Mark Goldberg

Did we mention telecommunications is essential?

As various jurisdictions increase restrictions on movement in an attempt to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Canada’s two largest provinces, Ontario and Quebec announced the mandatory closure of non-essential workplaces effective tonight (March 24) at midnight.

So, what is an essential workplace? The Government of Ontario released a list last night. Many of the locations were expected, such as grocery stores and pharmacies. Some were greeted with a measure of relief, such as liquor, wine and beer stores. For those who can’t cook, or those who just a need a little more variety, they will be pleased to see that “Restaurants and other food facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for delivery or takeaway, together with food delivery services” made the list of essential workplaces.

Did I mention telecommunications? It is captured in a section with its own heading:

Telecommunications and IT Infrastructure/Service Providers
14. 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; 
15. Businesses providing telecommunications services (phone, internet, radio, cell phones etc) as well as support facilities such as call centres necessary for their operation and delivery;

The province then lists a number of other areas: Transportation, Manufacturing and Production, Agriculture and food production, Construction, Financial activities, Resources, Environmental Services, Utilities and Community Services, which includes waste collection, water, power, natural gas, roads, police, fire.

Oh, did we include telecommunications on the list? I’m glad you asked. Despite already being listed near the top of the list, telecommunications shows up again, alongside newspaper publishers and radio and television broadcasters:

Communications Industries
43. Newspaper publishers;
44. Radio & Television Broadcasting;
45. Telecommunications providers;

Anyone doubting whether telecommunications is essential? Just ask the Premier of Ontario. You won’t get an argument from me.

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