April 4, 2020

The Ontario government has ordered the majority of construction jobsites in Ontario to be closed effective 11:59 on Saturday April 4, 2020.  The ONLY construction job sites and work that legally can continue to be performed are set out below:

A: Construction projects and services

  1. associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space;
  2. required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance;

B: CRITICAL industrial construction activities required for

  1. the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries;
  2. significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced;
  3. 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.

C: Residential construction projects where:

  1. a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes;
  2. an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings;
  3. the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020.

D: Construction and maintenance

activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety.

In addition it is lawful for businesses engaged in the following to remain open and continue performing work:

E: 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.

All other construction jobsites and businesses are required to be shut down by 11:59 pm on Saturday April 4, 2020.  If it is not on this list it must be shut down.

If you are unsure about whether you should go to work please contact your employer/ supervisor and get confirmation that your workplace is shut down.

If your employer/supervisor requests you to report to work and you are unsure if you are permitted to please contact your Local Union Representative right away.






MARCH 25, 2020

As you are aware the Government of Ontario has designated ICI Construction Work an essential service.  This means that many Construction job sites remain open and are proceeding as scheduled.

While many of our members want to continue to work some of you that are at greater risk to suffer complications from Covid-19 need to consider staying at home.  If you have any of the following risk factors you may want to consider staying home:

  1. Diabetes
  2. Lung or Cardiovascular diseases
  3. Auto-Immune or Compromised Immune
  4. High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
  5. Overweight
  6. 50 years of age or older

If any of the above applies to you, then you need to ask yourself, IS IT WORTH IT TO risk my health?

If the answer is no please contact your employer and inform them you are unable to report to work due to pre-existing illness.  You will be provided a Record of Employment and will be eligible for Employment Insurance Benefits or related benefits under the Covid-19 packages recently announced by the Federal Government.

If you have any questions please contact your Local Union Representative right away.






MARCH 25, 2020

Our number one priority is you, your coworkers and your families’ health and safety.  While ICI Construction has been designated an essential service you must not work in unsafe working conditions.

If any Construction Job Site or shop does not follow the following protocols you should not remain at work:

  1. All job sites and shops that our members report to must have some form of Covid 19 screening and enforcement to ensure that no one is reporting to work that is unfit in any way.  No one who should be self-isolating or quarantined should be allowed on any job site or shop.
  2. Employees reporting to work and leaving the job site must travel in their own vehicle and not carpool.
  3. When working on the job site all work must be performed when members are at least 2 metres (6 feet) apart from each other;
  4. All job sites and shops must have clean running water that is heated for handwashing stations and washrooms; 

Portable toilets and temporary handwashing stations without heated water are not lawful at this time.

  1. All handwashing stations and washrooms must be regularly cleaned and disinfected as required under the Public Health orders imposed on construction job sites and industrial facilities;
  2. There must be sufficient handwashing stations and washrooms that allow for physical distancing of at least 2 metres (6 feet) while in use;
  3. Lunch and Break rooms must also be regularly sanitized and have enough room so that there is at least 2 metres (6 feet) between employees at all times, including while entering and exiting these rooms;
  4. There can be no sharing of tools unless tools are properly sanitized prior to being exchanged.



March 23, 2020

1.      What if employees refuse to work because they are concerned about contracting COVID-19 in the workplace?

Employers, Employees and Unions all have an obligation to protect the health and safety of employees under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Where employees have a reasonable basis to believe that there is a dangerous condition in the workplace the employee may be able to refuse to attend work or perform certain duties.

In the event of a work refusal, the employer must respond in accordance with Occupational Health and Safety Act. No reprisal for properly exercising a health and safety right may lawfully occur.

2.      Can an employer fire an employee if they contract COVID-19?

No. Employers may not terminate an employee or otherwise discriminate against an employee due to physical disability (which includes certain illnesses) under the Human Rights Code.

The Union will challenge any termination under such an alleged violation.

3.      Can an employer close or suspend their business due to COVID-19 outbreak?

An employer must ensure a safe working environment.  Depending on the situation, an employer may find it necessary to close or suspend business.

4.      Do employers have to buy personal protective equipment for employees?

Employers have a duty to provide a safe working environment.  If employees run the risk of becoming infected at work, the employer must provide personal protective equipment as deemed necessary.

5.      Can an employer take an employee’s temperature to determine whether they might be infected? What about other medical testing?

Human rights legislation places restrictions on an employer’s ability to require medical examinations or health testing. Generally, unless the examination or testing is reasonably required to assess the employee’s ability to work (e.g. a bona fide occupational requirement), compulsory testing of all employees through temperature checks would not be appropriate.

However, as the prevalence of COVID-19 continues to escalate, it may become reasonable for employers to take more aggressive health testing measures in the workplace, including temperature checks. We will continue to review recommendations from the Public Health Agency of Canada and provincial health authorities.

6.      What if someone I work with has tested positive for COVID-19 – what does the employer do?

The employee will not be permitted to return to the workplace until they are free of the COVID-19 virus. The current advice from health authorities is that all employees who worked closely with the infected employee should also be removed from the workplace for at least a 14-day period to ensure the infection does not spread in the workplace.

7.      There is an unconfirmed case of COVID-19. What to do?

As with a confirmed case, the employee should be removed from the workplace.

The Public Health Agency of Canada encourages any person who has even mild symptoms to stay home and call the public health authority in the province or territory they are in to inform them. They will provide advice on what the employee should do.

Other employees who may have been exposed should be informed and removed from the workplace for at least a 14 day period or until the diagnosis of COVID-19 is ruled out by health authorities.


8.      If an employee contracts COVID-19 at work – are they covered by workers’ compensation?

Possibly, but the assessment of whether the employee is entitled to compensation would be assessed on a case-by-case basis. Workers compensation boards will have to assess whether COVID-19 is an occupational disease: e.g. it was caused by and arose out and in the course of employment.

Employment Insurance

9.      EI Sickness Benefits

Employment Insurance (EI) sickness benefits provide up to 15 weeks of income replacement and is available to eligible claimants who are unable to work because of illness, injury or quarantine, to allow them time to restore their health and return to work. Canadians quarantined can apply for EI sickness benefits.

Presently, the one-week waiting period for EI sickness benefits has been waived for some claimants.






MARCH 18, 2020

Your Union leadership is aware of the many questions and concerns you, your coworkers and your family have.We are working in partnership with your Employers to address your rights and responsibilities as prudently as possible.  It is a difficult and quickly changing situation.

Our number one priority is you, your coworkers and your families’ health and safety. If you have experienced any of the following:

  1. Been in contact with someone diagnosed with COVID 19; or 
  2. You have travelled to or been in contact with someone who has, travelled outside of Canada in the last 14 days or 
  3. You exhibit symptoms (mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of fever or cough or shortness of breath)



 If you are unable for any of the above reasons to attend work your employer is required to issue you a Record of Employment (ROE) and in most cases will be eligible for employment insurance benefits.  Your ROE should state that you are suffering from an illness and or laid off due to Covid 19.  If your ROE states that you were laid off due to shortage of work please contact your local union representative right away to discuss.

 For Updates on Covid 19 from the Canadian Government please seek the following links

The Government of Canada’s Public Health Agency

Infection Prevention and Control Canada

Ontario Sheet Metal Workers’ & Roofers’ Conference


As the President of the Ontario Sheet Metal Workers and Roofers Conference, I would like to take this opportunity to thank-you for visiting our website.

Through the strength and vitality of our members throughout the province of Ontario we are able to be actively involved within our communities.

By partnering together with our Building Trades brothers and sisters, our Labour friendly Politicians, and at times our signatory contractors, our Political involvement is an activity that we continue to adhere to, a fundamental part of our organization.

Our members are workers that have been trained to the highest of quality with diverse skill sets possessing the ability to perform the most demanding projects, on time, and on budget.

We have many achievements and have worked diligently to advance our trades throughout the years. Our endurance and hope to advance the “middle class” is our most important message.

We encourage anyone that would like to be a part of our organization to contact us.

“Trade-unions have done more for humanity than any other organization of men that ever existed. They have done more for decency, for honesty, for the betterment of the race, for the developing of character in man than any other association of men” – Clarence S. Darrow – November 1909

Mike Mahon, President, OSMWRC