Workplace inspection campaign started in COVID-19 hotspots
The Ontario government launched a series of zero-tolerance workplace safety inspections in sectors and regions hardest hit by COVID-19. It started with warehouses, food processors and manufacturers in Peel and Halton Regions.
“With more contagious variants identified in many parts of the province, it has never been more important that businesses have the appropriate health and safety protocols in place to stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister, Labour, Training and Skills Development. “We will have zero tolerance for those bad actors who break safety requirements as it puts the lives of workers and the public at risk. Our officers will not hesitate to issue tickets to those not following the rules.”
Officers started checking for compliance with COVID-19 health and safety requirements under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Reopening Ontario Act to ensure appropriate physical distancing, screening and masking.
A multi-ministry team of provincial offences officers were deployed to Peel and Halton Regions to carry out a campaign in retail outlets that are permitted to be open, including big-box stores. These inspections focus on enforcing the COVID-19 safety requirements and violations may result in fines up to $750 for individuals and $1,000 for businesses.
If a violation is more serious, a person can be charged with failing to comply with an order under the acts. If convicted, the court can impose fines as high as $100,000 for individuals, and directors and officers of a corporation can be fined up to $500,000. Both could also receive terms of imprisonment of up to one year. The maximum fine for a corporation on conviction of an offence is up to $10 million.