By Patrick Flannery
As COVID-19 becomes the “new normal” and our businesses adjust, the rate of news is slowing down. Plus, we’re all getting a bit sick of reading and hearing about this all the time. We’re going to back off the COVID updates to a Friday roundup of the week’s developments.
THIS WEEK’S NEWS
A virtual symposium to be hosted by Canadian Consulting Engineer on July 16 with an interesting subject of discussion “Buildings and infrastructure in the age of COVID-19.”
New home construction, especially condos, apartments and multi-family homes, has been gaining speed last month, offsetting the overall decline in single-detached homes.
Here’s a silver lining. A COVID-19 mental health survey finds construction workers are faring better than those in other sectors.
What happens when businesses restart their operations while still living with the continued existence of COVID-19? This article discusses some legal considerations that the construction industry can keep in mind when reopening operations.
More legal advice to help contractors who are procuring new work during the pandemic.
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Government resources pages for businesses
Links to the regional agencies delivering federal funds to assist business.
- Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency
- Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund – Northern Ontario
- RRRF – Southern Ontario
- Western Economic Diversification Canada
- Northern Business Relief Fund
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- Export Development Canada (Canada Emergency Business Account)
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance
- Business Development Canada
- Employment Insurance
- Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses
- Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety
- Ontario Ministry of Health
- Toronto Public Health
- Peel Public Health
- Public Health Ontario
- Public Health Agency of Canada
- World Health Organization
What opportunities could the energy-efficient windows market have globally in the present times? This article analyzes the situation and offers an industry forecast as well.
Construction industry leaders in Alberta appreciate the provincial government’s recovery plan.
An interesting webinar presented by a group of lawyers regarding the new regime under which construction projects are operating in B.C.
Improvement in sanitation facilities is being seen across construction sites in Vancouver Island as a result of the pandemic. Construction workers appreciate the handwashing stations now available.
Construction, as well as sales in Alberta’s housing industry, is reeling from the impact of COVID-19. However, being deemed essential has helped the housing industry in the province breathe better.
How has the pandemic impacted costing in construction? This article discusses 10 such impacts.
Online events and conferences seem to be working quite well for those who have had to replace live ones with them during the pandemic. The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance’s Summer Conference was certainly a well-executed and highly informative one.
The National Glass Association has decided to cancel GlassBuild America 2020 amidst the continued restrictions on large public gatherings. As an alternative, the association will be hosting an online marketplace called GlassBuild Connect: The Glass & Fenestration Online Experience.
Statistics Canada numbers indicate that loss of employment has been worse for women compared to men during the pandemic. Experts suggest it could be a good time for women to consider a career change and move into the relatively thriving construction industry.
BC Construction Roundtable sees opportunities for infrastructure investment in the future as B.C. begins its journey of economic recovery from the effects of the pandemic.
Construction project delays in GTA due to COVID-19 will hurt everyone concerned. David Wilkes, CEO and president of Building Industry and Land Development Association discusses its full implications.
Is glass the ideal material for protective barriers? National Glass Association has released the Glass for Personal Protective Barriers Glass Technical Paper (GTP) to discuss that and more.
Relief for those out of work due to COVID-19 as CERB is extended. Active job search encouraged by the government.
Has Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) been able to reach all businesses that need the assistance? No, says CFIB; there are problems that need to be fixed. Open letter sent by CFIB to Minister Morneau, requesting immediate action.
Who will lead the Canadian economy on the road to recovery post-COVID-19? It could be the residential and non-residential construction industry, according to some industry associations.
Hosting events online is the trend of the times. Skills Ontario follows suit with a virtual Summer Camp program.
A wonderful display of compassion from Saskatchewan’s construction associations. They have joined forces for a COVID-19 food bank drive to keep the province from going hungry during this crisis.
A breath of relief may soon be possible for commercial tenants in Ontario impacted due to COVID-19 as the province proposes steps to safeguard them.
How can small businesses emerge stronger from the current recession? Canada must extend the necessary help, says Neil McLaughlin from RBC.
CERB becomes a pain point for the Canadian government? This article discusses how fraud and error under CERB could possibly be worse than previously feared.
The changing times are forcing all businesses to adapt and evolve. Could innovations and digital technologies help the construction industry grow and push forward? This article takes a look at how this is the right time to consider whether technology could be the next step forward.
New construction takes a big hit from COVID-19 in Greater Victoria. Big drop in the value of building permits in the area, with similar trends in 10 Canadian provinces.
The April building permit statistics are out and they are not pretty. A 17 percent drop nationwide – declines not seen since the 2008 financial crisis.
If building designers weren’t thinking about infectious disease control before, they are now. The Ontario Building Envelope Council will offer a webinar on June 10 discussing how building design can help occupants to stay safe and reduce the risk of spread indoors.
The Fenestration and Glazing Industry Alliance has released details of the education sessions at its Virtual Conference happening June 24 and 25.
How might the pandemic affect the construction industry long-term? This article takes a look at how we might work differently on and off job sites, and how building design might be affected.
Ontario is talking about its plan for testing and tracing on jobsites.
Nice overview of the BC construction sector’s response to COVID in the Vancouver Sun. Big takeaway: WorkSafeBC has allowed only one claim for COVID contracted on a construction site. Numbers around the country appear to be similar – Ontario has less than six construction-related COVID claims.
The April building permit statistics are out. They are not good. Average 17 percent decline in April in permits issued – the largest month-to-month decline measured since the 2008 financial crisis.
Fenestration BC has done a great job keeping members connected and apprised of critical pandemic information. Here’s its latest update on developments in BC.
If your staff’s lift operating certifications are running out, IPAF has online options for them to renew their training and certificates.
Officials in the Toronto area are indicating manufacturing plants and warehouses appear to be at higher risk for outbreaks, perhaps due to numbers of people clustering indoors.
Here’s a chance to hear from some top experts on their predictions for the economic recovery from the lockdown and advice on how to get your business ready. Q&A session to follow the webinar.
Ontario’s suspension of time-of-use electricity pricing is supposed to expire Sunday. Maybe Doug Ford will have something to announce about this today…
If you’re going after the big stuff when the infrastructure spending starts flowing, you’re going to need access to surety credit. The Canadian Construction Association will host a webinar June 11 to advise you on how surety providers will evaluate your company. Especially important right now when your balance sheet may not be looking so hot.
It was only a matter of time. Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope has created modular glass boxes and screens that protect public-facing workers. Maybe I’ll get one for my front door: SecureOne
Facebook Canada has launched a bunch of supports for small businesses…including direct grants! Don’t know how easy it will be to get the grants, but one thing everyone has access to is the advice and help setting up an online presence and e-commerce site. Now, I know everyone in the glass industry is a digital wizard and doesn’t need any help with internet stuff, but I just thought I’d post it anyway…
Trudeau wants provinces to require employers to offer 10 paid sick days per year as part of the COVID “recovery phase”…
…the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses is not a fan of making this permanent.
Here is Dan Kelly, CFIB president, talking about it:
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has teamed up with Salesforce to offer $10,000 COVID relief grants to 62 lucky small businesses. Applications open Monday.
The Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance program opened for applications yesterday. Did your landlord apply?
BC Building Trades is calling for a public inquiry into COVID protection protocols on construction sites. It’s executive director pointed to a “culture of non-compliance.”
Alberta jobsites are legally exempt from the 50-person gathering limit but industry leaders are saying measures will be taken to prevent too many workers clustering together.
Some voices in Nova Scotia’s construction industry are calling for a pause as cases in the province start to mount.
Ontario is offering $600 grants to help new apprentices pay for tools and forgiving $10 million in existing loans under the Loans for Tools program.
The Ontario Construction Secretariat has released the results of its early-May survey of ICI contractor attitudes and results. Takeaway: the effects of the lockdown have been widespread, severe, and may impact some companies permanently.
Dan Kelly from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses explains recent changes to the Canada Emergency Business Account. What would we do without him?
Dan also tweets out this message that really needs to make the rounds:
The AIA’s architectural billings index recorded its largest-ever decline in April. Um…have a nice weekend?
The Ontario Construction Secretariat is promising to release results of its latest survey of business conditions on Monday. They’ll appear here. Best consumed with a stiff drink.
Nearly a third of Canadian businesses are now fully open, according to this report. Alberta has the highest rate of open businesses, while Ontario has the lowest.
Ottawa has entirely lifted payroll requirements for CEBA loan eligibility. It’s initial floor of $50,000 payroll eliminated many businesses that pay through dividends, hire contractors or work alone.
The CECRA rent-relief program opens for applications on May 25. Of the various programs announced in this pandemic, this one is getting the most negative attention. It’s hard to see why landlords would volunteer to fill out a bunch of paperwork in order to receive 75 per cent of the rent they are owed…unless it meant the difference between keeping the tenant or not.
From the files of great online content being offered during the pandemic: DipTech webinar on calculating the energy performance of fritted glass.
CSA says it is doing special inspections and field evaluations again.
Ottawa will redirect planned assistance for provincial infrastructure projects to support COVID-preparedness infrastructure.
CFIB is happy with Ottawa’s plan to expand the CEBA to take in more small businesses.
Trudeau has announced the federal CEWS wage subsidy will extend through the summer.
Here’s a thorough discussion of legal issues facing Canadian construction companies during the pandemic. Delays, force majeure, essential services and more.
Ontario has lifted its restrictions on construction activities. Get back to work, safely.
Ontario has posted a list of PPE suppliers for businesses opening up. It’s a great resource, but you have to make an agreement with the Queen herself before you log in! (First line on the terms of service.)
Alberta has eased requirements for COR safety audits and extended certification periods. It’s almost as if some red tape is unnecessary…
Here’s an extensive report on the pandemic’s impact to Q1 Canadian construction from the Canadian Institute of Quality Surveyors. Takeaways: workloads down modestly, expectations down sharply, margins likely to drop.
Ontario to lift “essential” restrictions on construction: report.
MasterCard is offering free cybersecurity assessments to small businesses.
Need something to spray down equipment, vehicles and your shop? Check out Larson’s electrostatic sprayer.
When it comes to lockdowns, there are as many opinions as there are people. Here’s a video from Journal of Commerce showing what leading voices around the industry had to say.
The International Powered Access Federation will host a webinar advising how to minimize COVID-19 exposure when using aerial equipment.
The Canadian Construction Association has released a recording of its very detailed webinar on the various financial assistance programs available for construction companies. Believe me, you will know how to apply after this one.
Export Development Canada is making loans available to larger companies ($50 to $300 million revenues) that can’t access finance through their regular channels.
Quebec has opened up commercial construction sites and developers are happy. But there’s little hope of getting back on schedule.
Experts warn that forehead thermometer checks are not enough to ensure workers don’t have COVID-19.
McMillan is hosting a webinar Friday to discuss construction sector recovery. There’s some big hitters on the panel.
Provincial workers compensation boards say they are only allowing claims for COVID infections if the workplace put the workers at increased risk for getting the virus. And you don’t even have to report if the worker’s case doesn’t seem to fit the criteria. But whether workers were put at risk will be adjudicated on a case-by-case basis. If someone comes down with COVID in your company, are you better safe than sorry? One thing is for sure: PPE, distancing and handwashing are absolutely essential to protect your operation against claims.
The Vancouver Regional Construction Association has joined the Canadian Construction Association to lobby Ottawa to give contractors support for costs incurred on delayed federally funded projects.
Architects from around the world chime in in this Canadian Architect article on how the pandemic might permanently change how we think about cities and development. The fear of a return to suburban sprawl is palpable.
The construction season is going ahead in Saskatoon.
Trudeau is extending the CEWS through June.
Some people are not happy with Quebec reopening.
Do you love numbers? Here’s StatCan’s raw pandemic data since January.
Surrey. B.C., city council has approved an impressive slate of assistance measures for residents, including cuts to municipal development fees. How does it compare to what your jurisdiction is doing?
B.C. is going to allow municipalities to hold public hearings online to make sure no one loses the opportunity to scream about a proposed development in their area.
Quebec has pushed back the date for Montreal retail stores opening amid an increase in hospitalizations, but construction and manufacturing are still set to go on May 11.
Expiry of working-at-heights certificates in Ontario has been pushed back one year. If you got your certificate between February and August 2017, it is good for four years instead of three. In other words, you don’t have to update it this year.
The Ontario Construction Secretariat has released results of a survey of COVID impacts on ICI contractors. It’s a chilling read – 87% of respondents say their work has declined by at least half, 19% say they are shut down entirely.
CFIB welcomes the start of reopening but praises a measured approach.
A step-by-step guide to applying for CEWS from the Canadian Business Resilience Network.
B.C. extends its temporary layoff period to 16 weeks.
The NGA is offering its MyGlassClass online courses for architectural glass workers for free in the month of May.
The Winnipeg Construction Association will host a webinar May 6 on Implications of COVID-19 for the Surety Industry.
Something to keep in mind when trying to keep your staff safe: female workers can struggle with poorly fitting PPE.
Lots of horror stories circulating of landlords refusing to participate in the CECRA commercial rent relief program. The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses has posted a template letter you can use to request CECRA rent relief from your landlord.
New Brunswick may have this thing licked.
Newfoundland goes a second day with no new cases, too.
Tiger Stop offering consultations on changing shop floor process
Tubelite sews masks
Changes from earlier proposals (per Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses) :
- Employers who qualify in one month qualify for eight weeks of support
- Businesses may compare March 2019 OR average Jan./Feb. 2020 revenues to determine revenue decline
- Accrual or cash accounting may be used to compare revenues
- Only 15 per cent reduction in March required to qualify. Threshold for April/May is still 30 per cent.
- Business owner and family member salaries are covered IF they are paid through usual payroll system and not through dividends
- More details
Changes, per Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses:
1. Small firms will be able to compare gross revenue against either (a) the same month in 2019 or (b) January and February 2020. This will help new and rapidly growing firms gain access to the wage subsidy.
2. Only a 15% gross revenue decline will be needed in March (30% for April and May). Now firms that had a decent first half of March (but were hit in the second half) will be able to use the wage subsidy.
3. Firms will be able to choose between cash and accrual accounting to determine the 30% drop. This will help many firms whose gross revenue may look good on paper during the 3 months, but may not have the $ to pay wages.
The government has also clarified that pre-covid wages will be based on average weekly remuneration from Jan 1 to Mar 15, 2020.
C.R. Laurence donates PPE
Diamond Schmitt using 3D printer to produce face shield visors
CFIB reporting Canada Post will waive fees for forwarding business mail to home addresses. Nothing on the Canada Post site about this yet.
Ontario Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development warns jobsites will be shut down if they don’t sanitize toilets.
Mass gathering limits
BC – 50
Alberta – 10
Saskatchewan – 10
Manitoba – 10
Ontario – 5
Quebec – 2
New Brunswick – 10
Nova Scotia – 5
P.E.I. – 5
Newfoundland and Labrador – not specified “avoid crowds”
AXYZ invites fabricators to group making PPE and other COVID-fighting products
Ontario keeping highway service centres open for truckers
Guardian says support available via video conference: