List of essential services and workplaces in Ontario

TORONTO – The list of all non-essential businesses in Ontario that are forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic has been expanded by the provincial government.

The new list was released days after Premier Doug Ford extended the state of emergency for at least two weeks. Businesses not identified on this list must close their physical locations by 11:59 p.m. on Saturday, April 4.

Here is a list of essential services and workplaces provided by the government:

supply chains

  • Businesses that provide other essential businesses or services in Ontario, or provide businesses or services that have been declared essential in a jurisdiction outside of Ontario, with support, products, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, warehousing, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary for operation.


  • Businesses that primarily sell food, beverages and consumer products needed to maintain households and businesses, including:

  • Supermarkets and groceries

  • convenience stores

  • Discount and big box retailers selling groceries

  • Restaurants (take-out, drive-thru and delivery only).

  • Beer and wine and liquor stores


  • Pharmacies

  • Petrol stations and other fuel suppliers

  • Laundromats and dry cleaners

  • Security services for residences, businesses and other properties

  • Essential vehicle and equipment repair and maintenance services and vehicle and equipment rental services

  • Courier, post, shipping, moving and delivery services

  • Funeral services and related services

  • Staffing services, including the provision of temporary help

  • Veterinary services (urgent care only) and other businesses that provide animal health and welfare, including farms, kennels, stables, animal shelters, zoos, aquariums and research facilities

  • Home child care services for up to six children under the Child Care and Early Years Act 2014 and child care centers for essential workers licensed to operate under the Regulations 51/20 (Order Under Subsection 7.0.2(4) of the Act – Closing of Establishments) made under the Act

  • Hotels, motels, other shared rental accommodations, including student residences, excluding seasonal campgrounds and swimming pools, fitness centers, meeting rooms, and other recreational facilities that may be part of the operations of these businesses

  • Check cashing service

  • Services to the public limited to alternative modes of sale

  • Stores that sell any of the following items and provide them to the customer only through an alternate method of sale, such as curbside pickup or delivery, except in exceptional circumstances: hardware products, parts and supplies vehicles, pet and animal supplies, office supplies and computer products including computer repair, security supplies.

Financial services

  • Companies that provide the following financial services: capital markets and related securities trading and advisory services, banking/credit union activities including credit intermediation, insurance, land registration services. Estate agent services, pension and benefit payment services, financial services including payroll and payment processing and accounting and tax services.

Telecommunications and IT infrastructure/service providers

  • Information technology (IT) services, including online services, software products and facilities necessary for their operation and delivery

  • Telecommunications providers and services (telephone, internet, radio, cell phones, etc.) and facilities necessary for their operation and delivery

  • Newspapers, radio and television broadcasting.


  • 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

  • Transportation Services

  • Businesses and facilities that provide transport services, including transport services provided by air, water, road and rail, including taxis and other private transport providers, and support services for transport services, including logistics support, distribution services, warehousing and storage, truck stops and towing operators, services that support the operations and safety of transport systems, including maintenance and repairs, and marinas , but only to the extent that the marina is necessary to enable people to access their main place of residence

  • Companies that provide and support online retail, including warehousing, storing and distributing goods ordered online.


  • Companies that extract, manufacture, process and distribute goods, products, equipment and materials, including companies that manufacture inputs for other manufacturers (e.g. primary metal/steel, blow molding, component manufacturers , chemicals, etc. that supply the manufacturer of the end product), whether those other manufacturers are inside or outside of Ontario, as well as companies that support and facilitate the movement of goods within integrated North American and global supply chains.

Agriculture and food production

  • Businesses that produce food and beverages, and agricultural products including plants, including through farming, harvesting, aquaculture, hunting and fishing

  • Companies that process, manufacture or distribute food, beverages, crops, agricultural products, animal products and by-products

  • Companies that support food or agricultural supply chains and the health and safety of food, animals and plants.


  • Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of space that may be repurposed as healthcare space

  • Construction projects and services necessary to ensure safe and reliable operations or to provide new capacity in critical provincial infrastructure, including the transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors, beyond daily maintenance

  • Critical industrial construction activities necessary for the maintenance and operation of petrochemical plants and refineries, large industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already begun, industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited only to necessary work the production, maintenance and/or improvement of personal protective equipment, medical devices (such as ventilators) and other identified products directly related to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Residential construction projects where, foundation permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhouses, structural permit above ground level has been granted for condominiums, mixed-use buildings and the like, or the project involves renovations of residential properties and construction work was started before April 4, 2020

  • Construction and maintenance activities necessary to temporarily close construction sites that have paused or are not active and to ensure continued public safety

Resources and energy

  • Companies that provide and ensure national and global continuity of resource supply, including mining, forestry, aggregates, petroleum, petroleum by-products and chemicals

  • Production, transport, distribution and storage of electricity and distribution, transport and storage of natural gas.

Community services

  • Companies that provide or support the provision of services, including: treatment and disposal of waste water, collection, transport, storage, treatment, disposal or recycling of any type of waste, drinking water , repair and maintenance of critical infrastructure, including roads, dams, bridges, etc. , environmental rehabilitation, management and monitoring, cleanup and spill response, administrative authorities that regulate and inspect businesses, professional and social services that support the legal and judicial system

  • Government services, including but not limited to police and law enforcement, fire and emergency services, paramedics, coroner and pathology services, correctional services and judicial, licenses and permits.

To research

  • Companies and organizations that maintain research facilities and engage in research, including medical research and other research and development activities

  • Health care and social services

  • Agencies and providers that provide home care services or personal support services to seniors and people with disabilities

  • Businesses that sell, rent or repair assistive/mobility/medical devices, aids and/or supplies

  • Regulated healthcare professionals (urgent care only), including dentists, optometrists, chiropractic services, ophthalmologists, physiotherapists and occupational therapists, and podiatrists

  • Organizations that provide health care, including nursing homes, hospitals, clinics, long-term care facilities, independent health facilities, and mental health and addictions counseling services

  • Laboratories and sampling centers

  • Manufacturers, wholesalers, distributors and retailers of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies, including drugs, medical isotopes, vaccines and antivirals, medical devices and medical supplies

  • Manufacturers, distributors and companies that provide logistical support of or for products and/or services that support the delivery of healthcare in all locations

  • Not-for-profit organizations that provide essential personal support services at home or residential services for people with physical disabilities

  • Not-for-profit organizations that support the provision of food, shelter, security or protection and/or social services and other necessities of life to economically disadvantaged and other vulnerable people.

Michelle J. Kelley