June 8 Update

Ontario Permits More Businesses and Services to Reopen in the Coming Days

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health and local health officials, the government is easing restrictions in communities where it is safe to do so, based on trends of key public health indicators such as lower rates of transmission, increased capacity in hospitals, and progress made in testing.

Effective Friday, June 12, 2020 at 12:01 a.m., the province will increase the limit on social gatherings from five to 10 people across the province, regardless of whether a region has moved to Stage 2. Additionally, all places of worship in Ontario will also be permitted to open with physical distancing in place and attendance limited to no more than 30 per cent of the building capacity to ensure the safety of worshippers.

Read the full announcement from the government here.

June 1 Update

Prime Minister Announces Support for Municipalities

After significant pressure from the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) and many other organizations (including OSSGA!) Prime Minister Trudeau, today announced that funding delivered through the federal Gas Tax Fund will be accelerated this year to help communities as quickly as possible while respecting public health guidelines.

This means that $2.2 billion in annual federal infrastructure funding for communities will be delivered in one payment in June. The government says that early delivery of the full funding for 2020-21 will help communities quickly move forward with infrastructure projects that will “improve our quality of life and help restart local economies”.

Communities have the flexibility to use the funding to meet their local needs. Projects could include access to high-speed broadband, improvements to water and road systems, and the building of cycling and walking paths. While these projects will create jobs, municipalities will have some flexibility as to what type of infrastructure projects they choose to fund, but they will not be permitted to use the funds to underwrite operating costs.

The government has also hinted that this is only the first announcement to help municipalities. OSSGA will continue to push all levels of government for increased infrastructure spending to help kickstart Ontario’s economy and ensure there are contracts in the pipeline.

For more information please contact OSSGA's Executive Director Norm Cheesman at ncheesman@ossga.com

May 14, 2020 Update

Ontario Announces Additional Workplaces that Can Reopen 

Today, the Ontario government announced the retailers, seasonal businesses and health and community service providers who will be permitted to open or expand their services on Tuesday, May 19, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., provided that the general trend on health indicators continues to improve as part of the first stage of the government's reopening framework. 

The government also announced additional seasonal services and activities will be permitted to open as early as Saturday, May 16, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., in time for the Victoria Day long weekend, as key public health indicators continue to show progress.

Detailed List of Stage 1 Workplace Openings:

This list is effective May 19, 2020, and may be updated when the corresponding emergency orders are amended.

Construction

  • All construction to resume and essential workplace limits lifted
  • Includes land surveyors

See the complete list of Stage 1 Workplace Openings here.

For more information on Ontario’s Announcement, please click here.

Premier Ford announces Framework for Reopening

Read here about the Provinces phased approach to reopening the province.

April 17, 2020 Update

Regulation to help clarify timing issues in The Planning Act

Below is the link to the new regulation (149/20) made under The Planning Act.  It took effect immediately.

https://www.ontario.ca/laws/regulation/r20149

It outlines very specific provisions around interim-control by-laws; notice of decisions, where they are deemed to be complete; and relates to many Planning Act related items/applications. The Regulation also affects existing appeals that have been filed.

You will see that the regulations are very specific to the timing of applications (notice and appeals) and should be reviewed for each scenario.

We haven't seen specific, similar regulations for the Aggregate Resources Act to this point, but have asked MNRF.

April 13 Update

Federal government announces Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS).

Excerpts:

What It Means for Canadian Employers

The new Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) provides a 75% wage subsidy to eligible employers for up to 12 weeks, retroactive to March 15, 2020. 

The CEWS encourages employers to re-hire workers previously laid off as a result of COVID-19, and help better position Canadian companies and other employers to more easily resume normal operations following the crisis.

Eligible Employers

Eligible employers includes:

  • individuals
  • taxable corporations
  • partnerships consisting of eligible employers, non‑profit organizations and registered charities. Those that see a drop of at least 15% of their revenue in March 2020 and 30% for the following months (see Eligible Periods).

Calculating Revenues

An employer's revenue for this purpose is its revenue in Canada earned from arm's-length sources. Revenue is calculated using the employer's normal accounting method, and  exclude revenues from extraordinary items and amounts on account of capital.
Employers are allowed to calculate their revenues under the accrual method or the cash method, but not a combination of both. Employers select an accounting method when first applying for the CEWS and require to use that method for the entire duration of the program.

For registered charities and non-profit organizations, the calculation includes most forms of revenue, excluding revenues from non-arm's length persons. These organizations are allowed to choose whether or not to include revenue from government sources as part of the calculation. Once chosen, the same approach applies throughout the program period.

Special rules for the computation of revenue are provided to take into account certain non-arm's length transactions, such as where an employer sells all of its output to a related company that in turn earns arm's length revenue. As well, affiliated groups are able to compute revenue on a consolidated basis.

Amount of Subsidy

The subsidy amount for a given employee on eligible remuneration paid for the period between March 15 and June 6, 2020 is the greater of:

  • 75% of the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week; and
  • the amount of remuneration paid, up to a maximum benefit of $847 per week or 75% of the employee's pre-crisis weekly remuneration, whichever is less.

In effect, employers may be eligible for a subsidy of up to 100% of the first 75% of pre-crisis wages or salaries of existing employees. These employers are expected where possible to maintain existing employees' pre-crisis employment earnings.
The pre-crisis remuneration for a given employee is based on the average weekly remuneration paid between January 1 and March 15 inclusively, excluding any seven-day periods in respect of which the employee did not receive remuneration. Employers are also  eligible for a subsidy of up to 75% of salaries and wages paid to new employees.

Refund for Certain Payroll Contributions

We expanded the CEWS by introducing a new 100%refund for certain employer-paid contributions to Employment Insurance, the Canada Pension Plan, the Quebec Pension Plan, and the Quebec Parental Insurance Plan. This refund covers 100% of employer-paid contributions for eligible employees for each week throughout which those employees are on leave with pay and for which the employer is eligible to claim for the CEWS for those employees.  

How to Apply

Eligible employers will be able to apply for the CEWS through the Canada Revenue Agency's My Business Account portal. Employers will need to keep records demonstrating their reduction in arm's-length revenues and remuneration paid to employees. More details about the application process will be made available shortly.

For full details, visit the government's site here.

Holdback Payments to Contractors

The Attorney General announced on March 9th amendments to the O. Reg. 73/20 made under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

The emergency order has been amended to lift the suspension of limitation periods and procedural time periods under the Construction Act. This will allow for the release of holdback payments to contractors and subcontractors in the normal course, helping to resolve a potentially significant cash flow problem as a result of the order for the construction industry.

April 9 Update

MPAC — 2020 Assessment Update Postponed

The Ontario government has announced that the 2020 Assessment Update has been postponed. They have indicated that property assessments for the 2021 property tax year will continue to be based on the fully phased-in January 1, 2016 current values. This means your property assessment for the 2021 property tax year will be the same as the 2020 tax year, unless there have been changes to your property.

In 2016, we mailed a Property Assessment Notice to every property owner in the province – assessing more than five million properties in Ontario. Your 2016 Notice reflects the assessed value and classification of your property as of January 1, 2016 and this will be used as the basis for calculating your 2021 property taxes.

For more information visit MPAC here.

April 3, 2020 Update

Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government has reduced the list of businesses classified as essential and ordered more workplaces to close.

Aggregate is still on the list at #32:

Businesses that provide and ensure the domestic and global continuity of supply of resources, including mining, forestry, aggregates, petroleum, petroleum by-products and chemicals.

Of significance in the announcement is that only critical construction projects will continue, including industrial projects such as refineries and petrochemical plants and infrastructure projects such as new hospitals, roads and bridges. New starts in residential projects will stop, while residential construction that is near completion will continue.

The government’s new full list of essential businesses can be found by clicking here.

The Office of the Premier’s press release can be found here.

Also noted in the Premier’s remarks was that 60 new inspectors have been hired to ensure the safety of construction works.  More than 583 inspections have taken place over the past week with five constructions sites ordered closed.

Continue to return to this site for more information.

April 2 Update

Ontario Supports Trucking Sector for Keeping Goods Moving

Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier and Minister of Health, and Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation issued the following statement on supporting truck drivers during the COVID-19 outbreak.

"In these extraordinary times, we have extraordinary heroes. Our truck drivers are these heroes. They are working long hours, day and night delivering food and equipment and other essential supplies for Ontario families.  

Our truck drivers deserve our respect, our support, our thanks and our best efforts to help them as they continue to make sure we can put food on our tables and pick up other necessary items. 

We have heard from those working within the trucking industry of the treatment that truck drivers have faced while travelling on our roads. In response, we are calling on all business owners to support truck drivers when they are stopping to rest, get gas or use washrooms. 

This will better keep our truck drivers safe and healthy and on the road. 

We expect businesses who rely on truck drivers to provide necessary facilities for these heroes. We need everyone to do their part to make sure drivers can keep doing their jobs safely. 

As a government we are working closely with truck drivers and associations to respond to the issues they face on the road.

We are providing more safe places for truck drivers to stop and rest across the province and are keeping all 23 ONroute travel plazas open for take-out, grab and go and drive-through services, including washrooms with enhanced cleaning. We are also providing portable washrooms at 32 truck inspection stations so trucks have a place to stop and rest safely.

These actions build on measures announced last month that allow the 24-hour delivery of goods without the restrictions of municipal noise by-laws, and the extension of the validation of driver's licences, Commercial Vehicle Operator's Registration certificates and other products that expired on or after March 1, 2020. 

Ontario is committed to supporting the trucking industry and we would like to thank commercial carriers and truck drivers for everything that they've done to keep goods moving during the COVID-19 outbreak."

Read more here.

April 1 Update

The Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) is requesting Proactive Consultation Meetings by phone with Managers and Joint Health and Safety Committee Worker Members or Health and Safety Reps to review the following items:

  • Workplace status, and
  • The precautions this Employer is taking to protect the health and safety of workers from infectious disease such as COVID-19.
  • Has the workplace completed a risk assessment for COVID-19 or has a COVID-19 plan in place?

Some additional areas for consideration would be measures implemented for:

  • Information & Instruction to Workers
  • Social/Physical Distancing Measures in Place
  • Screening Measures
  • Cleaning and Disinfecting
  • Personal Protective Equipment

OSSGA has posted some resources to help you put these measures in place — visit ossga.com/business-continuity

March 30 Update

The Canadian Construction Association has created a Standardized Protocol for all Canadian Construction sites.

March 29 Update

Ontario Stepping Up Measures to Limit the Spread of COVID-19 on Construction Sites

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, issued the following statement today regarding health and safety on construction sites:

"The health and safety of construction workers is a top priority for our government. With the COVID-19 situation changing day by day, we are working to ensure that workers have the tools they need to help keep job sites safe. We must do everything possible to fight the spread of this disease.

Read more about what Ontario is doing to limit the spread of COVID-19 at construction sites here.

March 25 Update

OSSGA's Government Relations consultant Kelly Mitchell provides an indepth analysis of the government's action plan and how it affects industries.

March 24 Update

LPAT - Adjournment of Hearing Events – Suspension of Timelines

The Government of Ontario passed an Emergency Order (O.Reg. 73/20) under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This Order is retroactive to March 16, 2020, and will affect proceedings before the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal in the following ways:

  • The Tribunal will not schedule any hearing events, including in-person, written, or teleconference hearings, while this Emergency Order is in effect. Accordingly, notice of hearing events will not be provided or directed.
  • All hearing events scheduled in the Tribunal’s hearing calendar between the effective date of the Emergency Order and June 30, 2020 will be adjourned to a future date. The Tribunal will revisit and reconsider this three-month period as the circumstances change.
  • All timelines within which any step must be taken in a proceeding before the Tribunal, including timelines established in the Tribunal’s procedural orders are suspended for the duration of the Order.
  • Any period of time for a person to initiate a proceeding with the Tribunal, or take a step in the proceeding, as set out in a statute, regulation or Tribunal Rule is suspended by O. Reg. 73/20 for the duration of this Order.

If your appeal involved a procedural order that prescribes timelines related to exchange of witness statements, meeting of experts, or similar directions, these timelines are now suspended. Postponed hearing events will be rescheduled in the near future.

At this time, LPAT’s front counter remains closed, and mail of any type (courier, Canada Post) cannot be received. Please click here for future updates.

 

Government Names Aggregate an Essential Industry

At 8:30 last night (March 23), the Government released its complete list of essential industries – including the aggregate industry – described as “businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of aggregates to support critical infrastructure repairs and emergency response requirements (e.g. sandbags, armour stone barriers, etc.).”

This follows Premier Ford’s announcement on Monday of the closing of all non-essential businesses in Ontario to help contain the COVID-19 Virus.

Also included on the list of essential industries is the construction industry – including projects and services associated with healthcare, critical provincial infrastructure, transit, transportation as well as construction work and services, including demolition, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors.

The government reminds us that essential businesses are being asked to put into place any and all measures to safeguard the wellbeing of their employees on the front-lines.

March 23 Update

Ontario Shutting down non-essential businesses

Important Update:  Premier Ford announced earlier today that all ‘non-essential’ business will be shutting down, effective at 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th

A list of essential and non-essential businesses will be released by the government on Tuesday and we will advise you as soon as it becomes available.

Also today in Quebec, the Premier announced a similar shutdown with all in-person business activity in the province, except those offering food and other essential services. Premier François Legault said Monday that the province will be "on hold" for at least three weeks, until April 13. In Quebec, it was announced that construction sites and factories will also be affected by the closure order.

In Ontario this closure will be in effect for 14 days with the possibility of extending this order as the situation evolves. Essential services may continue their operations to maintain supply chains and ensure the people of Ontario have access to necessities, including groceries, medicines and other essential products.

As always, please continue to check the websiste ossga.com/coronavirus.

 

Earlier on March 23:  There’s a lively debate taking place in the construction industry across North America, including Ontario, as stakeholders and policy makers grapple with the effects of the coronavirus on the sector. “There is a lot of panic,” said Craig Lesurf, president of Gillam Group. “Everybody wants to know what is going on. Some people are saying we are not reacting enough and some are saying we are reacting too much.”

Read more at Daily Commercial News here:

https://canada.constructconnect.com/dcn

 

In conversations with aggregate producers in the United States and across Canada and Europe -- work continues.  Please visit our Business Continuity page to look for our collection of operational practices to operate during COVID-19.

March 20 Update

Yesterday the Ontario Legislature held an emergency session to pass the following two pieces of legislation:

  1. Employment Standards Amendment Act (Infectious Disease Emergencies), 2020
  • Provides job protection for employees currently in self-isolation or quarantine due to COVID-19.
  • Provides job protection for employees on leave to care for children out of school or daycare.
  • Prevents employers from requesting a doctor’s note.
  1. Municipal Emergency Act, 2020
  • Allows municipalities to conduct Council, local board and committee meetings electronically.
  • Suspends noise bylaws province-wide, to allow for the delivery of goods 24/7.

March 19 Update

Ontario Government announces postponement of LPAT hearings...

All Tribunals Ontario in-person proceedings, including at the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal, Landlord and Tenant Board and Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, are postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date. Where feasible, alternative hearing options such as written and telephone hearings will be considered. Front-line counter services will be closed until further notice.

Ontario extending validity period of driving products, including CVOR certificates:

As part of the province's enhanced measures, the Ministry of Transportation and Ministry of Health, in cooperation with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services and ServiceOntario, is extending the validity period of driving products, services and health cards. These changes reduce the need for in-person visits to ServiceOntario, International Registration Plan offices and DriveTest centres during the COVID-19 outbreak, helping to promote social distancing and contain the spread of the virus.

These new regulations include extensions for driver licences, licence plate validation, Ontario Photo Cards, and Commercial Vehicle Operator Registration certificates, among others. Expiring and expired health cards will continue to provide access to health services.

March 17 Update

OSSGA, following the lead of a number of our member companies, has decided to opt for virtual meetings and suspend in-person activities for the time being.  All committee/board meetings will be conference calls – dial in instructions will be sent in the next few days.  We will not be holding any meetings or training at the office in Mississauga.  Hopefully this will not be for a prolonged period of time, but we will keep you posted as to when in-house meetings will resume.

Many of you have also asked about the operations of your pit and quarries.

The following two links may be helpful:

Workplace Safety North has several resources related to pandemic preparedness for businesses. Visit: https://www.workplacesafetynorth.ca/news/news-post/pandemic-preparedness-business

The Canadian Manufacturer and Exporter’s pandemic guide which was developed during the SARS epidemic (and updated in 2009) provides Canadian businesses with the information required to prepare a continuity plan to mitigate the potential effects of a pandemic. Visit: https://cme-mec.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/CME_Pandemic_Guide_Eng_2009Final.pdf

For now, most aggregate sites are operating with only limited staff as the season as not begun in earnest. That said, we have already heard of some innovative practices including splitting lunch shifts to ensure that staff have more room in the lunch facilities, and are in less contact with their fellow employees. We have also heard of companies taking this time to do complete inventories of their parts, etc. in the event that there are supply chain disruptions. 

In an effort to keep everyone up-to-date as this situation evolves – we encourage members to contact OSSGA with any updates that you hear.  Email Sharon Armstrong about any relevant closures, work stoppages, etc.  Visit ossga.com/coronavirus for updates.

Aggregates and the Ontario Government

OSSGA's Executive Director Norm Cheesman recently spoke with the Minister of Transportation who is canvassing industry stakeholders on how the crisis will impact them.  Norm advised her that the aggregate business is currently at its slowest period of the year, but that we are about to ramp up production for the spring and summer construction seasons, and any delays will impact the entire construction supply chain.  We will continue to liaise with government as this situation develops.

Health & Safety

The Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) has a number of resources related to COVID-19, including workplace posters and safety talks. Visit: https://www.ihsa.ca/alerts/COVID-19

In the news:

Daily Commercial News offers articles on impact of coronavirus on construction sector: Click here.

Build UK and the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA) have said the UK construction industry is set to become ‘dramatically and severely affected’ from Coronavirus

“Construction sector firms and industry organizations are responding aggressively to the coronavirus threat as companies scale back in-person interactions and groups create new ways to both learn from and counsel members.”

 

OSSGA will continue to monitor and assess new developments pertaining to COVID-19 closely and work with our members, partners and all levels of government to provide support to Ontario business. 

Visit ossga.com/coronavirus for updates, links to news articles, etc.  and again, if you have ideas or information to share with the membership, please forward to sarmstrong@ossga.com or rhillier@ossga.com.