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Severn mayor offers thanks to front-line workers, volunteers

Township adapts building services to support essential construction; non-essential construction projects are on hold
Mike Burkett, mayor of Severn Township. File photo

Message from Mayor Mike Burkett

It’s time to give frontline workers and volunteers a well-deserved round of applause.

We want to shine the spotlight on those volunteering to support essential services and salute those who help by staying home to protect themselves and our community.

April 19 marked the start of National Volunteer Week. The celebration recognizes the almost 13 million community-minded volunteers in Canada.

This couldn’t be more timely! Volunteers work year-round to address critical social, economic, and environmental issues. Amid COVID-19, their generosity is amplified. Local volunteers have found new ways to share their commitment, dedication, generosity and selflessness.

Volunteers are making a difference in sew many ways. A popular pastime has become a way to show community caring. Volunteers of all ages are picking up their needles and thread to fashion all manner of masks for their families, friends and neighbours. A homemade mask can help you from touching your nose and mouth.

Volunteers are also making a difference by delivering meals and groceries to community members who are self-isolating or have difficulty leaving their home.

Virtual volunteering is keeping us connected in a time of social isolation. Although technology for connecting people is not new, it’s being quickly learned and embraced by volunteers.

Programs and services are being adapted and delivered on devices of all kinds from computers to tablets and smart phones. Our community is staying in touch to chat, support, coach and mentor—all in an effort to bring our community together in challenging times.

Did you know… 211 Ontario can help you find local grocery stores and pharmacies that are open and offering delivery service. If you need mental health support, food services, financial services or more, call 211 or visit It’s free, confidential, and available anytime—day or night.

Please join me to thank volunteers for the time and energy they contribute to our community and celebrate them for all they do.

Let’s also recognize and thank health-care and frontline workers for their service in this unprecedented time. Thank you for keeping our community safe and running. We applaud and appreciate all that you do.

Help protect essential workers by staying home. Limit grocery store trips to once per week. When going out for the essentials, remember to practise physical distancing—stay at least two metres from others—to help slow the spread of the virus.

At the time of writing, there are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Severn. But we can’t be complacent—over one-third of reported cases in our region are community acquired. This means the virus is spreading in communities from person to person. COVID-19 is a serious health threat and we must continue to work together to protect our community.

To get through this together, we must all stay apart. Thank you for staying home, washing your hands, and doing your part to flatten the pandemic curve. Together, we can help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Be thoughtful about the information you consume and share. Consult credible sources of information, such as Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit, Ontario Ministry of Health, and Public Health Agency of Canada. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter or our new Facebook page @SevernTownship.

Township of Severn adapts building services to ensure health and safety  

Township of Severn continues to monitor, adapt and respond to COVID-19. We have implemented several protective measures to safely enable essential services.  

Under Ontario’s emergency order, only critical construction projects can continue. New starts in residential projects must stop, while construction that is near completion can continue.  

We've adapted our building services to support essential construction in our community. The new measures listed below are necessary. They will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the health and safety of our community.  

Building Permits    

  • We continue to review all building permit applications.
  • Building permit application forms are available on our website and by email.
  • You can submit your building permit application to us by email, mail or drop box.
  • We will only issue building permits for essential construction and urgent/unsafe sites.
  • You can pay for your building permit by cheque (to Township of Severn) by mail or drop box.

Building Inspections   

  • We will only inspect essential construction and urgent/unsafe sites.
  • We will only inspect some unoccupied buildings.
  • We will not allow anyone on site during inspections.
  • You can contact us by email or phone to request a building inspection.
  • We continue to accept documents from project architects and engineers. Documents include reports, instructions and drawings.
  • Do not continue any work without an inspection. You would need to uncover work (e.g. drywall) for inspection.

Essential Construction  

The Province of Ontario defines essential construction as:  

  • Construction projects and services associated with the healthcare sector, including new facilities, expansions, renovations and conversion of spaces that could be repurposed for health care space.
  • Construction projects and services required to ensure safe and reliable operations of, or to provide new capacity in, critical provincial infrastructure, including transit, transportation, energy and justice sectors beyond the day-to-day maintenance.
  • Critical industrial construction activities required for: a) the maintenance and operations of petrochemical plants and refineries, b) significant industrial petrochemical projects where preliminary work has already commenced, c) industrial construction and modifications to existing industrial structures limited solely to work necessary for the production, maintenance, and/or enhancement of Personal Protective Equipment, medical devices (such as ventilators), and other identified products directly related to combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. 
  • Residential construction projects where: a) a footing permit has been granted for single family, semi-detached and townhomes, b) an above grade structural permit has been granted for condominiums, mixed use and other buildings, or c) the project involves renovations to 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 ongoing public safety.

For more information, please contact us at [email protected] or 705-325-2315 x224. Visit our website at for up-to-date information on COVID-19.



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