 13 to April 13
  2. Advisory from Tarion to Homeowners and Builders on COVID-19 Pandemic: Pre-Delivery Inspections and Delayed Closings for the Period of March 16 to April 13
 
Tarion has also released a number of ‘Resources for Builders’ that may be of interest:
  1. Information Sheet for Builders: COVID-19 Pandemic – Possible Effects on Construction Schedules for New Homes
  2. Q&A on COVID-19 Pandemic: Unavoidable Delay & Critical Dates
  3. COVID-19 Pandemic Worksheet: Low Rise Construction Delay Rationale for Each Home
  4. COVID-19 Pandemic Worksheet: High Rise Construction Delay Rationale for Each Home
  5. Notice regarding COVID-19 Impact on the Builder Arbitration Forum (BAF)
 
Robins Appleby Barristers & Solicitors has released a “Guidance to Builders on Tarion’s Unavoidable Delay Bulletin” that can be found here for your information.
 

ENBRIDGE UPDATE

 
Questions have arisen regarding what natural gas service, meter sets and final inspections will be completed by Enbridge for new homes. Enbridge recently released a Q & A document attached here: ‘Enbridge’s Guidance to Residential New Construction Builders, Local Home Builder Associations and Ontario Home Builder Association‘, that should be reviewed for further information.
 
Particularly of note, as of March 19th, Enbridge Gas has confirmed that homes with closings requiring occupancy by the homeowners prior to April 12 will be considered a priority. Due to the requirement to be classified as an emergency service, Enbridge is asking that builders provide their regional territory representative with a list of civic/lot addresses that fall into this category. Please prioritize your natural gas service requirements to focus only on those homes with an immediate need.