Home Builders’ Associations support Ontario Government’s Emergency Order to combat COVID-19 and increase health & safety requirements

Today, the Government of Ontario implemented a State of Emergency Order and invoked wide-ranging new measures to battle the spread of COVID-19 and protect the province’s health care system. The State of Emergency will take effect immediately and last for 14 days and the measures under the Emergency Order will take effect as of 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, January 14. Read the provincial announcement.


OHBA Statement on the Emergency Order and Impact on Residential Construction:


“We need to pull together. We all want to be safe at home and at work,” said Joe Vaccaro, CEO of OHBA. “With these new restrictions, the Ontario government continues to make public safety the priority. Our industry has a good track record of implementing enhanced protocols under COVID-19. While the new restrictions will slow the delivery of new housing for some projects, case levels have gotten to the point that all sectors and residents must be part of the solution. Our members look forward to a time when they can resume full and normal construction levels and continue to serve the residential construction needs of all Ontarians.”


Regulations – Still to be Posted – OHBA will provide an update once posted:


The residential construction has been defined as an essential with a regulated list of construction projects deemed essential – and the regulations are expected to reflect that the following construction activities may continue.


  1. Work may continue on single-family, townhouse and semi-detached homes where a footing permit has been issued as of Jan. 11, 2021.


  1. Work may continue on condominium, mixed-use or other residential buildings that have a permit, including below-grade permits as of Jan. 11, 2021. We are still confirming the transitions between below and above grade permits and a further clarification will come shortly.


  1. Renovation work that started prior to the implementation of the Emergency Order on January 12th may continue.


  1. Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily closed construction sites that have paused or are not active, may continue.


  1. Construction to prepare a site for a residential development, including any necessary excavation grading, roads or utilities infrastructure may continue.


It is our understanding that sales centres may remain open by appointment only or conduct business virtually. Members should not advertise “open houses” on any project or jobsite.


New Health and Safety Requirements and Enforcement under the Emergency Order:


Members should expect increased compliance inspections as the government enhances its enforcement of COVID-19 safety measures. Enforcement can come through Ministry of Labour or any provincial offences officers including the Ontario provincial police, local police forces, bylaw officers and provincial workplace inspectors to issue tickets to individuals who do not comply with the new health and safety orders as well as their employers if they are not enforcing the new requirements.


Members must make every effort to ensure strict COVID-19 protocols are in place, to ensure workers’ safety and prevent the spread of the virus on worksites and within operations that support construction activity. Members should pay special attention that adherence to safety protocols, including physical distancing and masking, are maintained by everyone, everywhere on site, including in lunch areas, break areas, any gathers within the 6-feet rule should be avoided, and carpooling with non-household should be restricted. 


Ministry of Labour will be providing construction-sector specific guidance on these new health and safety protocols shortly and OHBA will update their documents with that new information.


We do not anticipate that any new restrictions will disrupt municipal approvals, permitting, or inspections but continued cooperation is necessary from everyone during these challenging times.


Regarding Tarion related builder matters, please consult Tarion’s Response to COVID 19. Tarion has extended the builder repair periods on individual homes under the current restrictions, please review your builder portal for the specific details on your projects.


WE HBA and OHBA will continue to provide COVID industry updates. Please follow the Twitter accounts @WestEndHBA and @Ontariohba