City of Ottawa pauses some construction projects for COVID-19 but continues to accept and process building permit applications

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

The City of Ottawa has provided detailed instructions to the local construction industry about which municipal projects can continue and which must be stopped under the enhanced emergency regulations.

Steve Willis, general manager of Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development, wrote last Thursday that all constructions projects are being reviewed to determine if they meet the update Ontario Regulation 119/20.

Construction on critical infrastructure projects including roads, bridges, sewer, water, transit and transportation falls within the exemption and the city will not be suspending work on these types of projects.  As well, construction can continue for transit, transportation, police, paramedic, and water services projects.

However, work will be paused on projects such as arenas, community centres, recreation buildings, parking lots at these buildings, library and cultural facilities such as museums and art galleries.

“Any facility that is closed to the public, is generally deemed non-essential,” Willis said.

As well,“all park projects, except developer-build parks within a plan of subdivision that has a Commence work order,” have also been paused.

“I am also advised that each (project manager) will be providing contractors with a letter confirming the status of each project,” Kathryn Sutherland, executive director of the National Capital Heavy Construction Association (NCHCA), wrote to members last Thursday. “We can expect to receive these letters shortly.”

She said members will also receive confirmation that hours of work are extended to 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m., seven days per week, in accordance with another provincial emergency measures order.

“The City of Ottawa will continue to accept, and process applications related to building permits, development and heritage applications, and right-of-way permits,” Willis wrote. “The timelines associated with these applications and permits go beyond the April 13, 2020, renewal deadline for the Declaration of Emergency and emergency orders. It will be up to the permit holder or applicants to determine if the construction activities fall within the list of essential workplaces with the introduction of Ontario Regulation 119/20: Order under Subsection 7.0.2(4) – Closure of Places of Non-Essential Businesses.”

“Any onsite work will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis as each project site is unique. As always, our focus remains the safety of the public, our staff and industry partners, Willis said in his memo.

In other provisions Willis outlined the processes for planning and inspections.

Planning Services and Heritage Planning

Pre-consultation has moved to a digital or telephone meeting. Planning Services and Heritage Planning are still accepting and processing applications, including providing the necessary reports to Council for approval. The preferred method of submission is electronic, but applications can still be couriered to the office if needed, but you must inform you File Lead. Some processing times may shift, and the File Lead would be able to speak to this once the file is received.

Development, Capital, Water, and Right of Way inspections

Inspections will continue for projects that are still deemed an essential workplace, as defined by the Ontario Regulation 119/20. As always, the focus remains the safety of the public, our staff and industry partners, and will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Right of Way permit services

The ROW Permit Office has moved to a fully digital process. Applications for Road Cut, Temporary Road Closure, Over Dimensional Vehicle, Patio, Café Seating and Private Approach Permits are being accepted by email. Information on how to submit applications electronically is available on All permits are being issued by email and payment taken over the phone. For Temporary Construction Encroachment Permits please continue to contact the Traffic Management Inspector for the area. In all instances it is up to the applicant to determine if their work is deemed essential with the introduction of Ontario Regulation 119/20.

Building Code Services

Building permit applications continue to be received and processed despite the public closure of all Client Service Centres. In lieu of in-person submissions, building permit and other applications are being accepted by courier. Smaller construction applications can be submitted on-line via Applications deemed in compliance with the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act may be issued. Inspections are continuing for those projects under the authority of a Building Permit provided they are deemed an essential workplace. “Our focus remains the safety of the public, our staff and industry partners,” Willis wrote.


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