Ontario unveils list of essential businesses

Late last night, as it continues to take actions against the evolving COVID-19 situation, the Ontario government revealed its list of workplaces that are considered essential, and which may remain in operation past tonight’s ordered closure of at-risk workplaces.

The list of exempted businesses is long (see the list here), but it specifically mentions several trades that provide support and maintenance services, including urgent repair, to maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial industrial and residential properties and buildings. 

Among the service providers listed are plumbers, HVAC mechanics and technicians, fire safety and sprinkler systems, building systems maintenance and repair technicians and engineers, electricians, and other service providers who provide similar services.

“While this was a difficult decision, we trust that Ontario’s business leaders will be able to promote safety while carrying out business and protecting jobs,” said Premier Doug Ford.

At-risk workplaces have been ordered to close by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24th and where possible, take the necessary measures so staff can work from home allowing operations to continue. Teleworking and online commerce are permitted at all times for all businesses.

“Our government applauds the sacrifice and hard work of all Ontario workers and businesses, and will stand by them through this crisis,” said Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade. “We call on workplaces that remain open to be vigilant and to enforce the highest possible standards of cleanliness and caution as we continue the fight together against COVID-19.”