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HRAI Updates

Update from HRAI re: COVID-19  |  April 3, 2020

April 3, 2020

Following the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, the Ontario government is reducing the list of businesses classified as essential and ordering more workplaces to close. This measure is deemed necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health of the people of Ontario, while ensuring that necessary goods and services remain available.

The government is ordering all businesses not covered by the updated Emergency Order to close effective as of Saturday, April 4, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. This closure will be in effect for 14 days, with the possibility of an extension as the situation evolves. Teleworking, online commerce and other innovative ways of working remotely are permitted at all times and are strongly encouraged for all businesses. All supply chains necessary for the production of vital food and healthcare supplies are being protected and remain intact.

The updated essential businesses list can be found HERE.

For the benefit of HRAI members, included in the shortened list of essential businesses are the following key business categories:

Maintenance -- maintenance, repair and property management services strictly necessary to manage and maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial, industrial and residential properties and buildings.

Construction (now limited – see new definitions at link) and

Supply Chains -- businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services within Ontario, or that supply businesses or services that have been declared essential in a jurisdiction outside of Ontario, with the support, products, supplies, systems, or services, including processing, packaging, warehousing, distribution, delivery, and maintenance necessary to operate.

HRAI will be seeking clarifications from the Ontario Government to ensure that HVACR services are included within the definition of “maintenance.”

The media release can be found HERE. 

More information is available from the provincial government at Stop the Spread hotline at 1-888-444-3659, available from 8:30 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. 

As this situation continues to evolve, HRAI Canada has worked to support members by providing up-to-date information and resources, as it becomes available.

President's Message on COVID-19

Impact of COVID19 on HRAI Operations
It’s amazing how fast the world moves in times of crisis. Just 10 days ago, we were confident that our popular biennial show, CMPX, would run as expected, today it’s hard to imagine attending an event of any size.

Last week HRAI Staff were receiving calls and emails about CMPX. This week, it’s all about training, with participants who are looking for direction or updates on course and event postponements.

Here is the latest news on HRAI operations:

HRAI Course Postponement/Virtual Classroom Opportunities:

Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the mindfulness of social distancing, HRAI has made a decision to suspend the “Guaranteed-to-Run” campaign for the remainder of the fiscal year. We are running courses on a case by case scenario. All HRAI courses running in Canada until April 17th, 2020 will be cancelled. HRAI will re-evaluate the delivery of in-person courses on April 19, 2020. In February, we ran a virtual classroom that received positive accolades. Watch for details about other HRAI training held in virtual classrooms. For those who have registered for training between now and June 2020, please watch your emails for updates. Anyone who is registered and feels the need to postpone to our next schedule may do so. Contact HRAI at 1-800-267-2231 ext. 241 for more details.


HRAI has prepared information for members to help them to develop responsible approaches to dealing with their employees and customers. We encourage you to check it out.

In closing, I would like to add that I appreciate you and what you are going through in these difficult times. I am looking forward to the time in the near future where we can work together to improve your business.

Thank you for your business and your loyalty.

If HRAI can help you in any way over these coming weeks, reach out to us.

Best wishes and be safe.

Sandy MacLeod, HRAI President and CEO  or 905-602-4700 x 237

  • HRAI is also equipped to run meetings through our video conferencing set-up, as well as through our webinar capabilities. If you’d like to find out more about this call us at 800-267-2231 x 254. We are happy to share, with our members, our experiences with this technology.

HRAI staff and working environment:

Effective, Monday, March 23, 2020, the office will be closed, however, we will function remotely. Here is a link to our company directory. You can contact us anytime.

HRAI Government Relations:

HRAI is keeping abreast of federal and provincial plans, addressing business and citizen concerns about COVID-19, and will make relevant information available to members as it becomes available. We are advocating that governments understand that the products and services of the HVACR industry – heating and cooling for occupant comfort and safety, refrigeration processes for food preservation and medical care, etc. -- are essential services for Canadians, and give appropriate consideration as such in policies and programs that are rolled out to address the pandemic. HRAI is also pressing for appropriate financial supports for business owners, self-employed contractors and employees who may be especially vulnerable during the economic downturn resulting from restrictions on activity.

Postponement of the 2020 CMPX event:

A notice went out on Thursday, March 12th, 2020 that the CMPX show scheduled for March 25-27 has been postponed. We are working through the various possibilities and contractual obligations and will communicate details to the various stakeholders as they become available. We request your patience and support as we work through these issues. 
Resources for Contractors and Members

HRAI has developed a COVID-19 customer service letter for Member Contractors to share with their customers. Feel free to modify this communication to fit your company messaging.


Essential Activities & Business Support Tracking by Province

Click the button below to view the up-to-date interactive map

**Interactive map is best viewed using Google Chrome


HRAI Update Webinars

Upcoming Webinars

Impacts of COVID-19 on Human Resources of Small & Medium size Businesses

Wednesday, April 8th, 2020 at 2:30 pm EST

HRAI will be hosting a seminar on the impact of COVID-19 on HR (human resources) in small and medium businesses.

Join Mike Salveta and Kelsey Livesey of Pivotal Solutions to answer some of your burning questions about dealing with HR issues today.

Register Now

Past Webinars

March 30, 2020  |  UPDATE: COVID-19 and the impact on Members and the HVACR Industry

HRAI participated in a webinar hosted by the Ontario Premier’s office with key personnel on the panel.  They provided further direction following the Premier's orders on the mandatory closure of non-essential workplaces in Ontario. They offered responses to the questions from many invited industry representatives – HRAI was one of the invited guests. 

A summary of these questions and answers will be the focus of this webinar.  We will also summarize answers to the questions HRAI has been receiving on a daily basis from our members.


March 23, 2020  |  COVID-19: Impact on HRAI Members, the HVACR Sector and HRAI Canada

In this webinar, you’ll hear how:  

HRAI is supporting its members with the evolving COVID-19 situation The federal and provincial/territorial governments have been responding to the potential impact for HRAI members



Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 and the HVACR Sector

Essential Services

Essential services and mandated business closures vary by province and territory and several have announced partial or full closures. Businesses that can operate remotely and online are encouraged to continue to do so. For detailed information on essential services by province, click the button below.


Financial Stimulus
What financial support is available from the Federal Government for businesses and workers?
As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, so too has the response from the federal government. Information regarding the new funding programs and financial supports continues to change and to be updated. Please continue to check back for updated information. HRAI staff are also available to provide assistance.
Workers: April 6, the federal government launched an application portal to enable Canadians facing unemployment due to the COVID-19 crisis to apply for emergency income support benefits. Through this portal, workers have access to either Employment Insurance or the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit.
Apply online through your CRA My Account or over the phone at 1-800-959-2019.
Businesses: We strongly encourage members to go the federal government’s website, or to call 1-800-622-6232 to learn more about the support options available regarding:
  • Layoffs and Re-hiring Employees:
    • Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy,
    • Work Share program
  • Reduced and Deferred Payment options: tax filings, deferrals and payment arrangements.
    • Access to Credit
    • Support Financial Stability
    • Support for Self-Employed Individuals
    • Support for Industries
Small Business Owners: For a fulsome list of questions and answers regarding various situations, please visit the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ COVID-19 Small Business Help Centre.
Federal Updates

Where can I find up-to-date information from the federal government regarding COVID-19? 

HRAI advises members to continue to check the federal government’s website for up-to-date information about:

  1. Financial and Economic Support for businesses and individuals
  2. Current COVID-19 situation
  3. Travel
  4. Safety and security and
  5. Additional information
Provincial/Territorial Updates

Where can I find up-to-date information from provincial and territorial governments’ regarding COVID-19?

As the COVID-19 crisis evolves, so too has the response from the federal government. Information regarding the new funding programs and financial supports continues to change and to be updated.

Economic relief packages and supports vary across the country. HRAI has created a document that we continue to update which summarizes the information available in different provinces and territories.


How HRAI Supports its Members

How is HRAI Canada supporting members?

From the outset of this pandemic, HRAI took steps to ensure that governments across Canada understood the importance of ensuring that the HVACR sector was deemed at an essential service.


We are pleased governments responded favourably to our requests although recognize that, as the spread of this virus continues, additional restrictions and mandatory closures are possible.

In addition to these initial advocacy actions, we have hosted webinars to inform members about evolving federal and provincial funding supports and launched a COVID-19 resource section online.

Thinking beyond this crisis, HRAI continues to dialogue with senior officials at the federal government and with provincial governments across Canada to ensure that the HVACR sector is well understood and positioned to assist with the economic recovery that will come.

Servicing Clients' Homes and Businesses
Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and the HVACR sector – what should I know?
Please note: Your local Public Health Unit, the provincial/territorial and federal Chief Medical Officers of Health are your best sources of information regarding appropriate COVID-19 protocols including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Information regarding PPE continues to evolve.  
Governments across Canada are providing funds to help buy, procure or to make more PPE.  Some businesses have quickly re-tooled and are manufacturing PPE as well as ventilators. An example from the HVACR sector is Napoleon which has temporarily switched production from barbeques to face masks.
HRAI Canada contacted government officials to inquire regarding the availability of PPE for technicians who are continuing to operate. Primarily, any available PPE supplies are being procured for the use of healthcare staff and frontline emergency responders.
Although information about PPEs continues to evolve, generally, the information we have been provided is:
  • N95 masks are only needed and only useful when working within a 2-metre proximity of someone suspected of having COVID 19 or who has COVID 19,
  • Within a hospital setting, unless staff are within th2 e metre proximity as noted above, surgical masks are used,
  • The CMOH advises that in general people should NOT use masks if they are not typically used during your regular course of business.
  • Be aware that wearing masks can provide a false sense of security because:
    • Having a mask on your face makes you touch your face more frequently to adjust the mask.
    • Masks don’t cover your eyes and COVID-19 can be transmitted by touching your eyes.

Other Resources - Government of Canada, Associations & Building Trades

Government of Canada Resources for travellers arriving in Canada

The Government of Canada has put in place emergency measures that require mandatory 14-day self-isolation for all persons entering Canada, even if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms. Some provinces and territories may have specific recommendations for certain groups, such as health care workers. These efforts will help contain the outbreak and limit the spread of COVID-19 in Canada.

Upon return to Canada, you will be asked if you have a cough, fever or difficulty breathing. If you have any of these symptoms, you must:

  • go immediately to your place of isolation using private transportation only, such as your personal vehicle
  • isolate in a place where you will not be in contact with vulnerable people, such as older adults and individuals with underlying medical conditions

If you have symptoms but do not have a place to isolate, you will be required to isolate for 14 days in a facility designated by the Chief Public Health Officer.

If you do not have symptoms, you must self-isolate for 14 days and monitor your health for cough, fever or difficulty breathing. If you develop these symptoms within 14 days:

  • continue to isolate yourself from others
  • immediately call a health care professional or public health authority and:
    • describe your symptoms and travel history
    • follow their instructions carefully
  • do not have visitors, especially older adults, or those with medical conditions who are at a higher risk of developing serious illness
  • wash your hands often with soap and warm water for 20 seconds, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available
  • cover your mouth and nose with your arm when coughing or sneezing

The continued global movement of goods and people and the ongoing delivery of essential services will be important for Canada's response to COVID-19.

Consequently, an exemption to the order to self-isolate for 14 days should be provided to workers who are essential to the movement of goods and people. For example, this exemption would apply to:

  • healthy workers in the trade and transportation sector who are important for the movement of goods and people across the border, such as truck drivers and crew on any plane, train or marine vessel crossing the border
  • healthy people who have to cross the border to go to work, including health care providers and critical infrastructure workers

Workers in these sectors should:

  • practise social distancing (maintain a distance of 2 metres from others)
  • closely self-monitor
  • self-isolate and contact their local public health authority should they exhibit any symptoms

It is recommended that employers in these sectors conduct active daily monitoring of their staff for COVID-19 symptoms (checking for cough, fever or shortness of breath).

Be aware that local public health authorities at the workers' point of destination in Canada may have specific requirements. For example, for those working in the health care sector and others who are likely to come into close contact with high-risk groups for COVID-19.

Read more here

Government of Canada Resources for Canadian Businesses

The Government of Canada is committed to providing you with the information and support you need to make informed decisions as your business navigates through these challenges.


Resources from Employment and Social Development Canada

If you are experiencing symptoms such as cough, fever, difficulty breathing or you are in self-isolation or quarantine, do not visit or enter any Service Canada office. As an alternative, you may access our services online or by calling 1-800-O-Canada.


Resources from ASHRAE

ASHRAE has developed proactive guidance to help address coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) concerns with respect to the operation and maintenance of heating, ventilating and air-conditioning systems. This webpage provides easily accessible resources from ASHRAE to building industry professionals.


Resources from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business

An online resource developed by CFIB for small businesses to help keep your employees safe.


Resources from the BC Building Trades

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to some of the most common general work and employment questions that have been asked in our sector about COVID-19.