Co-Author by Max Skrow

On March 24, 2020, the Ontario provincial government passed Regulation 82/20 under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. This regulation ordered the closure of all "non-essential" businesses beginning at 11:59pm on March 24, 2020.

The regulation excludes from its scope two types of businesses: those deemed "essential", and non-essential businesses to which temporary access is permitted for specific purposes. Essential businesses are described in Schedule "2" of the regulation, and include business in the following activities:

  • supply chain
  • retail and wholesale of food
  • food services and accommodations
  • institutional, residential, commercial and industrial maintenance
  • telecommunications and IT infrastructure service providers
  • transportation
  • manufacturing and production
  • agriculture and food production
  • construction
  • financial activities
  • resources
  • environmental services
  • utilities and community services
  • communications
  • research
  • health care and social services
  • justice
  • business regulators and inspectors
  • other specific business activities.

Pursuant to subsection 1(2) of the regulation, temporary access is permitted in respect of non-essential businesses for specific purposes:

  • to perform work at the business in order to comply with any applicable law
  • to allow for inspection, maintenance or repair
  • to allow for the provision of security services
  • to deal with critical matters related to the closure of the business
  • to access materials needed for the business to operate remotely.

Further, the regulation does not prevent any non-essential business from operating remotely or providing services online or by telephone.

Pursuant to section 7.0.11 of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, a violation of Regulation 82/80 can result in significant penalties:

(a) in the case of an individual, subject to clause (b), to a fine of not more than $100,000 and for a term of imprisonment of not more than one year;

(b) in the case of an individual who is a director or officer of a corporation, to a fine of not more than $500,000 and for a term of imprisonment of not more than one year; and

(c) in the case of a corporation, to a fine of not more than $10,000,000.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.