COVID-19 and Municipalities: “Essential Business” Update


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Last week in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Ontario, Premier Doug Ford ordered the closure of a number of businesses and the shut down of industrial construction sites that were previously considered “Essential” under Ontario Regulation 82/20: Closure of Places of Non-Essential Business (“O.Reg 82/20”). 

The amending legislation Ontario Regulation 119/20 (“O.Reg 119/20”) came into effect on April 4, 2020 and substantially reduced the original list of Essential Businesses of seventy-one (in effect between March 24, 2020 and April 4, 2020)  to just forty-four businesses, all of which fall into one of the fifteen sectors listed below: 

  • Supply Chains;
  • Food;
  • Services;
  • Services to the public that are restricted to alternative methods of sale;
  • Financial Services;
  • Telecommunications and IT Infrastructure;
  • Maintenance;
  • Transportation Services;
  • Manufacturing;
  • Agriculture and food production; 
  • Construction;
  • Resources and energy;
  • Community services;
  • Research; and
  • Health care and social services

(Included in this article is a comparison chart of the businesses listed as Essential under O.Reg 82/20 and O.Reg 119/20.)

While the amendment requires that several businesses close their doors, other businesses are being mandated to provide services through different means, such as delivery and curbside pickups. These businesses are largely found under a new sector entitled “Services to the public that are restricted to alternative methods of sale”. 

Other new sector headings include “Maintenance”, which replaces Industrial Maintenance and provides that services related to property repairs necessary to manage safety, security and sanitation are Essential; and “Services”, which amalgamates a number of businesses previously set out under various headings, including, laundromats, pharmacies, vehicle repair, couriers, funeral services, veterinary services (urgent care only), home child care services (of up to six children), hotels and cheque cashing services. 

In addition to the amendments to the Schedule 2 list of Essential Businesses; O.Reg. 119/20 also introduced Schedule 3. This Schedule provides compliance  requirements for businesses that are permitted to remain open, as well as sets out specific restrictions pertaining to access to businesses, businesses providing alternative methods of sale, short term rentals, and the prohibition of real estate agent businesses from hosting open houses.

Notably, in a separate declaration issued on April 7, 2020, Premier Ford confirmed the that the Easter Bunny is an Essential Service when visiting individual residences, however, Easter egg hunts will not be permitted in public spaces. See https://globalnews.ca/news/6789878/coronavirus-easter-bunny-essential-service-ontario/

Essential Businesses between March 24-April 4, 2020 (O.Reg 82/20)

Essential Businesses as of April 4, 2020 at 11:59 P.M, as amended by O.Reg. 119/20

Supply chains

1.  Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services with the support, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate;

Supply chains

1. Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services within Ontario, or that supply businesses or services that have been declared essential in a jurisdiction outside of Ontario, with the support, products, supplies, systems, or services, including processing, packaging, warehousing, distribution, delivery, and maintenance necessary to operate.

Retail and Wholesaling

2.  Businesses engaged in the retail and wholesale sale of food, pet food and supplies, and household consumer products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operations of residences and businesses, including grocery stores, supermarkets, convenience stores, markets and other similar retailers;

3.  Businesses that provide essential items for the health and welfare of animals, including feed, animal food, pet food and animal supplies including bedding;

4.  Beer, wine and liquor stores and alcohol producers, and stores that sell beer and wine through arrangements with authorized providers; cannabis stores and cannabis producers;

5.  Gas stations, diesel, propane and heating fuel providers including providers of motor vehicle, aircraft and water/marine craft fuels;

6.  Motor vehicle, auto-supply, auto and motor-vehicle-repair, including bicycle repair, aircraft repair, heavy equipment repair, watercraft/marine craft repairs, car and truck dealerships and related facilities;

7.  Hardware stores and stores that provide hardware products necessary to the essential operations of residences and businesses;

8.  Business providing pharmaceuticals and pharmaceutical services, including pharmacies and dispensaries;

9.  Businesses that supply office products and services, including providing computer products and related repair and maintenance services, for individuals working from home and for essential businesses;

10.  Safety supply stores (for e.g. work clothes, Personal Protective Equipment);

See no. 15, Services restricted to alternative methods of sale except in exceptional circumstances

 

Food Services and Accommodations

11.  Restaurants and other food facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or takeaway, together with food delivery services;

12.  Hotels, motels, shared rental units and similar facilities, including student residences;

Food 

2.   Businesses that primarily sell food, beverages and consumer products necessary to maintain households and businesses including:

  1. Supermarkets and grocery stores.
  2. Convenience stores.
  3. Discount and big box retailers selling groceries.
  4. Restaurants (take-out, drive-through and delivery service only).
  5. Beer and wine and liquor stores.

 For Accommodations see no. 13, Services. 

Institutional, Residential, Commercial and Industrial Maintenance

13.  Businesses 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, including, property management services, plumbers, electricians, custodial/janitorial workers, cleaning services, security services, fire safety and sprinkler systems, building systems maintenance and repair technicians and engineers, mechanics, (e.g. HVAC, escalator and elevator technicians), and other service providers who provide similar services

See no. 20, “Maintenance

 

 

Services

3. Pharmacies.

4. Gas stations and other fuel suppliers.

5. Laundromats and drycleaners.

6. Security services for residences, businesses and other properties.

7. Vehicle and equipment repair and essential maintenance and vehicle and equipment rental services.

8. Courier, postal, shipping, moving and delivery services.

9. Funeral and related services.

10. Staffing services including providing temporary help.

11. Veterinary services (urgent care only) and other businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums and research facilities.

12. Home child care services of up to six children as permitted under the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014, and child care centres for essential workers authorized to operate in accordance with Ontario Regulation 51/20 (Order Under Subsection 7.0.2 (4) of the Act - Closure of Establishments) made under the Act.

13. Hotels, motels, other shared rental accommodation including student residences, except for seasonal campgrounds and any pools, fitness centres, meeting rooms and other recreational facilities that may be part of the operations of these businesses.

14. Cheque cashing services.

 

Services restricted to alternative methods of sale except in exceptional circumstances

15. Stores that sell any of the following items and that provide them to the customer only through an alternative method of sale such as curb side pick-up or delivery, except in exceptional circumstances:

  1. Hardware products.
  2. Vehicle parts and supplies.
  3. Pet and animal supplies.
  4. Office supplies and computer products including computer repair.
  5. Safety supplies.

Financial activities

30.  Capital markets (e.g., the TSX);

31.  Banking & Activities related to Credit Intermediation; credit unions;

32.  Insurance;

33.  Businesses that provide pension services and employee benefits services;

34.  Businesses that provide financial services including payment processing, the payroll division of any employer (as defined by the Employment Standards Act/Occupational Health and Safety Act), any entity whose operation is the administration of payroll, banks and credit unions;

Financial services

16. Businesses that provide the following financial services:

  1. Capital markets and related securities trading and advisory services.
  2. Banking/credit union activities including credit intermediation.
  3. Insurance.
  4. Land registration services.
  5. Real estate agent services.
  6. Pension and benefits payment services.
  7. Financial services including payroll and payment processing and accounting and tax services.

Telecommunications and IT Infrastructure/Service Providers

14.  Businesses engaged in providing or supporting Information Technology (IT) including online services, software products and related services, as well as the technical facilities such as data centres and other network facilities necessary for their operation and delivery;

15.  Businesses providing telecommunications services (phone, internet, radio, cell phones etc.) as well as support facilities such as call centres necessary for their operation and delivery;

Telecommunications and IT infrastructure/service providers

17. Information Technology (IT) services, including online services, software products and the facilities necessary for their operation and delivery.

18. Telecommunications providers and services (phone, internet, radio, cell phones etc.) and facilities necessary for their operation and delivery.

19. Newspapers, radio and television broadcasting.

See no. 13, “Industrial Maintenance”

Maintenance

20. Maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.

 

Transportation

16.  Taxis and other private transportation providers providing transportation services necessary for activities of daily living;

17.  Businesses and facilities that provide transportation services to businesses and individuals including by air, water, road, and rail including providing logistical support, distribution services, warehousing and storage, including truck stops and tow operators;

18.  Businesses that provide materials and services for the operation, maintenance and safety of transportation systems (road, transit, rail, air and marine) including delivery of maintenance services such as clearing snow, response to collisions, and completing needed repairs to the transportation systems.

Transportation services

21. Businesses and facilities that provide transportation services, including,

transportation services provided by air, water, road, and rail, including taxis and other private transportation providers, and

support services for transportation services, including

  1. logistical support, distribution services, warehousing and storage, truck stops and tow operators,
  2.  services that support the operations and safety of transportation systems including maintenance and repairs, and
  3. marinas, but only to the extent that the marina is necessary to enable individuals to access their primary place of residence.

22. Businesses that provide and support online retail, including by providing warehousing, storage and distribution of goods that are ordered online.

Manufacturing and Production

19.  Businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers (e.g. primary metal/ steel, blow molding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc. that feed the end-product manufacturer);

20.  Businesses, facilities and services that support and facilitate the two- way movement of essential goods within integrated North American and Global supply chains.

Manufacturing

23. Businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers (e.g. primary metal/ steel, blow molding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc. that feed the end-product manufacturer), regardless of whether those other manufacturers are inside or outside of Ontario, together with businesses that support and facilitate the movement of goods within integrated North American and global supply chains.

Agriculture and food production

21.  Businesses that farm, harvest, process, manufacture, produce or distribute food, including beverages, crops, animal products and by-products, aquaculture, hunting and fishing;

22.  Businesses that support the food supply chain including assembly yards, livestock auctions, food distribution hubs, feed mills, farm equipment suppliers, feed suppliers, food terminals and warehouses, animal slaughter plants and grain elevators;

23.  Business that support the safety of food including animal and plant health and animal welfare;

24.  Businesses that provide veterinary services, and that supply veterinary and animal control medications and related supplies and testing kits;

25.  Businesses that help to ensure safe and effective waste management including deadstock, rendering, nutrient management, bio hazardous materials, green waste, packaging recycling;

Agriculture and food production

24. Businesses that produce food and beverages, and agricultural products including plants, including by farming, harvesting, aquaculture, hunting and fishing.

25. Businesses that process, manufacture or distribute food, beverages, crops, agricultural products, animal products and by-products.

26. Businesses that support the food or agricultural products supply chains and the health and safety of food, animals and plants.

Construction

26.  Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space;

27.  Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance;

28.  Construction work and services, including demolition services, in the industrial, commercial, institutional and residential sectors;

29.  Construction work and services that supports health and safety environmental rehabilitation projects

Construction

27. Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space.

28. Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.

29. Critical industrial construction activities required for,

  1. the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,
  2. significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced,
  3. industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, and/or enhancement of Personal Protective Equipment, medical devices (such as ventilators), and other identified products directly related to combatting the Covid-19 pandemic.

30. Residential construction projects where,

  1. a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes,
  2. an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings, or
  3. the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020.

31. Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety.

Resources

35.  Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of mining materials and products (e.g. metals such as copper, nickel and gold) and that support supply chains in Northern Ontario including;

  1. Mining operations, production and processing; 
  2. Mineral exploration and development;
  3. Mining Supply and Services that support supply chains in the mining industry including maintenance of operations, health and safety.

36.  Businesses that provide chemicals and gases to support the natural resource sector analytical labs and drinking water and wastewater sectors and other essential businesses;

37.  Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of forestry products (e.g. lumber, pulp, paper, wood fuel, etc.);

38.  Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of aggregates to support critical infrastructure repairs and emergency response requirements (e.g. sandbags, armour stone barriers, etc.);

39.  Businesses that ensure global continuity of supply of petroleum and petroleum by-products;

Resources and energy

32. Businesses that provide and ensure the domestic and global continuity of supply of resources, including mining, forestry, aggregates, petroleum, petroleum by-products and chemicals.

33. Electricity generation, transmission, distribution and storage and natural gas distribution, transmission and storage.

Environmental Services

40.  Businesses that support environmental management/monitoring and spill clean-up and response, including environmental consulting firms, professional engineers and geoscientists, septic haulers, well drillers, pesticides applicators and exterminators, management of industrial sewage/effluent (e.g. for mining operations), and environmental laboratories;

See no. 34. v. Community Services 

Utilities and Community Services

41.  Utilities, and Businesses that support the provision of utilities and community services, including by providing products, materials and services needed for the delivery of utilities and community services:

  1. Waste Collection, Waste/ Sewage Treatment and Disposal, operation of landfills, and Hazardous Waste Disposal;
  2. Potable drinking water;
  3. Electricity Generation, transmission, distribution and storage;
  4. Natural Gas distribution, transmission and storage,
  5. Road construction and maintenance;
  6. police and other law enforcement, fire and emergency services including coroner services and pathology ;
  7. corrections and courts services;
  8. other government services including licenses and permits;

42.  Businesses engaged in or supporting the operation, maintenance and repair of critical infrastructure (railways, dams, bridges, highways, erosion control structures, etc.);

Community services

34. Businesses that deliver or support the delivery of services including:

  1. Sewage treatment and disposal.
  2. Collecting, transporting, storing, processing, disposing or recycling of any type of waste.
  3. Potable drinking water.
  4. Critical infrastructure repair and maintenance including roads, dams, bridges etc.
  5. Environmental rehabilitation, management and monitoring, and spill clean-up and response.
  6. Administrative authorities that regulate and inspect businesses.
  7. Professional and social services that support the legal and justice system.
  8. Government services including but not limited to policing and law enforcement, fire and emergency services, paramedics, coroner and pathology services, corrections and court services, licences and permits.

Communications Industries

43.  Newspaper publishers;

44.  Radio & Television Broadcasting;

45.  Telecommunications providers;

 

Research

46.  Businesses and organizations that maintain research facilities and engage in research, including medical research and other research and development activities;

47.  Businesses that provide products and services that support research activities;

Research

35. Businesses and organizations that maintain research facilities and engage in research, including medical research and other research and development activities.

Health Care and Seniors Care and Social Services

48.  Organizations and providers that deliver home care services;

49.  Retirement homes;

50.  Long-term Care Facilities;

51.  Independent health facilities;

52.  Laboratories and specimen collection centres;

53.  Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, including medications, medical isotopes, vaccines and antivirals; medical devices and medical supplies;

54.  Manufacturers, logistics and distributors of products and/or services that support the delivery of health care in all locations (including but not limited to hospitals, labs, long-term care homes, other residential health care, physicians, nurse practitioners and midwives, and home care services);

55.  Businesses that provide products and/or services that support the health sector or that provide health services, including mental health and addictions and counselling supports;

56.  Businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies;

57.  Businesses that provide personal support services  to  seniors and persons with disabilities, to assist with the activities of daily living);

58.  Health care professionals providing emergency care including dentists optometrists and physio-therapists;

59.  Not-for-profit organizations that provide critical personal support services in home and also provide residential services for individuals with physical disabilities (such as the Centre for Independent Living and March of Dimes);

60.  Businesses and all other organizations that support the provision of food, shelter, safety or protection, and/or social services and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable individuals, including but not limited to food banks, violence against women emergency shelters, homeless shelters, community housing, supportive housing, children’s aid societies, residential services for adults with developmental disabilities and for children, and custody and detention programs for young persons in conflict with the law;

Health care and social services

36. Organizations and providers that deliver home care services or personal support services to seniors and persons with disabilities.

37. Businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies.

38. Regulated health professionals (urgent care only) including dentists, optometrists, chiropractic services, ophthalmologists, physical and occupational therapists and podiatrists.

39. Organizations that provide health care including retirement homes, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, independent health facilities and mental health and addictions counselling supports.

40. Laboratories and specimen collection centres.

41. Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers of pharmaceutical products and medical supplies, including medications, medical isotopes, vaccines and antivirals, medical devices and medical supplies.

42. Manufacturers, distributors and businesses that provide logistical support of or for products and/or services that support the delivery of health care in all locations.

43. Not-for-profit organizations that provide critical personal support services in home or residential services for individuals with physical disabilities.

44. Not-for profit organizations that support the provision of food, shelter, safety or protection, and/or social services and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable individuals.

Justice Sector

61.  Professional and social services that support the legal and justice system;

See No. 34. Vii, Community Services

Other Businesses

62.  Rental and leasing services, including automobile, commercial and light industrial machinery and equipment rental;

63.  Businesses providing mailing, shipping, courier and delivery services, including post office boxes;

64.  Laundromats, dry cleaners and laundry service providers;

65.  Professional services including lawyers and paralegals, engineers, accountants, translators;

66.  Businesses providing funeral, mortician, cremation, transfer, and burial services, and any related goods and products (such as coffins and embalming fluid);

67.  Land registration services, and real estate agent services and moving services;

68.  Businesses providing security services including private security guards; monitoring or surveillance equipment and services;

69.  Businesses providing staffing services, including temporary help;

70.  Businesses that support the safe operations of residences and essential businesses;

71.  Businesses that provide for the health and welfare of animals, including veterinarians, farms, boarding kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums, research facilities and other service providers;

72.  Child care services for essential workers, and home child care services of less than six children;

73.  Businesses providing cheque cashing services;

See Services and Community Services.

Business Regulators and Inspectors

74.  Organizations, including Administrative Authorities, that regulate and inspect businesses.