There continues to be more information available to general contractors regarding the recent state of emergency declaration and restrictions on non-essential projects. The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has also issued new guidance information outlining best practices to keep workers safe. Updated Ontario Lockdown Regulations This morning, the Government of Ontario released an updated version of the new lockdown regulations made under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020. These regulations serve to define what is considered essential and non-essential projects. The update does not contain significant changes to the previous restrictions as outlined when the stay-at-home order was released.
New Construction Workplace Guidance Document The responsibility to take extraordinary procedures to keep employees safe from the virus is an important part of the new regulations. A new Construction Guidance Document has been issued in support of the Ontario government's new COVID-19 requirements. It updates the original guidance document last updated in November 2020 with information on how to implement safety measures, control the risk of transmission, screening, PPE, sanitation, airflow and how to manage a potential case of COVID-19 at the workplace.
Employers must be aware that the prevalence of the spread in many communities creates the potential for asymptomatic employees to look fit for duty when reporting for work. Procedures must be put in place to track potential infections and be enforced to stop the spread. Meal and break periods at work during COVID-19 The Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development have released studies showing the prevalent spread in some industries through carpooling, breaks and lunchrooms. To keep workers safe, the Ministry has released a new page outlining what employers can do to help control exposure to COVID-19 at meal and break periods.
We recommend all employers to examine and implement these procedures to keep employees safe in these higher-risk environments.
Contact Us To date, the construction has been very successful at containment. Unfortunately, the virus will continue to challenge us for some time. The OGCA and LOC are here to help you keep workers safe. We have been working closely with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development and Chief Prevention Officer to provide general contractors with the information they need to navigate these regulations.