Provincial Regulation Overriding Toronto’s Construction Noise By-Law

On April 7th, the Ontario Government brought in Ontario regulation 130/20, which allows for construction between the hours of 6AM - 10PM, 7 days per week. The new provincial rule also contains a stipulation stating: "The City does not have power to prohibit and regulate with respect to noise made in connection with any other construction activity in the City between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10 p.m." This provision is not set to expire until October, 2021.

These changes have had a negative impact on many of our downtown communities, especially now that many of us are spending more time at home than ever. In response, Councillor Wong-Tam and I will be introducing a motion at the June 29th City Council meeting, formally requesting the Province to rescind recently passed regulations that grant extensions for residential construction. You can view the motion here: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.MM22.39

The new regulations brought in by the Province effectively override the existing City of Toronto noise by-law, which normally limits construction to 7AM - 7PM Monday to Friday, and 9AM - 7PM on Saturday, and does not allow for construction on Sunday. Our noise by-law was arrived at through extensive consultation with both neighbourhoods and industry, and was debated at City Council over the span of multiple years, with the intention of protecting the quality of life for residents while still allowing for construction to happen on a manageable timeline.

This regulation overrides our locally and democratically developed by-law, and the provincial government has never provided a public health rationale for its implementation. It has been suggested by the spokesperson for the ministry of Municipal Affairs that the regulation was so construction sites could “allow for smaller work crews, more distance between workers, staggered break times, etc.”. 

However, the lived experience of downtown residents has been some construction sites beginning at 6 a.m and ending early in the afternoon, with others opting to start later in the day and continue till 10 p.m. In our downtown neighbourhoods with multiple construction sites on a single block, this can mean non-stop construction from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days per week, with no reprieve.  Residents have informed my office that there is no observable change with regard to physical distancing on many construction sites.

I invite you to write in support of the motion at Toronto City Council. If this motion is approved, the City Manager will officially convey the request to the provincial government on behalf of the City of Toronto. You can do so by viewing the motion and clicking ‘submit comments’ at the top of the page: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2020.MM22.39

In addition, it is extremely important that provincial officials hear directly about your experiences and concerns. Please write to Premier Doug Ford (premier@ontario.ca), the Minister of Labour (Minister.MLTSD@ontario.ca), and the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing (minister.mah@ontario.ca) to let them know how these changes have negatively affected our downtown communities, and that you support the request to rescind the Provincial regulation overriding Toronto’s construction noise by-law.