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Ontario Closing all Non-Essential Services – What Does that Mean for Condos?

On March 23, 2020, Premier Ford informed the public that all “non-essential” workplaces are being closed down, as soon as possible, and by 11:59 pm on Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at the latest. The forced closure is expected to last 14 days. CBC reported on this here. This followed a similar directive from the premier of Quebec.

Don’t miss out on our weekly webinars on how condos can best tackle the COVID-19 crisis. More info and registration here. Next webinar is on March 25 at 5pm.

Of course, this leads us all to the question of what constitutes an essential service?

(Since we first published this post, the Ontario list of essential services was released. You can read about it here)

This will inevitably have serious and immediate impacts on condominium corporations across the province (and beyond).

  • Will garbage still be collected?
  • Are security guards, superintendents and concierges essential services?
  • What about MANAGEMENT?
  • What if there is a water escape? Who will attend?

The province has indicated that a list of businesses that may stay open will be forthcoming “tomorrow.” We also expect that this will not be a closed and final list, subject to improvements as the government is informed of important businesses that it may have missed.

For now, Premier Ford made mention of grocery stores, drug stores, healthcare, and the supply chains supporting them.

History (such as the SARS outbreak and the Ice Storm of 1998) has suggested that essential service could include:

  • banks
  • drug stores
  • grocery stores
  • financial market infrastructure
  • structural infrastructure (drinking water, electrical grid, IT infrastructure, etc)
  • gas stations
  • shelters
  • public transportation (with limited schedules), and
  • services for the safety and security of the public (police…but would this include security guards?).

Also included in this historical list have been the supply chains in support of these industries.

While we are still waiting for Ontario to issue its list of essential services, you can find here a list of what Québec has deemed to be included in essential services (roughly and hastily translated by us).  This may give us some insight into what to expect tomorrow.

All of our team at Gowling WLG is working over time to get you accurate and timely information during these ever changing times.

Don’t miss out on our weekly webinars on how condos can best tackle the COVID-19 crisis. More info and registration here.


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