All posts by Giulio

Thought-provoking KANVA exhibit at Expo 2020 Dubai conveys a sense of urgency in tackling climate change

A poetic vision of an uncertain future and a reflection upon our present, the TRACES art installation situated on the Canada Pavilion site at Expo 2020 Dubai, challenges visitors and raises awareness about the growing threat to ecosystems caused by climate change.

KANVA, a Montreal-based firm renowned for meaningful projects extending beyond the boundaries of architectural shapes and forms, is proud to unveil TRACES, a multisensorial, thought-provoking exhibition on the grounds of the Canada Pavilion at World Expo 2020 Dubai. Commissioned by Global Affairs Canada and produced by the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) to populate the Plaza grounds leading up to the pavilion Entry Hall, KANVA has taken a national, yet universal approach to designing a public installation that aligned with both Canada’s participation at the Expo and Expo 2020 Dubai’s themes of Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability.

Striking a chord

The project struck a chord with core values long embraced by KANVA, and the firm embarked on a mission to connect hearts, heads, and hands in pursuit of a brighter future that reinterprets relationships between inhabitants of the planet. In developing a concept that would be artistic and poetic, yet also touching and meaningful, they studied multiple aspects of global warming and habitat degradation before embracing a visual that captured the very essence of their message – a rising murmur of birds, swirling across the sky in a massive, collective movement.

In order to capture and convey a message of urgency surrounding the issue of rapid habitat decline, KANVA came up with the idea of fossilization of an inhabited landscape, where birds are suspended in motion in a fossilized form that preserves ‘TRACES’’ of their existence.

“Whether due to climate change, or oppressive human development, as landscapes fade away, so do the species that inhabit them” notes Bebawi. “They are simply erased from memory, and our collective amnesia allows us to persist in their destruction. TRACES reinterprets that cycle by fossilizing the species to ensure that it is not forgotten”, adds Olga Karpova, architect and senior project lead at KANVA.

Thinking inside of the box

KANVA’s expression unfolds in a series of eight boxes, spread across the plaza grounds of the Canada Pavilion in seemingly random fashion as a counter to the traditional linear grid of human development. Each museum box, measuring 8’ x 8’x 8’, contains a precious object that embodies the beauty of dynamic life in suspension, complemented by multimedia interactions developed with artist Étienne Paquette. As visitors weave their way towards the entry hall of the pavilion, they are invited to move through a variety of multisensorial experiences of discovery and self-appropriation.

The Jewel initiates the conversation by placing fossilized birds on a pedestal, with integrated lighting that presents them as beautiful, but troubled jewels.

The journey transitions to The Nearness, the most impressive in terms of scale, featuring a wall of extraordinarily filtered light highlighting the movement of birds within a vertical landscape.

The Memorial strikes a more emotional chord, symbolizing a horizontal tomb where visitors find themselves paying tribute to a fallen species. The rectangular base with integrated lighting showcases fossilized birds as they hover over a stunning landscape of wood strata.

The Forgotten symbolizes the careless discarding of objects we once cherished, with stacked cubes of illuminated prototypes that have been cast aside and underappreciated.

The Seat invokes a sense of individual responsibility, seating visitors alone at an old school desk. Upon opening the desk, waterscape sounds and a 3D printed bird is unveiled in a seascape of black ink, depicting the effects of ocean spills through the distressed gaze of a bird struggling mightily to survive.

The Gathering focuses on collective responsibility, embodying the process of problem solving around a dinner table, and inspired by a glowing cube of fossilized birds emerging from the center of the table. Unsettled sounds of distressed birds gradually evolve into soft and soothing harmonies that symbolize hope as visitors sit together at the table.

By contrast, The Sanctuary is an extraordinary enclosure devoid of human interference, with its white canvas animated by a flowing stream of birds immersed in a human-free world. KANVA’s eighth box delivers the starkest message of all.

The Awareness consists of four chairs, one in each corner of the box, with an empty bird cage, door open, suspended from the ceiling. Intensifying white noise indicates that something is wrong and, as visitors take a seat and face each other, the ambiance softens to a soothing garden serenade of singing birds. But the cage is empty, and the bird has left.

In addition to the eight artifact boxes, KANVA also designed a mural that stretches along a large, curved wall of the entry hall to the Canada Pavilion. The mural features a multiplicity of flocking birds, at different depths and distances, on a background that can be interpreted as sky, mountains, forests or water. While the mural is a fixed presentation for Expo 2020 Dubai, the eight cubes are destined to travel the world, where they will persevere as flocking ambassadors of hope.

A truly rewarding experience

Developing TRACES was an extremely rewarding experience for the socially and environmentally conscious firm. Beyond the disciplines of traditional architecture, the project immersed the firm in global issues of concern, as well as the deep study of bird species and their diverse movements and sounds. In creating their art, KANVA also indulged in processes such as scanning, hand sculptures and animating 3D prints of hundreds of different scales and movements, with each one enhancing their conviction along the way.

“We couldn’t be prouder of this work, which has the capacity to be light, beautiful, and entertaining, yet also serve as a conduit of education, consciousness, awareness, and urgency,” concludes Rami Bebawi. “Hyper development has left so much damage behind, and the time has passed for simple acknowledgement. Responsibility must now turn to action.”

Cagbalete Sand Clusters – Mauban, Philippines

Cagbalete Sand Clusters creates a new sustainable typology for eco-tourism, one that uplifts the local culture, which revolves around farming and fishery.

Desired to create a community-building and nurturing ecology for its surroundings, Cagbalete Sand Clusters is a dynamic space for both its inhabitants and visiting tourists. This intermingling is vital to the Filipinos as an archipelagic country of 7,641 islands, each with its own distinct cultural and natural identities.

The design explores the inherent values of locality and sense of place in this project, but through more ethical means of development. The project integrates the programmatic and cultural context of its locale into the architecture, which is essentially a unit system, pre-fabricated set of parts that can grow horizontally or vertically.


The client wanted to create farm lots in a 3.8-hectare property in Cagbalete Island, Quezon province. With a radial site development, a hyperbolic cluster unit system is created that was largely inspired by corals, given the location’s rich marine life and biodiversity.

The resulting structure is a mixed-use development: a private family home and a farm-to-table restaurant that focuses on the use of endemic plant species and seasonal mud crab farming. One of the considerations is that mud crab farming can help prevent soil erosion, and that the activity can also help protect the existing biodynamic mangroves in the area. The team also introduced local hapa nets into the design as a kind of membrane that gets mixed with local sand, soil, and mud, resulting in a new and localized patina, a biophilic membrane that creates an interesting footprint with the hyperbolic possibilities it offers. The hapa nets also function as a ‘veil’ over the structure, a translucent skin that masks sun and rain, but also serves as informal sleeping areas (mosquito beds) for afternoon siestas. They have elevated the humble hapa net into something beyond its utilitarian origins; it is now both part of the structure’s construction membrane, a tool for food production, and a web that facilitates the daily activities of the structure’s inhabitants, enmeshing time, culture, and space.

The project envisions a farm-leisure community that is self-sustaining, where electricity is produced from bespoke solar umbrella pods, and where the spaces largely utilize natural ventilation. It aims to blur the boundaries between what is natural and artificial in this structure, opening it to transformation throughout different seasons, rain or shine. A wellness grotto with salt water is also present, together with mud and dipping pools where a sensorial experience awaits its users. At night, the development shines and transforms into a glowing, plankton-like space with multi-level galleries, performance spaces, and lighthouse functionality.

Cagbalete Sand Clusters won the Food Category of the WAFX Awards this year, and the project  is also a finalist in the ‘Experimental’ category of the World Architecture Festival, to be held this December 2021 in Lisbon, Portugal.

3deluxe launches the first zero-emission super-yacht at the Monaco Yacht Show – as NFT!

Zero-Carbon Super-Yacht can be admired on SuperWorld in the port of Monaco

As one of the innovative highlights of the Monaco Yacht Show, design studio, 3deluxe, launched a zero-carbon super-yacht, which is available for purchase as an NFT (digitally encrypted token) on the SuperWorld auction platform.

To coincide with the Monaco Boat Show, the visionary yacht can be admired virtually against the backdrop of the Port of Monaco via the SuperWorld AR platform. Half of the funds raised from the sale will go towards the marine conservation organization, Sea Change Project, founded by the producers of the Oscar-winning film My Octopus Teacher.

Major Changes in Seafaring 

The challenges of climate change are forcing all industries to radically rethink the way they operate. In the technically ambitious world of yacht-building, there are some interesting developments that could pave the wave for achieving the goal of significant reduction in emissions from global seafaring

Some shipyards and technology companies have already made significant progress with the development of zero-carbon propulsion systems using fuel cells and are presenting the prospect of the first zero-carbon ships. Meanwhile, the architecture and design studio, 3deluxe, has many years of expertise in the design of expedition and cruise ships in various formats, and the studio is now presenting a design study for a zero-carbon super-yacht.

From Farm to Ocean: a Floating Garden of Eden

In addition to the technological innovations and the ambitious outer design, the interior of the yacht also sets new standards. The interior concept breaks with many conventions of yacht design to correspond with the visionary, nature-oriented philosophy of the project: A light-suffused, loft-like space forms a spacious room continuum consisting of a greenhouse, lounge living space, kitchen, bar, and vegetable garden. Luxury is rewritten entirely, with natural surroundings replacing acrylic glass and brass, and natural, healthy air replacing excessive air conditioning.

Healthy food cultivated on-board, fresh fish from the ocean, relaxation, workouts, online business meetings, celebrations with friends – all of this is possible within the inspiring ambiance of the paradisiacal biotope. The additional water needed for the plants is obtained through a seawater desalination system, which is powered by the zero-carbon solar panels on the roof and the exterior. Additionally, the master bedroom is an open-topped space within the greenhouse – with a view of the starry night sky. The open spatial concept corresponds to the modern living concepts of a new generation of yachts: open, unconventional, and close to nature.

Biophilic Super Yacht 

The simple, elegant exterior of the ship is characterized by a homogeneous, closed shape. Reduced and streamlined, the volume offers minimal resistance to wind and weather, and the hull merges seamlessly with the side façade right up to the highest point of the ship.

Sensor-controlled louvers are integrated into the raised side walls to regulate the amount of light reaching the upper decks, and they can be closed during fast sailing and adverse weather. The protected flat roof is glazed and lets daylight into the interior. Additionally, the side, sensor-controlled louvers also boast transparent photovoltaic cells, which provide power for air conditioning, lighting, and the desalination system.

The wheelhouse is unconventionally located at the bow, so the open sundeck behind it can extend seamlessly through into a generous, single-space interior concept. At the open stern, there is a saltwater pool and a small marina with direct access to the sea.

Private Yacht & Educative Vessel in One

Ideally, the ship’s future owners will make it available for educational and training purposes during lay-up periods.

The aim is to remove the elitist character of these kinds of private investments, and to use the project as a communicative platform for discussion of the complex challenges of our time – as a modern, innovative training ship for new and inspirational approaches for young people, students, and innovative start-ups, and as an unconventional venue for summits, conferences, and think tanks. Ideally, this would compensate somewhat for the consumption of resources involved in its construction.

Gentle Technologies for the Heavy Metal Sector

The most attractive and progressive key technology for zero-carbon propulsion of cruise ships and yachts is currently considered to be fuel cells driven by hydrogen. The hydrogen required for the fuel cells can either be refueled or produced locally using methanol from emissions-free production. Methanol is more readily available and less complex to handle than hydrogen and, with one full tank of bio-methanol, a fuel-cell yacht travelling at slow speed can still cover a distance of 1,000 nautical miles.

This technology currently remains expensive, but with the appropriate maturity and greater prospects for marketing, it will become increasingly affordable for commercial shipping. The silent electric engines, which can be distributed decentrally throughout the ship, also avoid any outward noise pollution, while the interior of the ship would likewise be unusually quiet and free of vibrations.

Yet it’s not only the operation, but also the construction of a yacht that needs to be as emission-free and as sparing in its use of resources as possible. There are already some innovative steel and aluminum producers in Norway and Germany who are driving down CO2 emissions considerably through the use of renewable energy, optimized manufacturing processes, and recycling. Similar optimization should apply to the entire manufacturing process of the yacht. After all, here too innovative yacht construction could be a driving force for an emissions-free future for the entire shipping industry.

About 3deluxe

3deluxe is a design studio based in Wiesbaden, which brings together approximately 40 creatives from the fields of architecture, interior design, and brand design. The multifaceted projects attract worldwide attention and include designs for expedition and cruise ships. The firm is currently working on projects in Germany, Lithuania, the USA, and Dubai.

Photos credit: 3deluxe




Future of Ontario Place to showcase new landmark entertainment and wellbeing destination, public beach, parkland, and cultural hub by Therme Group

Therme Group to create a year-round wellbeing destination – creating new opportunities for people to connect with Lake Ontario.  

Therme Group, a global wellbeing organization, is pleased to announce that it is working with the Government of Ontario and City of Toronto to contribute to the revitalization of Ontario Place. Therme Canada | Ontario Place will continue Ontario Place’s heritage revitalizing its original vision – celebrating the province and its culture and bringing a first-of-its-kind experience to Toronto’s waterfront.

Therme Canada | Ontario Place will be a family-friendly experience with stunning indoor and outdoor pools, waterslides and a wave pool, natural spaces to relax, sports performance and recovery services, and luscious botanical gardens. Programming will include fun and healthy activities for all ages, and affordable wellness therapies to meet all needs. Delicious, healthy, and sustainably produced food is a cornerstone of the Therme experience and, guests can enjoy family meals, dinner with friends, and spectacular date-night entertainment.

“Therme is a unique, all-season experience: It’s a natural urban oasis where people can have fun, relax and unwind from their busy lives – boosting their physical and mental health,” said Dr. Robert Hanea, CEO of Therme Group. “The future of Ontario Place will be defined by how successful it can be connecting people to the water. Through our technology and by engaging the community, Therme and our partners will add a new architectural landmark that will play a role in bringing more people back to the waterfront capturing the original spirit of Ontario Place from 50 years ago.”

“Ontario Place is an iconic and valuable location. Its redevelopment provides a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to deliver something incredible for the people of Ontario,” said Lisa MacLeod, Minister of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. “Therme Group’s advanced, accessible approach to holistic wellness is popular throughout Europe, and will be a welcome addition to Ontario Place – bringing a world-class, family-friendly wellness and cultural attraction to our province that creates unforgettable experiences for all visitors, while providing good jobs, and playing a key role in supporting Ontario’s social and economic recovery.”

Public Parks and Open Spaces 

Ontario Place has historically been a publicly accessible destination for recreation, entertainment, and leisure. Therme Canada | Ontario Place will carry on and improve traditions of public access to Ontario Place. Through the planned creation of over eight acres of public spaces, including a free-access public beach and enhanced pedestrian and cycling access, people will be able to better connect with the Lake.  Therme’s bridge to the West Island will support the extension and enhancement of the William G. Davis Trail across the entire site, including providing a new link to the mainland from the West Island, allowing people to enjoy more of Ontario Place outdoors year-round.  Therme also looks forward to continuing its engagement with people in Toronto to understand what other features or experiences it might be able to bring to this new public space on the waterfront.

Arts and Culture  

As part of its focus on holistic wellbeing, Therme Group supports arts and culture by working with local and internationally recognized artists and new emerging talents. It commissions and integrates art installations in each of its destinations, bringing immersive art to the public outside of the traditional spaces of museums and galleries.

Economic Benefits  

Every Therme Group project is designed to benefit the economy, society, and community it serves. Therme Canada will create over 2,200 construction jobs, 800 full time permanent positions, and can accommodate up to 3 million visitors to Ontario Place every year – supporting the city and province’s tourism sectors and post-pandemic recovery. Therme’s investment is currently estimated to be CAD $350 million.

About Therme Canada 

Therme Group is a global organization known for creating the world’s largest and most technologically advanced entertainment and wellbeing destinations. Every year it enables millions of people to have the opportunity for a healthy and sustainable vacation at home. Therme Group and its strategic partners operate four facilities in Europe and have more than 10 large-scale projects in the late stages of development worldwide. More information about Therme Canada can be found at 


A Trip through Antireality in Design

What does Antireality mean to you in your work?

Antireality: Antireality is a conceptual room in my own imagination, where structural truth does not prevent me from exploring designs I cannot create in terms of that paradigm.

It is my escape from my daily existence: A dreamlike record of my vision for an idealistic world, aiming to stimulate other peoples’ imagination.

I draw my ideas from the natural world of plants and animals. Things I notice when I leave the city to spend time in nature.

So architecture and nature could harmonize together? Tell me more.

Antireality: Everything, you, I, plants, animals, buildings have their existence in nature. I like to imagine how these realities could merge. So you’ll notice organic images fusing with structures in my antireality imagination.

This is my internal world where I am free to play with forms, shapes, dimensions and colors without having to take account of objective reality. In a sense I am antireal in this mode.

What are the drivers and motives behind your antirealism?

Antireality: I try to deliberately escape the ‘rules’ of objective reality. In other words, I don’t limit myself in terms of architectural language. But this does not mean you will not discover common conceptual themes in my work, although my design philosophy prevents them for becoming limitations on my style.

At the moment I am in a mode of creating idealistic, semi-real extensions of what I see about me. But this does not mean I have made this a rule either. I may be doing something else later to get away from daily routine.

So the Antireality posts on Instagram question the current reality?

Antireality: Yes they do, and through them I want you to see the relationship between architecture, nature and people in a different light. I want to submerge you in an alternative world that challenges your assumptions about these things.

Each of the Instagram creations is on the boundary of what is real and possible, and where fantasy begins. They are akin to that phase of sleep where you can still consciously experience your dreams.

So your Antireality designs are not your own deliberate creation?

Antireality: Antireality designs occupy space beyond the bounds of human logic, similar to dreams when entering sleep. We have to shed our external reference points first before they are possible to create.

I form my designs by day-dreaming white space, until a concept appears in my virtual canvas. Only then can I begin my work, although sometimes I have to fan the flame of the idea.

Amazing Mountain House in British Columbia designed by Milad Eshtiyaghi

Mountain House in British Columbia designed by Milad Eshtiyaghi

The idea of ​​the design start from the base that was already there on the site of the 4 old trees, and we wanted to building our project without cut or move the trees so we built our project around the trees and in the space of between we made a backyard in front of the trees. 

The architect divided the project into three levels according to the client need:

One level for family parents. One level for son’s of the family and his wife. We connect these two level by the level above which is the recreational sports space. 

Project canopies can be mechanically opened and closed depending on sun move or depending on person. The windows of the valley side can be opened and closed so that windows become a terrace and terrace becomes a windows and the structure of this system is a cable.

The Circular Villa by ANTIREALITY

The CIRCULAR VILLA by ANTIREALITY is a conceptual design of a summer house situated within a cliff recess. The key to this project was to design the house that shape integrates into the structure of the rocky landscape. The white and abstract volume of the design fits within the cliff niche simultaneously does not create a direct geometrical connection.

The name of the building refers not only to the shape of the central spiral staircase (leading to the circular roof pool) but also pertain to a general circular motif used throughout the entire project. A breakthrough view of the surroundings provoked the idea of the observatory-like house. The central circulation core rises up like a tower with all the house zones build around it. Terraces constitute a significant part of each of the floors which contain viewing platforms for watching the surrounding wildlife. Thanks to the dry and warm climate, Circular Villa challenges the concept of division between outdoor and indoor. Terraces and the main circulation core connect different zones of the building, this creates a natural flow between indoor and outdoor areas. The roof terrace is topped by the circular pool allowing users to enjoy a panoramic view of the surrounding. 

Visualization by Antireality

The Circular Villa consists of five main functional zones: work area (level 0 – studio), day area (level I – kitchen, dining room, living room, bathroom), night area (level II – bedroom, bathroom), viewing area (level III – terraces, rooftop with a pool), circulation area (spiral staircase connecting all of the levels). 

The vast majority of the building area of approx. 750 m² contains terraces and outdoor spaces. The folded slab visually connects all of the building zones with the surroundings. The main structure is made of reinforced concrete, the facade is designed from glass and perforated metal panels, the primary interior material is white wooden panels. Circular facade elements are movable and can be adapted according to the position of the sun. Thanks to this simple flexible installation facade system response to multiple needs of users. 

summer house embedded in the cliff
cliff house with circular roof pool
futuristic cliff house
cliff house with ocean view
house inside the rock
circular house with spiral staircase

Connect with the ANTIREALITY

Can The Construction Industry Require Mandatory Vaccination Of Workers?

by Sahil Shoor , Tristan Neill , Anne Lemay and Cristina Borbely

Gowling WLG

The nature of construction work makes physical distancing and other Infection Prevention and Control measures difficult to implement.  This heightens the importance of vaccinations in preventing and containing COVID-19 on construction sites.  Despite this, the complex contractual organization of construction projects, and the numerous players with overlapping health and safety obligations, human rights and freedoms, creates unique challenges for developing a vaccination strategy.  It is increasingly clear that COVID-19, and COVID-19 vaccinations, will be with us for some time; careful forethought and planning for dealing with vaccinations is required at all stages of the construction process, from initial procurement, through contract drafting, to managing onsite construction.   

The above factors raise numerous questions for participants in the construction industry, such as:

  • Can employers require that their employees be vaccinated or to disclose their vaccination status?
  • What influence can participants at higher rungs of the construction ladder, like owners, exert over participants at lower rungs, like contractors and sub-contractors?
  • Can an owner require a contractor to only employ vaccinated employees and subcontractors?
  • Can certain projects or construction sites be off-limits to non-vaccinated workers?
  • Who will bear primary responsibility for dealing with vaccinations on a given project?
  • What policies should be put in place regarding vaccinations?
  • What steps can be taken if an employee or other industry participant refuses to get vaccinated or comply with vaccination policies?

What does the law say?

Existing case law has not dealt with these issues to any significant degree. However, there is some direction from across Canada with regard to mandatory vaccination, which is not without precedent.  In Ontario and New Brunswick it is imposed by law in the public school setting with limited exceptions for certain medical and religious/reasons of conscience grounds.  In the workplace, the issue has been frequently litigated in the healthcare setting, where unions have challenged mandatory vaccination policies or policies such as “vaccinate or mask” against seasonal influenza as infringing on the collective agreement. However, the case law is inconsistent. While “Vaccinate Or Mask” (“VOM”) Policies in healthcare settings were upheld in some cases,2 such policies were found to be unreasonable in others.3 Currently, there is no mandatory vaccination requirement for people working in health care, long-term care and retirement home settings in Ontario. 

Based on the pre-COVID-19 case law on VOM policies, it is clear that much will depend on the leadership of provincial and territorial medical officers of health to mandate vaccination.

In response to the pandemic, the Ontario government has implemented a new form of unpaid, job-protected leave known as “Infectious Disease Emergency Leave” (“IDEL“), which is available to employees who will not be performing their duties for certain prescribed reasons. It is of note that the Ontario government has published commentary suggesting that employers may place employees on IDEL where the employees have not received the COVID-19 vaccine, and the employer is concerned that the employees may expose others in the workplace to COVID-19. This should not, however, be considered to be an endorsement of mandatory vaccination policies.

IDEL is currently set to expire on July 3, 2021, unless further extended. It is currently unclear whether the vaccine will be widely available in Ontario prior to July 3, 2021. Therefore, it is unlikely that employers can justify imposing a mandatory vaccination policy and placing unvaccinated employees on IDEL while the vaccine remains largely unavailable to the general public.

In all cases, employers have a duty to take all reasonable precautions to protect the health and safety of workers pursuant to occupational health and safety legislation.  A mandatory vaccination policy would be adopted pursuant to these obligations. During the COVID-19 pandemic in Ontario, employers have been required to develop a COVID-19 safety plan and to implement active screening of employees for COVID-19. Whether employers will be required to additionally screen employees based on immunization remains unclear.

Can An Employer Implement a Mandatory Vaccination Policy?

At this time, as there is no scientific evidence that COVID-19 transmission is reduced following vaccination, mandatory vaccination policies may be difficult to justify.  Employers will also need to consider whether less intrusive measures (such as hand-washing, mask-wearing and daily screenings or incentive vaccination policies) are sufficient to promote the health and safety of workers and of the workplace without imposing mandatory vaccination.

Employees have a right to be free from discrimination and employers have a duty to accommodate employees to the point of undue hardship under human rights legislation. Any vaccination policy will need to be flexible enough to accommodate those employees who are unable to be vaccinated, be it for a medical or religious reason. Further, in Canada, refusing to be vaccinated is unlikely to be upheld as cause for termination of an employee’s employment, such that employers could be liable for wrongful dismissal damages for employees who refuse to be vaccinated.

In unionized settings, employers will need to meet the added requirement that any policies instituted be reasonable and consistent with the collective agreement.

Absent public health guidance or directives, employers will be required to conduct individual case-by-case analyses to ensure that all risks and factors have been considered before mandating vaccination for employees.


This analysis suggests a number of key takeaway points for the construction industry:

  • Primary responsibility for construction project health and safety rests with the “constructor,” and is often contractually assigned to the prime contractor.  These responsibilities include compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act, its regulations, and any other applicable safety policies, including the duty to take all precautions reasonable to protect the health and safety of workers. 
  • What is reasonable will depend on the nature of the work at each project site, and on the ever-changing medical evidence relating to COVID-19 and vaccine efficacy.  Different levels of risk (of COVID-19 transmission) may justify different policies.
  • Some employees will have legitimate human rights grounds for refusing to get the vaccine.  Others will simply refuse to do so.
  • Vaccination policies must be reasonable given the circumstances, and should include exceptions, accommodations, and alternative measures for employees who are unable to get the vaccine on the basis of a protected grounds.  A “one-size-fits-all” approach will carry risks.
  • Workplaces with high risk of Covid-19 transmission may be afforded greater flexibility in dealing with mandatory vaccination policies.     
  • Accommodation may include deploying non-vaccinated employees to worksites with lower risks of transmission, and continuing with masking and physical distancing policies for these workers.

It appears increasingly likely that COVID-19 will be circulating in the community for at least the mid-term, and that careful planning is required to transition to the COVID-19 vaccination era. 

Gowling WLG’s construction and employment law teams are available to provide advice on developing a comprehensive strategy for managing COVID-19 and COVID-19 vaccinations.