All construction resumes in Ontario, Canada

The Canadian province of Ontario has allowed all construction activity in the province to resume, as long as contractors follow more than 90 health guidelines just published.

Sites were allowed to resume work yesterday (19 May). Christine Elliott, deputy premier and health minister, said this was because of Ontario’s success in flattening the coronavirus curve.

"Because of the collective efforts of all Ontarians, we are making real and significant progress in our battle against Covid-19, with the number of new cases each day shrinking," she said.

She added that public health experts would monitor construction sites and other workplaces in case they lead to a second spike in cases.

The Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD) applauded the move.

"This will enable the industry to meet the housing, non-residential building, and renovation needs of residents in the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario," BILD said in a press release.

Ontario is the largest construction market in Canada. The province shut down most non-essential businesses in mid-March and ordered most construction sites to stop work from early April, with Ontario Premier Doug Ford (pictured), calling it "a matter of life and death".

The decision to resume work follows Quebec’s decision to reopen sites from 11 May, following a six-week shut down.

According to Statistics Canada, unemployment rose to 13% in April compared with 7.8% in March, bringing the total number of lost jobs to more than 3 million since the pandemic started.

Image: Doug Ford in 2014, before his election as premier of Ontario (Bruce Reeve/CC BY-SA 2.0)

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