These are this week’s top stories, regarding the construction industry in Ontario, that you need to know.


May 29 – June 4, 2020

Cities to be sent $2.2B in infrastructure funds early to help COVID-19 recovery: PM Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the federal government will be offering cities an advanced transfer of $2.2 billion in infrastructure money to help cover COVID-19-prompted budget shortfalls, as the start of a new month marks the beginning of more regional re-openings.

ICI permit values fall 23% in April to 3-year low

Statistics Canada released April’s building permit numbers yesterday, revealing that Ontario’s ICI building permit values fell to their lowest monthly total in over three years. The province’s ICI permit values declined by 23% in April, following an 11% drop in March. Permitting activity at the local level has fluctuated with significant declines in April in some metro areas, but increases in others, including Toronto.

Ontario extends declaration of emergency until June 30

In consultation with the Chief Medical Officer of Health, Ontario is extending the provincial Declaration of Emergency to June 30. The decision supports the government’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak and protect the health and safety of Ontarians as the province reopens in a measured and responsible way.

Ontario plan for sectoral COVID-19 testing includes construction

 The Ontario government has laid out a detailed “enhanced plan” for COVID-19 testing that includes future collaboration with sectors such as construction and possibly even vans or buses that would visit specific workplaces and test workers on site.

Major owners paying fast and loose with prompt payment requirements; refusing to pay extra covid-19 costs: OGCA

The Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) says some large public sector organizations are playing fast and loose with prompt payment provisions within the Ontario Construction Act and are setting unrealistic contractual requirements for project completions and payments as the construction industry adapts to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Clive Thurston, who will hand over the OGCA’s reins to Giovanni Cautillo at the end of the month, says the problem rests with only a tiny percentage of owners – but these represent the largest public sector institutions, “probably about 30, 40 or even 50 per cent of the market.”

Good News

Record air tightness reached in larger-scale affordable housing projects

In the midst of this COVID-19 pandemic, two affordable housing projects in Hamilton have set new records for air tightness in larger-scale Canadian buildings. Indwell’s 45 unit, 60,000 sq. ft. project in conjunction with Hughson Street Baptist Church, and 50 unit, 35,000 sq. ft. Project with the Hamilton Public Library both achieved 0.12 ACH50 in mid-construction testing – that’s 80 per cent less than their allowable limit.

Construction leaders send thanks to Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton  

Labour and business leaders from Ontario’s construction sector have thanked the province for helping to keep workers safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Patrick J. Dillon, business manager at the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario and Geoff Smith, president and CEO of EllisDon, commended the government’s quick and effective actions since the global pandemic broke which, they said, helped keep construction workers safe in an open letter to Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Monte McNaughton.

Ontario moves forward with signature subway project

Today, Caroline Mulroney, Minister of Transportation, and Kinga Surma, Associate Minister of Transportation (GTA), announced the Ontario government is moving forward with the next step in building the Ontario Line, the signature project in the largest subway expansion in the province’s history.

Ontario helps manufactures ramp up production of personal protective equipment

The Ontario government continues investing in local manufacturers in order to keep frontline workers and communities safe during the COVID-19 outbreak. More innovative businesses are receiving financial support today through the Ontario Together Fund to re-tool their processes and increase their capacity to make personal protective equipment (PPE).

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