Supplies stacked up outside a new home build.

Restrictions to construction during the pandemic

On April 3, 2020 the Province of Ontario revised the Essential Services list to stop the Spread of COVID-19 and as part of that revision Construction has been limited to specific allowances.

Effective May 11, 2020 the Highlands East Building Department will resume issuing Septic System Permits. All other restrictions remain in effect. Learn more.

Effective May 20, 2020 the Highlands East Building Department will resume issuing Building Permits. Learn more.

Allowed construction types

As of 11:59 p.m. on April 4, 2020 construction sites across Ontario shall be limited to the following parameters:

  1. Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space.
  2. Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.
  3. Critical industrial construction activities required for,
    • the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries,
    • significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced,
    • industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, and/or enhancement of Personal Protective Equipment, medical devices (such as ventilators), and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. Residential construction projects where,
    • a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes
    • an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings, or
    • the project involves renovations to residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020.
  5. Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure ongoing public safety.

Under the provincial mandate, construction cannot be started unless the project falls within the essential list above.

No new permits will be issued

Effective April 5, 2020, the Highlands East Building Department, in conjunction with the other municipalities in Haliburton County, will not be issuing any new building or septic permits.  We know there are many projects in the final stages of design and are ready for submission for application.  We will continue to accept applications for review, but will not issue the permit until the Province lifts the emergency order.  We encourage those wishing to apply for a permit to do so electronically by emailing us your application.

Inspections will continue

Building inspections will continue to be completed on projects that were started prior to April 4, 2020, subject to COVID-19 safe work practices. Please call the Building Department at 705-447-0051 to book these inspections. 

Please note, inspectors will not enter a premises that is occupied.

Repairs to failures and unsafe conditions allowed

The above noted conditions do not exempt an individual from rectifying an unsafe condition (including septic systems, or structural failure) during this time. Should we place an order on a property, it is the responsibility of the property owner to remedy the situation within the timelines and requirements of the Municipality of Highlands East. It will be at our discretion to determine if a permit is available for the work to be carried out during this time.

Septic system repairs and replacements

Septic systems that have failed or require repair in accordance with an Order to Remedy will receive a permit for replacement.

Effective May 11, 2020 the Highlands East Building Department will resume issuing Septic System Permits. All other restrictions remain in effect.

Learn more

Building Department staff are not responsible for confirming what workplaces are essential and will be communicating only what inspections we are able to complete.  Information about Essential Workplaces is available by calling the Stop the Spread Business Information Line at 1-888-444-3659 or by visiting the website.

As with everything, these directions are subject to change based on further direction from the Province of Ontario, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing and/or the OBOA.

Should you have any questions please contact us for more information.

Laurie Devolin
Cheif Building Inspector, Highlands East
705-447-0051 ext. 440