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Essential services and residential construction: update on the situation

Services essentiels et construction résidentielle : le point sur la situation

Montreal, April 16, 2020 - The list of essential services will be expanded on April 20th to include certain residential constructions, and landscaping. Several restrictions apply to these activities.


First of all, it is essential that all essential services that are provided comply with the health regulations in force. Public health is the first priority. No intervention, even urgent, should disregard government instructions to prevent the spread of COVID-19.


Residential construction and renovation


For residential construction, it is specified that: "work will be authorized to complete the deliveries of residential units scheduled for no later than July 31, 2020. This includes construction and renovation works, including those related to surveying and building inspection. At the same time, this reopens the supply chain for this sector of the construction industry, made up of numerous Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)” (we underline).


To be authorized, renovation or residential construction work must be used specifically to house people. It is not a question of amenity work or aesthetic modifications but rather the delivery of residential units. The main objective is to tackle the housing crisis and to make sure that no one is homeless.


For residential renovation work to take place in co-ownerships, it is necessary that this work be used to house people and that the initial expected delivery date is no later than July 31, 2020. If a unit had been ravaged by fire or by another disaster, making it uninhabitable, the renovation work will be considered essential. However, if the nature of the work is painting the walls before moving in, or renovating an existing and functional kitchen, this work does not meet the criteria defined by the government. They should therefore be postponed until the government authorizes them again.


It is important that administrators and managers communicate effectively with these criteria to guarantee the safety of all occupants of the condominium.


Landscaping and swimming pools


Regarding landscaping, it is specified that the services include "nurseries, garden centers and swimming pool shops." Pool maintenance services were already included in essential services. This does not mean that the use of swimming pools is considered an essential service and such equipment should remain closed for the time being.