Ontario Expands Workplace Enforcement Campaigns

Published on January 21, 2021

The government is expanding our current inspections at essential businesses to further protect workers and customers. Provincial offences officers is now visiting an expanded range of workplaces across Ontario to educate and ticket businesses that are not complying with COVID-19 health and safety requirements.

Over this past weekend a team of more than 50 ministry inspectors, as well as local bylaw and police officers, visited 240 big-box stores across the GTHA for our big-box store blitz. Enforcement officials found 76 contraventions, and that 69 per cent of these businesses were in compliance with public health requirements.

Following our Big Box Blitz, we are bringing in provincial offences officers from multiple ministries and expanding our current workplace inspections to further protect workers and customers in essential businesses.

Unlike campaigns from 2020 around education and awareness, this new series is focused on enforcement and providing resources to help businesses operate safely.

Hundreds of officers will be visiting workplaces that are allowed to be open during the provincial shutdown such as: 

  • Retail establishments, including big-box stores
  • Restaurants providing take-out meals
  • Essential service-sector establishments (such as gas stations); and
  • Farming operations

The first campaign started on January 20th in Hastings and Prince Edward Counties with additional campaigns are being planned for 10 other communities including Durham, Niagara, Windsor, Halton Region, Huron Perth, Peterborough, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and Leeds Grenville Lanark.

These efforts build on MLTSD’s “Stay Safe All Day” initiative announced last week.

All COVID-19 inspections will now include a focus on how to stay safe before, during and after work.

Officers will be promoting and enforcing COVID Safety requirements during breaks, in lunchrooms and in work vehicles.

Resources are available at Ontario.ca/covidsafety.

Farm Enforcement Initiative

Families rely on our essential workers to ensure grocery store shelves remain full with food for their tables.

With the rise in COVID-19 cases across the province, we need to take additional steps to ensure temporary foreign workers in the agricultural sector are protected.

Since January 14, the government has been ramping up inspections and enforcement at Ontario farms employing temporary foreign workers to keep them safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. 

Increasing inspection, enforcement and compliance assistance efforts in the agricultural sector will help to protect workers, farm owners and communities and strengthen Ontario’s food security and economic recovery.

Fines Levied for Non-compliance

Corporations can be now be fined $1,000 for failing to comply with the orders under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act and the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act. All individuals, including employees and patrons, can also be fined $750 for failing to comply with orders under the acts.

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 $10,000,000. 

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