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On April 3, 2020, Premier Ford, following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, announced that the government was reducing the number of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close. This measure was deemed necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the people of Ontario while ensuring that necessary goods and services remain available.

As of midnight on April 4, 2020, all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order were ordered closed for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses. All supply chains necessary for the production of vital food and healthcare supplies are being protected and remain intact.

The updated essential businesses list can be found HERE.

Following this announcement, HRAI sought clarification from the Ontario Government to ensure that HVACR services are included within the definition of “maintenance.”

HVACR companies can respond to emergency ‘no heat’ calls and companies which provide service and maintenance to critical infrastructure (hospitals, Long Term Care homes, healthcare facilities, grocery stores, food processing, and manufacturing) are deemed essential at this time.   At all times, technicians must follow all the public health protocols.

Members who have questions are encouraged to call the Stop the Spread Hotline at 1-888-444-3659.

For those companies and technicians responding to emergency calls and/or providing ongoing service and maintenance to critical infrastructure, the essential service's guidelines indicate that compliance is a requirement as per the following stipulation: 


  1. 1.    The person responsible for a place of business that continues to operate shall ensure that the business operates in accordance with all applicable laws, including the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the regulations made under it.
  2. 2.    The person responsible for a place of business that continues to operate shall operate the business in compliance with the advice, recommendations, and instructions of public health officials, including any advice, recommendations or instructions on physical distancing, cleaning or disinfecting.

Please call or email HRAI’s staff with your questions and concerns.

Dorothy McCabe, Government Relations Specialist, Ontario at dmccabe@hrai.ca or by phone at 1-800-267-2231 ext 274.