MEMBER UPDATE – April 3, 4:00PM

Province Announces Additional Business Closures

Following the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s advice, the Province is reducing businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close. This measure is necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect Ontarians. The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with an extension possible as the situation evolves. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times. All supply chains necessary for food and healthcare supplies are protected and remain intact.

The updated essential businesses list can be found here.

The updated list will direct additional businesses to close and restricts specified businesses to providing services by alternate methods like curb side pick-up and delivery, except in exceptional circumstances. This includes stores that sell hardware products, vehicle parts and supplies, pet and animal supplies, office supplies and computer products and repairs and safety supplies.

New starts in residential projects will stop, while residential construction near completion will continue.

Business-owners with questions concerning their essential business status are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659. The hotline is available from 8:30 a.m.― 9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m.— 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Workers worried their workplaces are unsafe can phone 1-877-202-0008 to speak with an agent.

If you’re concerned about your business or a business closure, you can always contact ONPHA at

Additional Information: Changes to the Provincial Essential Business List

The new guidelines state, critical management, safety, security and essential operations staff at residential properties are allowed to continue work. The new guidelines also reference; “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 ” (#20) and “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.” (#44) as essential.

ONPHA sought a legal opinion on these changes with respect to the non-profit housing sector. We were advised our interpretation of appropriate activities is reasonable. We strongly encourage organizations to review the list in its entirety to see how these changes apply to them specifically. We also encourage organizations to seek their own legal opinion on the interpretation of essential services.

ONPHA will continue to work to seek further clarification from provincial staff but we recommend providers contact the Provincial Hotline if they have any questions. Please note the deadline above for the new restrictions is 11:59pm Saturday April 4th.