COVID-19 Resources

Looking for ways to support the architecture and design community during this health crisis, we’ve created this space to share useful resources and best practices that might be helpful for members and their practices as we navigate this unprecedented situation together.

What You’ll Find on this Page

Started as a collaborative project at the beginning of the pandemic, this collection of resources and best practices has grown thanks to the many contributions of TSA members. As the situation has evolved so too have the resources on this page, reflecting how studios have adapted to new ways of practicing.

The list below is an index of some of the topics covered on this page. You can either click on the topics below to be taken down the page to the appropriate section or scroll down the page.

This page was last updated January 18, 2021. All new information and resources done in the last update are highlighted with the word *new*. This page is updated periodically with the latest resources.

Province-Wide Declaration of Emergency in Effect *new*

As of January, 14, 2021 a second province-wide declaration of emergency is in effect, including a stay at home order. During this time employees must work from home except where necessary and non-essential construction must close. This order is in place until at least Thursday, February 11, 2021 across the province of Ontario.

Read the official Stay at Home Order here.

A list of all construction activities that can continue under provincial orders can be found here.

Rules for areas in Stage 1 Amendment, including a list of permitted construction activities, can be read here.

Reliable Sources

The following international organizations and local authorities have created dedicated websites to share information on the COVID-19 pandemic. They are great go-to websites for reliable information, as well as the latest developments, affected services and containment measures that apply to our region.

Practicing during the Health Crisis

The current health crisis is requiring architects to quickly adapt the way we practice in response to changing conditions. This section brings together some resources relevant to practicing during the health crisis.

Reliable Built Environment Sources

A number built-environment related organizations, authorities and departments have created dedicated COVID-19 pages with their latest updates and resources. Check these often to stay up to date and hear about updates directly from the source!

  • OAA COVID-19 Updates | The latest updates from the Ontario Association of Architects on matters of practice during the health crisis.

  • Pro-Demnity: Risk Management during COVID-19 | Information from the mandatory professional liability insurance provider for Ontario architects about risk management during the pandemic.

  • City of Toronto: Affected City Services | Official City information on affected city services, including Zoning and Building Permits and Inspections. Please make sure to check the following tabs on the page for information relevant to design professionals: Building Permits and Inspections, Licensing and Permits, City Planning, and Public Consultations.

  • *new* City of Toronto: Building Permits and Inspections | Toronto Building is providing inspection services for construction activities designated essential in the provincial government’s updated emergency regular, as all other construction activities are required to stop. All permit applications are being accepted, reviewed and issued where complete/possible.

  • City of Mississauga: Affected Services | Official City of Mississauga information regarding current service impacts. For relevant information to design professionals, make sure to check the following tabs: Planning and building, Clerk’s Office, and Committee of Adjustment.

Pandemic Preparedness for your Studio

The following resources are meant to help our members who are making decisions as business owners and employers as they look for ways to protect the health (both physical and mental) of staff, clients and consultants while maintaining business operations.

Financial and Legal Matters: For Practices

Cash-flow, employment and taxes are all issues that are being affected by this pandemic. The resources below provide a guide to some programs and information on economic relief packages, temporary income support, emergency support for those who lose their jobs, and changes to the tax filing for 2019. We’ve also recently included business-related resources dealing with issues like employee management, business continuity and human resources.

Physical Distancing, Remote Work and Collaboration Tools

Public health professionals have asked Canadians to practice physical distancing, deliberately increasing the physical space between people to avoid spreading illness. At the TSA, this has meant cancelling events and moving all meetings to online platforms. For practices, this might mean moving meetings to digital platforms and telecommuting (work from home). The following resources look to help firms maintain the collaborative spirit of the studio while transitioning to digital platforms. Many of the tools below are free of charge for basic plans.

  • Collaborating During COVID-19: A How-To
  • 16 Tips for Managing Remote Teams
  • An Architect’s Guide to Virtual Practice
  • A Guide to Managing Your (Newly) Remote Workers
  • Perkins & Will | Insta Office | An affordable solution for better ergonomics at your work-from home office

  • Zoom | Zoom is a video conferencing program which allows for meetings to be conducted on a computer or phone. Zoom also has chat capabilities within meetings as well as screen sharing, and a link and phone number can be sent to anyone to join the meeting. The basic plan is free of charge.

  • Slack | Slack is a digital messaging platform with both group and person-to-person messaging. You can create multiple channels per team/workplace and members of that team can have direct messaging and group chats. You can also share files and images. The basic plan allowing 10,000 messages is free.

  • Microsoft Teams | Similar to Slack, Microsoft Teams allows for both group and person-to-person messaging, as well as number of other features including video conferencing. A free plan is available with limited features.

  • Splashtop | Splashtop is a remote desktop solution allowing users to log into and use the processing power of their work computer from any device from home. This allows flexibility on what is required at home (even an iPAD with a keyboard and mouse will do). Plans start at $5 a month per user.

  • Google Drive | Google Drive is a cloud storage service that allows you to easily store and share files over the internet. You can even have a folder on your computer (or sync specific folders) making the experience very user friendly. In addition, Google offers an online, free web-based office suite with Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides and Google Forms.

  • Morpholio | Created by a group of architects, Morpholio make software tools that aims to address different moments in the design process, from schematic to construction. Their app Morpholio Trace combines sketching tools, Augmented Reality, digital annotations and precise drawings.

  • Bang the Table: Engagement HQ | Engagement HQ is an online community engagement software featuring virtual tools to increase public awareness and participation including surveys, polls, questions, guestbook, stories, places, ideas and forums.

  • Social Pinpoint | Social Pinpoint is a customization online community engagement platform with a toolkit to make it easy to engage with the community and stakeholders online. Features include surveys, mapping, forums, and ideas walls among other tools.

Reopening your Studio

When it is safe to do so, many studios will be looking to reopen their physical spaces and welcoming people back into their offices. The following resources address issues surrounding reopening offices, including government recommendations, legal and employment considerations, strategic design recommendation and free downloadable signage. **Please note that as of January 14, 2021 a Province-wide declaration of emergency is in effect, including a stay at home order across Ontario. Employees must work remotely except where necessary. Please check Ontario’s emergency declaration for more information. **

Financial and Legal Matters: For Individuals

The pandemic is having a huge impact on individuals, from students to working professionals to everyone in between. The following resources have been compiled to help individuals looking for guidance on financial and legal matters during the pandemic.

Continuing Education

Over the past several months the TSA has developed a wide variety of online learning opportunities, including sessions eligible for Structured Learning hours and most of them free for TSA members. Check out our events calendar and the TSA bulletin for the latest opportunities. In addition, there are other great free or highly affordable opportunities which we have listed below.

  • GreenCE: Sustainable Design Education | Numerous free and low-cost sustainable design education webinars on a variety of topics. Certificates for Structured Hours are issued upon completion of a quiz.

  • woodWORKS! eLearning Centre | Professional development courses exploring topics in wood materials, designs and applications in construction. Certificates for Structured Hours are issued upon completion of a quiz.

  • Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development: Worker Health and Safety Awareness | This training introduces workers to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. It focuses on the health and safety rights and responsibilities of workers, supervisors and employers. It also serves as a general introduction to workplace health and safety. A certificate of completion is issued at the end of the course.

  • AECDaily | A collection of webinars on a variety of topics related to the construction industry, many of them free of charge.

  • TSA Online Learning Listing | The TSA events calendar now has a tag dedicated to online learning opportunities making it easy to find upcoming or on-demand webinars relevant to architects and design professionals.

How the architecture and design community can help

Have access to a 3D printer? Know how to sew? Then you can help in the fight against COVID-19! The PPE Drive is an outreach campaign started by medical leaders in Toronto’s Michael Garron Hospital to ensure adequate supplies of PPE in the healthcare system. Here are the following ways people can get involved:

  • Donate Unopened PPE | Have an unopened box of nitrile gloves, vented goggles, or even ear-looped masks? Know a contractor, supplier or fabricator that does? You can donate these supplies either by dropping them off at the hospital or arraigning a pick up.

  • 3D Print Visor Frames | Have a 3D printer? Michael Garron Hospital is calling on the 3D printing community to create 10,000 visors frames in order for hospitals to make new face shields. An .stl file and detailed instructions and sizes can be found on the campaign’s 3D Printed Visor website.

  • Sew a Mask | Know how to sew? The Michael Garron Hospital is calling for Torontonians to collectively make 1,000 masks a week which will go to approved visitors, discharged patients and the broader community to help prevent disease transmission. Instructions on how to make the masks and where to donate them can be found on the hospital website.

Other Ways to Help

Is there a resource missing that you think would be of use for other architects and design professionals?  Let us know at and we’ll make sure to share it with our community. Together we are stronger!

NOTE: If you are sick, have traveled in the past 14 days, or are currently experiencing some of the symptoms of the disease, practice self-isolation and avoid going to work. Instead, please refer to the Government of Ontario website for the latest information and procedures to see if further assessment might be required.