Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates

Minto Communities Ottawa COVID-19 Updates

Important Notice from Minto Communities Ottawa

Latest revision - March 26, 2020.  Please check back for ongoing updates.

As a community builder, local employer and as construction professionals, the health and safety of our customers, employees and trade partners is of the utmost importance to us. This is something we prioritize on a daily basis – and will continue to – through this situation. The wellbeing of the community and the lives we impact speaks to the very heart of Minto’s vision – building better places to live, work and play.

Minto Communities is committed to providing open and timely communication relevant to our Ottawa operations regarding COVID-19 throughout the duration of the situation. As part of our civic responsibility, we are committed to following the guidance of Canadian and World public health experts by taking recommended precautions. In light of this, we have amplified health and safety measures for our staff and customers. Please read the latest information provided below:

Important Information

Model Homes: To support social distancing, our model homes are closed to the public until further notice. You can take a virtual tour of each of our model homes anytime on our website here.

Sales Centre: Visits are by appointment only at this time. Please contact us by phone or email.

Design Centre: Our Design Centre showroom is temporarily closed to the public until further notice. If you have an appointment already scheduled, a representative will be in touch with you to reschedule or make alternative arrangements.

Q. Is Minto Communities remaining open during this situation?

Mar 26 | At this point in time, the Ontario provincial government has deemed construction an essential service and as such, Minto Communities is currently open with modified operations that prioritize the health and safety of our employees and trade partners. While some services we offer have been temporarily suspended, we are maintaining construction activities and other critical tasks that support home building.

We know many homeowners are counting on us to complete their homes, especially those scheduled to move in the next few weeks. Since the additional safety measures we have in place will reduce our capacity, we are tightly focused on activities that are safe and can be done remotely.

Foundation and framing activities, which take place outdoors, are easily adapted to social distancing best practices and are continuing. Homes that are near completion have been prioritized so that we can provide the keys to those people anxiously awaiting a place to live and who might otherwise be at risk or without a home at this time. Those who have who have sold their current home, terminated their lease/rental agreement in the past 60 days, or are having to live with others during this pandemic would have a difficult time changing plans on short notice and so we continue to work to complete the homes scheduled to close in the next couple of weeks. 

Q. What measures have you taken to support the health and safety of your staff?

Mar 26 | Our office staff is working remotely from home. In our communities under construction, our staff are continuing to work where possible and where it is safe to do so.

On site, we have enacted measures such as modified working hours and/or shifts in order to reduce the number of people on site at a time in support of social distancing. We have amplified hygiene protocols and provided additional hand wash stations. The closure of our site offices to Trades and the public has also been put in place to minimize gathering.

Most importantly, no one is permitted onto a Minto construction site if they have recently traveled, have close contact with someone showing symptoms or have symptoms of any illness themselves. While these measures will significantly slow construction, we are committed to this approach in order to prioritize our employees’ health and safety.

Q. Government and many companies are trying to help Canadians out financially at this time. Are you changing the deposit structure or deferring deposits at times?

Mar 26 | At this stage of the pandemic, we are not making any changes to the deposit structure. Deposits help us secure the materials that are ordered to build your home. While the pace of construction is expected to be reduced during this situation, construction may still take place.

We will continue to work with and adhere to any government provisions made to help ease Ontarians through this situation, which continues to evolve.

Q. I am interested in buying a new home. How are releases and home purchases being handled right now?

Mar 26 | At this time, you can contact a Sales Centre by phone or email to discuss availability and if you choose, move forward with a sale. Please note that we have postponed many of our lot releases at this time and will continue to monitor the situation. Please contact us directly if you have any questions.

Our Customer Experience Team is providing ongoing updates via email to our valued homeowners as the situation changes, depending on where you are in your home owning journey. In alignment with the social distancing recommendations made by health authorities and in concert with Tarion guidelines issued about the COVID-19 situation, we have postponed, limited or modified several of our processes to help safeguard staff, trades and homeowners. We have altered the following services:

  • Design Centre appointments
  • Meet Your Builder  or Frame Walk appointments
  • Essential Homeowner events
  • Pre-Delivery Orientations
  • Closing day protocols (key pick-up)

At this time, our commitment is to focus on activities that are critical to construction progress and that are required to be able to give the keys over to our homeowners who are anxious to take possession of their new home.

The likelihood that this situation will result in a change or delay to occupancy/closing dates continues to increase. We will continue to provide relevant updates to homeowners as they near each milestone and as the situation changes.

If you are one of our homeowners, please ensure we have your current contact information. If you have not received any updates or have any questions, please contact your community’s Customer Experience Coordinator directly at [email protected].

Your cooperation is requested

Any homeowners who are experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms, have been in contact with someone else who has been ill or have recently returned from travel outside of Canada and are scheduled to come in and meet with us, please inform your contact at Minto Communities so we can work with you to make appropriate arrangements that ensure social distancing measures are adhered to.

Q. Do you anticipate a change to my closing date as a result of the COVID-19 situation?

Mar 26 | The vast majority of our homeowners who are awaiting keys to their new home should anticipate a change to their closing date as a result of the pandemic.

The health measures we have already taken (detailed in the “For Prospects and Customers” section of this page) to ensure our employees and Trade partners feel safe at work will likely result in a reduction to construction progress. In turn, this will mean a likely changes to most occupancy/closing dates.

For the majority of our Ontario purchasers, even ones with occupancy or closing dates beyond 2020, they will or already have received notice of what Tarion refers to as an “Unavoidable Delay” as outlined in their Agreements of Purchase and Sale, specifically their Statement of Critical Dates. Once an Unavoidable Delay period has been initiated by written notice, Minto Communities becomes responsible to inform customers once the disruption caused by the pandemic is over and provide a new occupancy/closing date.

How long the effects of the pandemic continue and the way it impacts the construction industry will determine how far out the impacts will be felt.  We know this is a lot of uncertainty, but are committed to keeping communication open and timely.

Q, Are any closings still happening?

Mar 26 | With many of our customers having already given their notice to their rental landlords, sold their current home or temporarily living with others during this situation, we have continued with closings in these past two weeks. Closings scheduled in the coming two to three weeks (which include homes that were nearly complete prior to the pandemic) may be about to close, though the situation is changing daily.

At this time, Minto Communities’ lawyer’s office remains open and ready to facilitate closings, as does the Land Registry Office. As our pace of construction continues to slow due to the necessary health and safety precautions in place, we anticipate closings will be affected later in the spring, particularly if additional health measures become necessary.

In this unprecedented situation, it is important for homeowners who are scheduled to close in the next few weeks to touch base with their legal representation and financial institutions to confirm that they are remaining open and can provide all the usual documents, funds and paperwork to Minto’s lawyer. Typically, preparation for closing includes meeting with your lawyer or lender to sign paperwork. As per usual, Minto’s lawyer will make available all the documents required to close at least five business days prior to the scheduled closing.

We continue to reach out to homeowners who are approaching their closings on an individual basis and are sending periodic updates directly to anyone who has purchased a Minto Communities home.

Q. What can I expect for my appointment to select exterior colours or any structural options that I select at the Sales Centre?

Mar 26 | Appointments to select exterior colours or structural options (such as how many bedrooms, optional basement windows etc.) mostly apply to single family homes and homeowners who have one of these appointments will either be deferred or selections confirmed by phone and digital means. If deferred, it means the Construction team does not yet need the information, and if selections do have to be made, rest assured we are providing homeowners with the means to see and understand the selections appropriately before finalizing selection.

Q. What can I expect for my upcoming structural or framing appointment with the Design Centre?

Mar 26 | With the Design Centre currently closed for appointments, structural and framing appointments are being accommodated over the phone. The Design team have created a package for you to review prior to your selection appointment demonstrating the options.

Q. What can I expect for my upcoming finishing/colours selections appointment?

Mar 26 | At this juncture, new finishing selection appointments are being deferred. Some homeowners who had started this process will work with the Design Centre to finalize digitally or on the phone

Q. What will happen to my Meet Your Builder or Frame Walk appointments?

Mar 26 | At this time, we are not conducting any Meet your Builder, Frame Walks or other site visits in order to minimize traffic to our sites. We are fully committed to ensuring our homeowners are kept informed through their journey and we will continue to provide e-mail notifications regarding the progress of each home. Homeowners will receive updates when construction has commenced, when their roof is on, and when their kitchen cabinetry has been installed. We also have a dedicated Customer Experience team who can provide updates and can be reached at [email protected]

Q. What changes are in effect for the Pre-Delivery Orientation (PDO)?

Mar 26 | In support of social distancing and in light of Tarion’s recommendations, we are dividing the PDO process into three:

  1. Prior to closing, Minto Communities MasterCare warranty staff will conduct a pre-delivery inspection on behalf of our homeowners, documenting any items that need to be repaired. A copy of this list will be sent to the homeowners along with a number of photos, including one of your kitchen and home exterior.
  2. After closing, the homeowner will conduct their own pre-delivery inspection and provide the list to MasterCare, who will submit it to Tarion. We ask that this submission be conducted within five days of your closing. Tarion is in full support of this process and will honour deficiencies identified after closing during this situation. Please also refer to Tarion’s COVID-19 memo regarding pre-delivery inspections here.
  3. An important part of the Orientation is the chance to ask questions and for Minto to demonstrate the features and functions of your new home. We will either schedule a meeting by phone, or once the situation with COVID-19 has improved, we will schedule a time to meet with you in your home.
We recognize some homeowners may prefer to see their home prior to closing and hope you understand our decision to minimize social interaction in every instance. A construction site is a network of people and materials coming and going from various sources and as such we stand by our decision to limit these interactions during the current situation.

Q. How are closings and key pick-ups being handled?

Mar 26 | As per usual, on closing day our Construction team will be in touch to confirm the time you can come and pick-up your keys, typically around 4 PM. Keys can be released as soon as we receive word from our lawyer that the transaction has closed.

Key pick-up will occur at our Construction site offices. If you haven’t visited previously, the location will be provided to you in your correspondence with the team to arrange a pick-up time. Despite the sign on our Site Office door stating the office is closed for all appointments, key pick-up is the exception. We will allow homeowners into our office one person at a time to sign the form confirming you have received the keys and then provide you with the house keys in an envelope. Congratulations, you now have keys to your new home!

Q. Can a homebuyer get out of a deal?

Mar 26 | We remain committed to building your home and as such are proceeding forward with all homes under contract through a finalized Agreement of Purchase and Sale. Homeowners still in their rescission period are able to obtain a mutual release by providing a letter from either a lender or legal institution to our sales office.

Our MasterCare Warranty team continues to respond to any safety-related, urgent service request or emergency such as active water leaks or complete electrical power loss not related to a hydro power outage. Otherwise, service work day appointments will be rescheduled to take place in the future, with our team reaching out to those affected as their appointment approaches. At this time, all of our site offices are closed. If you have any questions, please contact the MasterCare team in your community here.

Q. If you have an emergency - what do I do?

Mar 26 | Once you have taken possession of your home, if you are experiencing an emergency such as loss of heat in the winter, a full loss of power not related to a hydro event, or an active leak, please call the MasterCare Emergency line at 613.782.2310.

For any other urgent requests, please email your MasterCare office here.

Q. How are 30-Day, Year-End and Second-Year repairs being handled?

Mar 26 | In light of the COVID-19 situation and the recommendations being made by government, Tarion and health authorities, as a precaution, Minto Communities have paused all non-essential appointments as our way of helping to prevent the spread of illness.

This includes the postponement of non-emergency service appointments. We are committed to rebooking once the situation begins to resolve. We remain committed to rectifying any warrantable items in each of our homes and hope our homeowners will understand our decision to err on the side of caution and prioritize the health of our homeowners, trade partners and employee’s health by limiting exposure.

If an emergency service call is required during this situation, we will only proceed with the consent of our homeowners and after screening questions to ensure the health and safety of all present.

Ultimately, we understand that for a social distancing strategy to work, everyone has to participate to the fullest extent possible. Individuals on our community sites are frequently in contact with a large number of trades, homeowners, materials from a variety of sources and colleagues on any given day, although steps have been taken in the current situation to support social distancing.

We have been in touch with all our Trade partners with specific information to facilitate their health and safety. This includes closing all our Construction and MasterCare site offices until further notice to help prevent the spread of illness. As a precautionary measure, and in line with recommendations to minimize social gathering, we are temporarily requesting that all check-ins to our site offices be conducted by phone. If you are a Trade partner and have not received an email from us, then please contact your site team.

Q. How is Minto Communities keeping staff and trades personnel safe on site?

Mar 26 | The following health and safety measures have been implemented to keep our staff and trades safe on our sites:

  • Social Distancing will be maintained at all times specifically staying at least 6-8 feet apart.
  • We have reduced and limited the number of Trades and Minto staff onsite at one time and inside enclosed homes.
  • Construction and MasterCare site offices are closed to reduce gathering. Trades are asked to check-in to the site by phone, email or text. Contact information for the Construction and MasterCare representatives is posted outside site offices.
  • Trades are asked to proceed directly to their designated home each morning instead of checking in at the site office for instructions.
  • Additional handwashing stations for employees and trades have been added in designated areas throughout the sites.
  • There will be some restrictions to specific activities and tasks. Trades are asked to speak to the Site Super/Foreman for details.

In the few cases where you are meeting our staff in person during this situation, we want to assure you that we have taken measures to ensure the health and safety of employees and those they come in contact with.

Q. What measures are being taken to reduce the spread of germs?

Mar 26 | In addition to vigorous hand washing and social distancing measures, we have also increased the frequency of cleaning at each of our locations, and ensured a commercial grade cleaning solution. Our Construction, MasterCare Warranty site offices, as well as our Design Centre are closed to the public. Our Sales Centres are open by appointment only. Our commitment is to prioritize health and safety and we are prepared to adopt further measures if necessary.

Q. Is your staff coming into work?

Mar 26 | Our office staff is working remotely from home. In our communities under construction, our staff are continuing to work where possible and where it is safe to do so.

On site, we have enacted measures such as modified working hours and/or shifts in order to reduce the number of people on site at a time in support of social distancing. We have amplified hygiene protocols and provided additional hand wash stations. The closure of our site offices to Trades and the public has also been put in place to minimize gathering.

Most importantly, no one is permitted onto a Minto construction site if they have recently traveled, have close contact with someone showing symptoms or have symptoms of any illness themselves. While these measures will significantly slow production, we are committed to this approach in order to prioritize our employees’ health and safety.

Q. Do you require your staff to self-isolate if they have recently traveled or are feeling unwell?

Mar 26 | Yes, we ask our employees to keep us informed if they have traveled, have been in close contact with someone who has been ill or are feeling unwell themselves. Those meeting these conditions are required to self-isolate for the recommended period to ensure no symptoms are developing before returning to work. Anyone who has travelled is self-isolating for 14 days and is not allowed at work or on site. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms is required to stay home.

Keeping our communities healthy and safe while maintaining our commitment to servicing our customers, remains our top priority at Minto Communities.

We understand this is an uncertain time for everyone. Through our more than 65-year history, our commitment to resilience, our deep ties to the community and our adaptability have become essential to building a thriving organization. This experience enables us to provide the much-needed support to our homeowners, employees, trade partners and communities during this challenging time.

We wish you and your loved ones good health.

Please contact us if you have any questions or concerns.

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