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Telecommunications and IT deemed Essential Services amid COVID-19


March 24, 2020  


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Ontario and Quebec have both released a list of Essential Services that are allowed to continue to operate as usual amid the spread of COVID-19. At the same time, the two provinces are ordering at-risk workplaces to shut down, while encouraging businesses to continue operations through work-from-home and innovative business models.

Essential Services include grocery stores and pharmacies, telecommunications and IT infrastructure service providers, and businesses that support power generation, natural gas distribution and clean drinking water. At the same time, essential businesses are being reminded to put protocols in place for physical distancing and regular hand-washing, in an effort to safeguard their front-line employees.

In Ontario, businesses engaged in providing or supporting Information Technology (IT) including online services, software products and related services, as well as the technical facilities such as data centres and other network facilities necessary for their operation and delivery are deemed essential. In addition, businesses providing telecommunications services, such as phone, internet, radio, cell phones and more as well as support facilities such as call centres have been listed as essential services. Meanwhile, Quebec has listed telecommunications (both network and equipment) and cable operators as essential.

At-risk workplaces will be ordered to close by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 24, and where possible, take the necessary measures so staff can work from home allowing operations to continue.

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For a full list of essential workplaces in Ontario, click here; in Quebec, click here.