As all construction activity officially resumes across the city, industry associations say jobsite health and safety remains top priority
AS WORK ON construction projects picks up across London and the province, there is a new normal onsite where the health and safety of workers is more important than ever, say local stakeholders, and diligence is key.
“We are still focused on the safety of jobsites, workers and clients,” says Toby Stolee, director of housing operations with Sifton Properties and president of the London Home Builders’ Association (LHBA). “Getting our industry safely back to work means we can get back to providing the housing supply and choice our community needs, from renovations to new home builds to adding new commercial workspace in London and area.”
Initially, Premier Doug Ford announced in late March that much of the construction sector was considered essential, such as projects associated with healthcare, transportation and transit and “construction work and services, including demolition services, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors.”
In early April, prompted by complaints of unsanitary and unsafe conditions on jobsites, the province pared back the list continuing to permit work associated with the healthcare sector and on transit and transportation projects and allowing work on some residential projects along with other limited categories.
Over the past six weeks, the government has slowly added to the list of permitted projects, eventually opening it up completely.
According to the LHBA, industry associations like itself and the Ontario Home Builders’ Association continue to support the critical role enforcement role of the Ministry of Labour inspectors, and support closing any jobsite that does not meet or exceed Covid-19 Emergency Orders.
“We all want safe jobsites. The health and safety of colleagues, employees, tradespeople and clients continues to be the industry’s number-one priority as the industry continues to make enhancements to the Covid-19 health and safety protocols,” added Joe Vaccaro, CEO of the OHBA. “The provincial government continues to take a measured approach in response to this crisis. The reactivation of construction and renovations for both residential and non-residential means the industry can work through the short Canadian construction season and deliver the keys to businesses waiting for their new work spaces and thousands of families waiting for the keys to their new or renovated homes.”