Essential Construction Projects To Be Accelerated In Ontario

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Noise Limit Bylaws Will Be Muted To Allow For Expedited Work On Key Facilities Like Hospitals

TORONTO: In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Ontario is extending construction hours for essential construction projects, like critical projects in the health care sector, to 24 hours a day. Work on new hospital builds, expansions, and COVID-19 assessment centres will be able to continue any time of the night or day in order to help accelerate the construction of these important projects and enable employers to take additional steps to protect the health and safety of workers on these job sites.

Premier Doug Ford, Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, and Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, on Tuesday announced extended construction hours and other measures to keep Ontario workplaces safe.

“During this escalating crisis, we are taking immediate steps to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place, particularly to properly care for those with severe COVID-19 symptoms and other patients who require critical care,” said Premier Doug Ford. “That’s why we’re extending construction hours to allow us to build essential infrastructure faster, while ensuring construction workers can practice physical distancing on work sites to stay safe and healthy.”

Ontario will temporarily limit local noise bylaws from applying to these types of essential construction activities beginning April 7, 2020. This will allow for expedited construction on key facilities, such as new hospital builds, expansions, temporary CO VID-19 response units or structures, and COVID-19 assessment centres.

Extending hours for essential construction will also give worksite managers more flexibility to stagger shifts, limit the number of people in one place, and take reasonable precautions to keep workers safe and healthy under the recent guidelines issued by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer for construction sites.

Ontario is also making essential workplaces across the province safer during the COVID-19 pandemic by:

• Redeploying 30 employment standards officers to help businesses understand and comply with health and safety needs;

• Working with health and safety associations to deploy up to 30 specialists to support employers and workers in the field;

• Issuing health and safety guidance notes to support specific sectors;

• Doubling the capacity of Ontario’s Health and Safety Call Centre from 25 to 50 phonelines;

• Providing job-protected leave under the Employment Standards Act for workers who need to self-isolate or care for a loved one because of COVID-19;

• Issuing a call to recently-retired inspectors who may be able and willing to return to their positions;

• Providing compliance assistance and enforcing the emergency orders issued under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act.