Ontario says crews can finish ongoing home renovations, but new projects are on hold

·1 min read

TORONTO — Ontario's new construction rules allow for ongoing home renovations to continue, but homeowners who haven't commenced work as of Jan. 12 are out of luck.

The renovation rules are part of tightened COVID-19 restrictions filed yesterday in the Reopening Ontario Act, after Ontario entered a state of emergency to try and prevent hospitals from being overwhelmed by the pandemic.

Those regulations say contractors can continue renovations to residential properties and construction work started before Jan. 12 — but the rules won't allow new renovation projects to start for at least 28 days.

Ontario Construction Consortium executive director Phil Gillies says that while sending workers into an occupied home raises concerns, the industry has a good track record so far.

Amid safety concerns during the first wave of the pandemic, Gillies' think-tank called for construction sites to be shut down after a construction worker started an online petition describing crowds of up to 100 workers without running water at some job sites.

While Gillies is still watching carefully and urging stringent cleaning of job sites, he says the relatively small portion of construction-related COVID-19 complaints to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board shows that contractors and unions have stepped up to protect workers and tenants.

"But this is no time to be complacent," said Gillies. "If you have tradespeople in your home – keep your distance and wear a mask."

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 14, 2021.

The Canadian Press