Ford promises to close construction sites if workers are at risk for COVID-19


Many workers are pounding the government of Doug Ford over its decision to authorize work on construction sites.
Construction workers complained that they were forced to work within two meters of each other and share unsanitary portable toilets.

A construction worker, who contacted the Toronto Sun, said construction does not continue in a manner that provides protection against COVID-19, arguing that a hand sanitizer in a portable toilet is not an adequate solution.

The Ford government “puts my family and me in danger,” said the worker.

Ford defended the decision to continue construction, noting that there are currently thousands of homes under construction in Ontario.

“When it comes to the necessities of life, housing tops the list,” Ford said on Tuesday. “And we cannot take a decision lightly that could endanger thousands of people.”

However, Ford said it was warning the construction industry that labor inspectors would close sites unless they follow new guidelines to protect workers.

“If the industry does not take all the necessary steps to take care of its workers, I will shut them down,” he said.

Construction was exempt from the provincial government’s order to close all non-essential workplaces at 11:59 p.m. Tuesday.

The Ontario Construction Consortium (OCC) has said that Ford must shut down Ontario construction sites for 14 days.

“It makes no sense that you can’t have your neighbor for a cup of coffee, but the construction sites should continue and they may have hundreds of employees working close to each other,” said Phil Gillies, executive director of OCC, in a statement Tuesday.

The International Union of North American Workers (LiUNA) said in a statement that the health and safety of its members must be of paramount concern given the rapid progression of COVID-19.

“Health and safety implementations have not been implemented and this can potentially compromise the safety of members and their families,” said the LiUNA statement. “If the sites are to remain open, this must be taken seriously and the safety of members must not be questioned. ”

LiUNA said essential improvements to site conditions must be maintained, monitored and implemented.

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