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Ontario overrides local noise bylaws to allow 24/7 construction for critical projects

Province also calls on recently retired inspectors to return to their jobs


April 8, 2020
By Talent Canada Staff

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Photo: serts/Getty Images

Construction work at essential projects in Ontario — like critical projects in the health-care sector — can now go on 24 hours per day.

The province is extending the hours to “help accelerate the construction of these important projects and enable employers to take additional steps to protect the health and safety of workers on these jobs sites,” it said in a press release.

“During this escalating crisis, we are taking immediate steps to ensure the necessary infrastructure is in place, particularly to properly care for those with severe COVID-19 symptoms and other patients who require critical care,” said Premier Doug Ford.

“That’s why we’re extending construction hours to allow us to build essential infrastructure faster, while ensuring construction workers can practice physical distancing on work sites to stay safe and healthy.”

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Overriding local noise bylaws

Ontario will temporarily limit local noise bylaws from applying to these types of essential construction activities beginning April 7.

This will allow for expedited construction on key facilities, such as new hospital builds, expansions, temporary COVID-19 response units or structures, and COVID-19 assessment centres, it said. Extending hours for essential construction will also give worksite managers more flexibility to stagger shifts, limit the number of people in one place, and take reasonable precautions to keep workers safe and healthy under the recent guidelines issued by Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer for construction sites.

Ontario is also:

  • Redeploying more than 30 employment standards officers to help businesses understand and comply with health and safety requirements
  • Working with health and safety associations to deploy up to 30 specialists to support employers and workers in the field
  • Issuing health and safety guidance notes to support specific sectors
  • Doubling the capacity of Ontario’s Health and Safety Call Centre from 25 to 50 phonelines
  • Providing job-protected leave under the Employment Standards Act for workers who need to self-isolate or care for a loved one because of COVID-19
  • Issuing a call to recently-retired inspectors who may be able and willing to return to their positions
  • Providing compliance assistance and enforcing the emergency orders issued under the Emergency Measures and Civil Protection Act.

“Our government is doing everything in its power to make sure workers on the job are safe during this pandemic,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “That means more inspections, more inspectors, more phone lines, and more people to take your calls. We have conducted thousands of inspections and investigations across the province in March and we will continue to conduct more this month. We will do everything in our power to keep the essential workers of our province safe.”