The Ontario and Quebec governments have announced the near-complete shutdown of their provinces’ economies in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus. 

Urging all Ontarians to stay home, Premier Doug Ford said the order, issued under the province’s state of emergency powers, would come into effect Tuesday, March 24, 2020 at 11:59 p.m. and last for 14 days, but could be extended if necessary.

“This is not the time for half measures,” Mr. Ford said Monday. “This decision was not made lightly. And the gravity of this order does not escape me.”

The province released a list Monday evening of businesses permitted to stay open, while also mentioning that teleworking and online commerce can also continue.

Quebec Premier François Legault made a similar announcement on Monday, mandating that all non-essential businesses in Quebec were to close Tuesday night until April 13.

Only grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, media and a few other services will be allowed to stay open, Mr. Legault said in Quebec City. Companies that can operate with employees working remotely can also continue, he said.

“Quebec will hit pause for three weeks,” Mr. Legault said. “The faster we can limit contact between people, the faster we can limit the contagion and get back to normal life. I’m asking all Quebeckers to co-operate.”

One of those essential businesses identified in both provinces is hardware stores and its supply chain.

Click here to see the list of businesses permitted to stay open in Ontario during this period.  

In Ontario, the stipulations that are applicable to CHHMA members include:

Supply Chains

  • Businesses that supply other essential businesses or essential services with the support, supplies, systems or services, including processing, packaging, distribution, delivery and maintenance necessary to operate;

Retailing & Wholesaling

  • Hardware stores and stores that provide hardware products necessary to the essential operations of residences and businesses;
  • Safety supply stores (for e.g. work clothes, Personal Protective Equipment);

Institutional, Residential, Commercial and Industrial Maintenance

  • Businesses that provide support and maintenance services, including urgent repair, to maintain the safety, security, sanitation and essential operation of institutional, commercial industrial and residential properties and buildings, including, property management services, plumbers, electricians, custodial/janitorial workers, cleaning services, security services, fire safety and sprinkler systems, building systems maintenance and repair technicians and engineers, mechanics, (e.g. HVAC, escalator and elevator technicians), and other service providers who provide similar services.

In Quebec, store types (priority commercial enterprises) that are allowed to remain open include “Stores not in a mall (offering grocery, pharmacy or hardware products).”

The Quebec government announcement also states that “All businesses that produce inputs or raw materials necessary for priority services and activities must maintain their activities accordingly, bearing in mind the directives from public health authorities.

Click here to see the complete list of essential businesses that can remain open in Quebec.

For Canada’s other provinces and territories, two other provinces (Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island) have declared that all non-essential businesses must close, however, hardware stores have been recognized as essential businesses. The others have declared partial business closures but hardware and housewares retailers and suppliers can remain open with some stipulations.  Click on the links below to see the various provincial & territorial announcements.

Provinces where all non-essential businesses must close:

Newfoundland and Labrador
Prince Edward Island

Provinces and territories with partial business closures:

British Columbia
New Brunswick
Northwest Territories
Nova Scotia

If you have any questions or comments regarding these government measures, please feel free to contact CHHMA President Sam Moncada at or 416-282-0022 ext.125.