Ontario announced updates to its essential services list, stating that most residential construction in the province will be paused for now in order to enforce health and safety and flatten the COVID-19 curve. No new residential construction will be allowed to start, but those with a footing permit can continue.
“We are pleased by the government’s decision to keep certain residential construction going,” says Richard Lyall, president of RESCON. “As the Premier has rightly noted, there are many people who are waiting for their homes to be finished in the next few weeks. We already have a significant housing crisis in Ontario and most of these homeowners who have sold their homes are at risk of being left on the street without these measures.”
RESCON has and will continue to emphasize that companies must meet the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development construction standards or simply not operate. Site safety is the builders’ responsibility and they must work with everyone on the construction site including sub-trades, labour unions and workers to ensure all workers and sites are safe.
“Safety has and always will be the industry’s top priority,” RESCON vice-president Andrew Pariser emphasizes. “The Occupational Health and Safety Act allows workers to refuse unsafe work, but also mandates Joint Health and Safety committees, an avenue for workers and management to address safety concerns at an early stage. Our goal is to address safety issues (COVID-19 related or not) through communication and teamwork before they become a hazard.”