TORONTO — The Ontario government has provided details regarding what is considered essential businesses after ordering the closure of non-essential workplaces beginning March 24 at 11:59 p.m.
Manufacturing, production and businesses that supply other essential businesses or services including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate are among the essentials.
The government list details what it means by manufacturing: businesses that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including businesses that manufacture inputs to other manufacturers (such as primary metal/steel, blow moulding, component manufacturers, chemicals, etc. that feed the end-product manufacturing).
Food production is also designated, defined as businesses that farm, harvest, process, manufacture, produce or distribute food, including beverages, crops, animal products and by-products, aquaculture, hunting and fishing; and businesses that support the food supply chain.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford ordered the closure of all non-essential businesses in the province by March 24 at 11:59 for at least two weeks to help deal with the spread of COVID-19.
Ontario reported 78 new COVID-19 cases March 23, bringing the provincial total to 503, the largest increase in a day so far. The total includes six deaths and eight cases that have fully resolved.
Quebec has also closed down non-essential businesses but manufacturers of food and medical supplies.
Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) described the decision to close non-essential businesses necessary from a public health standpoint, but CME president and CEO Dennis Darby said in a statement that “it must be balanced by immediate support for industry. More must be done and soon.”
He called for direct financial grants, partial wage subsidies, deferrals of all government taxes and fees are critical for the continuity and survival of businesses and their employees, regardless of size.
“Manufacturing is clearly an essential business,” he said, “but we cannot continue our operations without key inputs. It’s an ecosystem with complex supply chains. General goods, grocery, pharmacy and medical device manufacturers and distributors are concerned they will not be able to access the inputs and materials essential to support Canadians at home, and those on the front lines who need products for themselves and their organizations to fight COVID-19 effectively.”
— With files from Canadian Press
This story was first reported in PLANT magazine.