COVID-19 Industry Update May 21, 2020

Provincial Update

New Construction Regulations Posted

As of Tuesday this week, the Government of Ontario has permitted all construction activities under the COVID-19 Emergency Orders, reactivating construction activities across Hamilton, the Halton Region and Ontario.  Read the news release here.

All construction is now deemed essential. Ontario Regulation 223/20 has been filed and is in effect as of 12:01 AM on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

It includes the following language: 

  1. Paragraphs 27, 28, 28.1, 29, 29.1, 29.2, 30, 30.1 and 31 of Schedule 2 to the Regulation are revoked and the following substituted:


  1. Construction activities or projects and related services that support construction activities or projects, including demolition services.
  2. Land surveyors.

E-laws has also been amended to include the changes to Essential Workplaces Regulation O.Reg 82/20 for Stage 1, opening of businesses. OHBA and the MMAH advise the following: 

  1. “Construction” may include renovation work, as the sentence pertaining to renovation (30. iii.) was revoked and the work falls under the broader term, “construction work”;
  2. Sales/Decor centers may open, as interpreted through the following –

Schedule 2 to the Regulation is amended by adding the following paragraph:

2.5 Businesses that engage in the retail sale, or rental, of items to the public, that have a public entrance that opens onto a street or exterior sidewalk and that are in compliance with Section 2 of Schedule 3.

As always, the industry will ensure that work is carried out in compliance with the Ministry of Labour’s Guidelines for Construction Site Health and Safety during COVID-19. WE HBA and OHBA continues to support the critical enforcement role of the Ministry of Labour inspectors. The industry continues to support closing any job site that does not meet or exceed these requirements. Please review the attached OHBA document for further health and safety information.

The Government’s Stage 1 Framework for Reopening the Province can be viewed by following this link.

A detailed list of Stage 1 Openings can be found here.


Federal Update

Extension of CEWS

Yesterday, Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced that the Government of Canada will extend the CEWS by an additional 12 weeks to August 29, 2020. The government introduced the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) to prevent further job losses, encourage employers to rehire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis. The CEWS was originally scheduled for a 12-week period, from March 15 to June 6, 2020.

Extending the program will give workers greater confidence that they will continue to get the support they need during these difficult times. The Government will consult with key business and labour representatives over the next month on potential adjustments to the program to incent jobs and growth, including the 30 per cent revenue decline threshold. The extension will ensure continued support to the residential construction sector as it rebuilds and scales up operations, and continues to address housing supply and housing affordability challenges.

Changes to CEBA Eligibility

This week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced amendments to the payroll eligibility criteria for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA). More small businesses in the residential construction sector that pay themselves or their employees through dividends can now access the tools they need to rebuild and support Canada’s economic recovery.

The changes to the CEBA will allow more Canadian small businesses to access interest free loans that will help cover operating costs during a period when revenues have been reduced, due to the pandemic.  The program will now be available to a greater number of businesses that are sole proprietors receiving income directly from their businesses, businesses that rely on contractors, and family-owned corporations that pay employees through dividends rather than payroll.

To qualify under the expanded eligibility criteria, applicants with payroll lower than $20,000 would need:

  • a business operating account at a participating financial institution
  • a Canada Revenue Agency business number, and to have filed a 2018 or 2019 tax return.
  • eligible non-deferrable expenses between $40,000 and $1.5 million. Eligible non-deferrable expenses could include costs such as rent, property taxes, utilities, and insurance.

The launch date for applications under the new criteria and additional details will follow in the days to come. Read more about this announcement here.


OHBA Update

OHBA is continuing to organize weekly regional conference calls to provide a general COVID-19 update. All of the regions together will be scheduled for one big “zoom” meeting this coming Monday May 25th @ 9:00 AM. The short half hour meeting will be open to any interested members from the local HBA’s. WE HBA encourages our members to join in and stay up to date! For the meeting details please contact Manager of Planning & Government Relations Kirstin Jensen at 


Enjoy big savings for small business owners from TELUS Business! TELUS is offering an exclusive OHBA Member offer through TELUS Business – get 3 months free when activating a new smart phone or tablet on TELUS Peace of Mind or Simple Share plan.

Get more information by clicking here to see the offer.


Ministry of Transportation Update

Business Association Survey 

To better understand the impacts of COVID-19 on businesses that depend on transportation, the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) is surveying business associations to gain their insight on post-pandemic recovery measures and opportunities for transportation. MTO has reached out to OHBA for assistance in collecting information from our members to understand the transportation challenges and opportunities to get our economy moving again.

The survey will be open from May 19 to May 26. WE HBA encourages our members to take part and access the survey here.

MTO has requested that members contact if they have any questions.


Webinar Updates


Webinar with DJB

The Post-COVID Workplace – Are you Prepared?

Join WE HBA with Christina Atkinson and Fran Bonomi of DJB’s Human Resources Advisory Team

THURSDAY MAY 28 | 11:30 AM-1:00 PM

Click here to register!


Mental Health Webinar with Holden & Associates

Workplace Resiliency and 5 Actions Leaders can Take

Hosted by West End HBA President, Robert Molinaro with Speaker Julie Holden of Holden & Associates Consulting Inc.


Register now!



Exclusive Workshop with Intrigue

Opening Back up for Business

THURSDAY MAY 21 | 1:00 PM-2:30 PM

Sign up here!


OHBA Excess Soils Regulation Webinar

Excess Soils Session

FRIDAY MAY 22 | 9:30 AM

Click here to register!


Webinar with Ontario Dispute Adjudication for Construction Contracts

Construction Adjudication Under Ontario’s Construction Act


Register now!


OHBA Member Information Series with Urban Solutions

Provincial Policy Statement Webinar

TUESDAY MAY 26 | 1:00 PM

Join now!