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COVID-19: Health and safety protocols for construction sites

All industries are facing an ongoing and fluid landscape amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Workplaces are temporarily shutting down, or have moved towards unprecedented work-at-home procedures. However, many construction jobsites remain open throughout Canada and B.C. B.C.’s Health Officer has clarified that the ban on gatherings of more than 50 people does not apply construction jobsites. Nonetheless, while the construction industry continues to operate, doing so is not without change, risk and the need to adapt.

 

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Long-term construction employees may be entitled to reasonable notice of termination

Generally, construction employees are not entitled to termination or severance pay under the Employment Standards Act (the “Act”). Section 1 of Ontario Regulation 288/01 of the Act explicitly exempts them from such minimum employment standards. However, a long-term construction employee may still be entitled to common law reasonable notice, which is much more lucrative than what the Act provides for anyway. Nevertheless, how much notice a construction employee is entitled to under the common law remains an unsettled test in Ontario.

 

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Is 15 years old too young to work construction?

A very sad story was recently published in the Globe and Mail about a 15-year-old boy who was working at a gravel-crushing site in Alberta, when he became entangled in a conveyor belt and was killed. It leaves one wondering whether the age of 15 is an appropriate age for young persons to be working in the construction industry.

 

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