Residential construction will be permitted to resume under the province's reopening framework, which comes as three public health units are set to see COVID-19 restrictions loosened this week.

On Monday, Premier Doug Ford announced the changes as part of his government's plan to gradually move all of Ontario's 34 public health units back to a colour-coded reopening framework.

Starting on February 10 at 12:01 am, Hastings Prince Edward Public Health, Kingston, Frontenac and Lennox & Addington Public Health, and Renfrew County and District Health Unit will move into the green category, the least strict in terms of COVID-19 restrictions. The stay-at-home order will be lifted then in those health units as well.

It is proposed that the order will continue to apply to 28 public health regions until Tuesday, February 16, depending upon COVID-19 trends at the time, the government said. In Toronto, Peel, and York regions, however, the order is set to stay in effect until at least February 22.

READ: What Ford’s New COVID Measures Mean for the Ontario Construction Industry

Under the changes announced Monday, all residential construction, including renovations, and related support activities may resume on February 10 with strict COVID-19 measures in place. The construction permitting restrictions and the prohibition on starting new renovations were part of the emergency orders that came into effect on January 13.

This will enable the industry to meet the housing, non-residential building, and renovation needs of residents in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) and Ontario while continuing to protect workers’ health and well-being, the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) said.

“The health and well-being of workers and residents continues to be our top priority,” said Dave Wilkes, BILD President & CEO. “Our industry looks forward to ensuring a healthy supply of new homes and workspaces, allowing workers to provide for their families and making our contribution [to] the economy under strict health and safety protocols.”

BILD says during COVID-19, the industry adopted very strict enhanced measures that meet or exceed the requirements outlined by the provincial government. While there have been isolated cases, the overall very low number of construction-related COVID-19 cases compared to other industry sectors demonstrates how the industry has and will continue to, respond to this public health crisis.

“Our industry continues to implement the Ministry of Labour’s guidelines on construction site health and safety during COVID-19,” said Joe Vaccaro, Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA) CEO.

“Keeping colleagues, employees, and homeowners safe needs to continue to be the priority, and that includes Ministry of Labour inspections and, if necessary, closing any site that doesn’t meet or exceed these requirements. We need to keep each other safe as we continue to deliver keys to homeowners.”

Ontario News