Crisis Management Bulletin: Construction Contracts and COVID-19

  • April 06, 2020
  • Andrew J. Heal, J.D., LL.M., Heal & Co. LLP


COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020, and shortly thereafter, an emergency nationally in Canada, and an emergency regionally in Ontario.

The impact of this pernicious pandemic has affected us in our homes and in our businesses, and across many industries, including the construction industry. This is a time for leadership and collaboration, to mitigate social and economic impacts, as we fight off the effects of this pandemic.

In order to limit the contagion, different governments have taken up action, to and including locking down cities and borders, restricting non-essential travel, imposing quarantines, and effecting various business closures, in accordance with the best medical advice available. For the construction industry, this global interruption in business operation will inevitably mean a shortage of materials and labour and consequent delay in the completion of contracts already underway or in the planning stages. Already we are seeing slowdown notices. 

This short legal bulletin raises some of the key legal considerations in managing the rapidly evolving impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic in our construction industry. It also urges all of us to take a collective deep breath, and pause, to work together to continue economic activities vital to the health of our nation.