COVID-19: Provincial Antigen Screen Program

As Ontario continues taking action to slow the spread of COVID-19, the government also appreciates the importance of supporting the safe and full re-opening of Ontario’s economy.

The Provincial Antigen Screening Program is a newly launched program that allows employers in priority settings to add an additional safety measure in high-risk and essential workplaces, to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Through the program, rapid antigen tests will be distributed to organizations in priority settings, to enhance existing routine screening measures for asymptomatic employees. Rapid antigen tests may allow for workplaces to proactively identify cases of COVID-19 that may have otherwise been missed through routine workplace screening, supporting employee safety and business continuity. Rapid antigen screening does not replace existing workplace infection prevention and control measures.

If members are interested in participating in the Provincial Antigen Screening Program, please email Jennifer Fisk, Senior Strategic Advisor at Please find the information documents from the government below.

COVID rapid testing documents for members

Forms from the government on rapid testing

New Definition of Essential Construction

January 12, 2021 - The Government has declared a second provincial emergency in response to ever-more alarming COVID numbers.  You can read the release here.  Of particular importance to OSSGA members will be the new restrictions on construction activities.

Essential Construction now includes:

  • Permitted construction activities or projects and related services, including land surveying and demolition services.
  • Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector and long-term care, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space.
  • Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, provincial and municipal infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy, mining, and justice sectors beyond day-to-day maintenance.
  • Construction projects and services that support the operations of, and provide new capacity in schools, colleges, universities, municipal infrastructure and childcare centres within the meaning of the Child Care and Early Years Act, 2014.
  • Construction projects under the Investing in Canada Infrastructure Program.
  • Construction projects and services that support the operations of broadband internet and cellular technologies and services.
  • Critical industrial construction activities required for the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries, and significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced.
  • 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.
  • Construction projects that are due to be completed before July 2021 and that would provide additional capacity in the production, processing, manufacturing or distribution of food, beverages, or agricultural products.
  • Construction projects that were commenced before January 12, 2021, and that would,
  1. provide additional capacity for businesses that provide logistical support, distribution services, warehousing, storage or shipping and delivery services, or
  2. provide additional capacity in the operation and delivery of Information Technology (IT) services or telecommunications services.
  • Residential construction projects where,
  • a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes
  • the project is a condominium, mixed use, or other residential building, or
  • the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before January 12, 2021.
  • Construction to prepare a site for an institutional, commercial, industrial, or residential development, including any necessary excavation, grading, roads, or utilities infrastructure.
  • Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active, to ensure ongoing public safety.
  • Below-grade multi-unit residential construction projects, such as apartments and condominiums. The Ontario government also provided that businesses must follow public health measures and should review the workplace safety guidelines.
  • Construction on any project intended to provide either, affordable housing, or shelter or supports for vulnerable persons, If the project is being funded in whole or in part by, or is being undertaken by, any of the following:

A. the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,

B. an agency of the Crown in right of Canada or in right of Ontario,

C. a municipality,

D. a service manager as defined in the Housing Services Act, 2011, or

E. a registered charity and not for profit within the meaning of the Income Tax Act (Canada).


Also in the announcement:

  • Effective Thursday, January 14, 2021at 12:01 a.m., the government is issuing a stay-at-home order requiring everyone to remain at home with exceptions for essential purposes, such as going to the grocery store or pharmacy, accessing health care services, for exercise or for essential work. This order and other new and existing public health restrictions are aimed at limiting people's mobility and reducing the number of daily contacts with those outside an immediate household. In addition to limiting outings to essential trips, all businesses must ensure that any employee who can work from home, does work from home.
  • A new "Stay Safe All Day" campaign is being launched focusing workplace inspections in areas of high transmission, including break rooms, and providing new educational materials to employers to promote safe behaviour before, during and after work. Inspectors will use a data-driven approach to focus on workplaces with reported COVID-19 outbreaks, manufacturing businesses, warehouses, distribution centres, food processing operations, construction projects and publicly accessible workplaces deemed essential, such as grocery stores. The Ministry is also using a new data-sharing program, in conjunction with the Ministry of Long-Term Care and the Retirement Regulatory Authority, to focus onsite inspections of long-term-care homes and retirement homes.


Resources for On-going Operations

Financial support for employers  

Emergency Preparedness

MNRF has provided the following bulletin to help producers resume public consultations on September 12, 2020.  

With the Government of Ontario now beginning to reopen businesses and the economy, it is vital for all members to have protocols in place to respond effectively and immediately to on-going COVID related issues vs. those that were put in place at the beginning of the pandemic.  OSSGA has prepared the following guideline to help members think through the various components of their preparedness plans.

OSSGA COVID-19 Safety Briefs - Presentations

OSSGA has put together three COVID-19 Safety Brief Presentations to help businesses equip their employees with best practices and health & safety measures, regarding Physical Distancing, Mental Health and Sanitization. More Safety Briefs will be coming soon. Please select your desired format below, or visit OSSGA's Youtube Channel.

Physical Distancing Safety Brief - PowerPoint

Physical Distancing Safety Brief - Video (MP4)

Mental Health Safety Brief - PowerPoint

Mental Health Safety Brief - Video (MP4)

Sanitization Safety Brief - PowerPoint

Sanitization Safety Brief - Video (MP4)

Download a sample Risk Assessment Form as part of your Forward Facing Protocols.

Forward Facing COVID-19 Protocols: Posters

OSSGA Safety First Alerts

OSSGA has put together a collection Safety First Alerts for members to use on their social media, website and communication channels, to help employees engage in safe activities at work, in their offices, at their sites, and with their equipment.

A total of 15 Safety First Alerts are available for download here, or by clicking the sample image below. For questions or help with the messaging please contact Sharon Armstrong or Richard Hillier.


Please download and share with your vendors and drivers.

IHSA Best Practices: Responding to a Suspected COVID-19 Exposure

Employers and constructors have obligations to protect workers from hazards in the workplace as set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations and the directives coming from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The IHSA has provided employers with guidance on how best to respond to a suspected COVID-19 exposre. Click here to read more.

This file contains a list of industry practices collected from both OSSGA members as well as members from NSSGA in the States.  If you would like to add to this list, please send an email to Sharon Armstrong  or Richard Hillier.

We will continue to post suggestions as they become available.

Read OSSGA's recent letter to the Honourable Rod Phillips in his role as Chair of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery.

OSSGA makes two recommendations with respect to ensuring the continuing work of the broader construction industry:  

  • Because municipalities are running out of money and are legislatively prohibited from running a deficit, OSSGA is calling on the Province to immediately provide financial assurance to municipalities and direct them to continue to award, inspect and build infrastructure;
  • That construction projects, including infrastructure and certain aspects of ICI and residential housing that can maintain physical distancing, be re-opened.

The CDAO (whose members are listed on the left hand side of the attached letter), wrote to Minister Rod Phillips in his capacity as Chair of the Economic Recovery Committee to provide their thought's and recommendations on Ontario’s Post COVID-19 Economic Recovery for the Construction Industry.

In their letter, the CDAO recommendations included that:

- The Government should develop a comprehensive project investment pipeline document which is informed by existing regulated municipal asset management plans.

- A legislated provision for accommodation (time and compensation) should be inserted into all construction and professional services contracts where the effects of COVID-19 might result in failure to perform or delay, including workforce and supply chain considerations. This could be performed under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.

- Following the lead of the provinces of Quebec and British Columbia, reopen the critically time-sensitive and largely sequestered earthworks and site servicing of private land development sites.

- On-Going Development of COVID-19 Health and Safety Protocols and Increased Inspection and Enforcement on active worksites.

OSSGA also wrote to Minister Phillips outlining our recommendations for further opening of the construction industry.  Click here for a copy of OSSGA's letter.

IHSA Guidance on Precautions for Transport Drivers During COVID-19

Employers and constructors have obligations to protect workers from hazards in the workplace as set out in the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and its regulations and the directives coming from the Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The IHSA has provided employers with guidance on how to protect their Transport Drivers and Operators during the current pandemic. Click here to read more.

Ontario Stepping Up Measures to Limit the Spread of COVID-19 on Construction Sites

Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, issued the following statement today regarding health and safety on construction sites:

"The health and safety of construction workers is a top priority for our government. With the COVID-19 situation changing day by day, we are working to ensure that workers have the tools they need to help keep job sites safe. We must do everything possible to fight the spread of this disease.

Read more about what Ontario is doing to limit the spread of COVID-19 at construction sites here.

Previous Posts

Canada's COVID-19 Economic Response Plan

The Government of Canada has listed the actions to help Canadians facing hardship as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak:

OSSGA's Government Relations consultant Kelly Mitchell provides an indepth analysis of the government's action plan and how it affects industries.

More best practices including a great section on drivers.

Business Continuity Resources

In addition to the list of Operational Industry Practices above, below are documents and resources from members and outside agencies that may be helpful.

Please scroll down as new resources are being added daily.

  • Keeping vendors and employees safe (below)
  • Communicating with the public (below)
  • Strategies to avoid contact during operations/shipping (below)
  • Resources for Business Continuity Plans - including resources from Ontario Chamber of Commerce and more

Sample Memo to Vendors: Strategy to keep employees and vendors safe

Courtesy of Nelson Aggregates...

Effective Immediately

Nelson/Waynco is advising all vendors to call ahead prior to making deliveries to Nelson/Waynco sites. Vendors selling production products will not be able to gain access to our sites, and we ask that you address these conversations by telephone or email only.  

Deliveries of pre-approved essential products are to be dropped off outside of Nelson/Waynco buildings. Access inside will not be permitted.

Access to sites to make any needed repairs to Nelson/Waynco equipment must be pre-approved and authorized by the site operation manager prior to entering any Nelson/Waynco site. Scheduled repairs and/or maintenance to equipment, Nelson/Waynco asks that social distancing is maintained (6 ft) while working on site as well as following good hygiene practices; wearing gloves, frequent hand-washing, and regular use of hand sanitizer.

Together we can positively contribute to maintaining a safe and healthy workplace by doing our part by prevent the spread of this wretched virus.

Nelson/Waynco Management

Communication with the public: Strategy to let customers know you are open for business

Tomlinson has implemented numerous safe work practices to ensure that we are abiding with measures to ‘flatten’ the curve, and are continuing to operate in our lines of business including aggregate, ready mix, environmental services, and construction.   Here is a link to the information we are providing to the public and our customers to ensure that we are putting public and employee health foremost, while operations continue. 

We have instituted a company task force to stay up to date on developments, act on needed changes, and enhance the flow of communication both up and down.  

The message back to government should be that the flow of goods, supply chain and economy needs to keep moving and that industry is putting safety measures in place to facilitate. There will undoubtedly be financial impacts as work slows down, we will be looking to the government to provide leadership and a calming influence to power through the current challenges and through to the other side.

Customer Communications: Strategies to avoid contact

Courtesy of Fowler Construction:

Valued Customers:

Fowler Construction is closely monitoring Covid-19 and adjusting its business operations. We are making several changes at our locations in order to ensure the safety of our employees, customers, suppliers, families & local communities.
Effective immediately the following changes are occurring:

  • Most of our team is working remotely. This change will not limit our ability to serve you. Contact information for our sales and customer service staff is listed below. We will best serve you by phone, text or email during this time.
  • Our offices and scale houses are closed to visitors. Scale house operators can be spoken to by phone or at the ticket window.
  • We are limiting in-person meetings and utilizing video conferencing wherever possible. This includes limiting customer meetings. If an in-person customer meeting is absolutely necessary - we will be not be greeting with a handshake, will be maintaining a minimum 1-metre distance at all times and attempt to hold the meeting outside or in an open space.
  • We are dramatically increasing the frequency of sanitization in our offices, scale houses, shop, vehicles and heavy equipment.
  • Our staff are limiting, or eliminating where possible, the sharing of equipment between multiple operators during shifts.
  • Scale operators are no longer be obtaining a signature on tickets at the scale window. Our scale operator will ask for their name and sign for the driver or customer. The scale operator will then place their initial beside the name and provide the tickets to the driver or customer. Our delivery drivers will also not be asking customers to sign the ticket. We understand that this is a significant shift from our standard process. We are willing to provide our customers with additional reports as requested. Any customers that do not agree with this change of process is asked to contact us immediately in order to discuss further.
  • Cash is not accepted at any of our locations. In addition, we are not accepting debit cards at all of our locations. We will continue to accept Visa and Mastercard for retail transactions, however the cards will be entered manually by our staff directly into the Point of Sale machine. Our staff are not directly handling credit cards. This will drastically limit the number of people handling these machines.
  • Our scales will be closed for shipping from 12:00pm to 12:30pm daily in order to provide our staff with a lunch break and an opportunity to do additional workspace and/or equipment sanitization.

We thank-you for your understanding through these challenging times. When our business is in a position to return some, or all, of these changes back to normal - we will let you know. In the meantime, should you have any questions please feel free to contact any of our sales and customer service staff below.

Risk Assessment shared by Ireland