This Friday the Peel and Halton retail sector will be the part of the launch areas for Ontario's series of zero-tolerance workplace safety inspections. This will not be exclusive to big box stores, so ensure that your sales team and showrooms are prepared.
"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 of 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 will be checking for compliance to ensure that there is appropriate physical distancing, screening and masking. These inspections will focus on enforcing the COVID-19 safety requirements and violations may result in fines up to $750 for individuals and $1,000 for businesses. In addition, officers will be helping retailers understand the new requirements under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, to bring them into compliance, including the selling of only essential items. The government will work with local enforcement personnel to enforce and bring retailers into compliance where necessary. 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.
With this launch on inspections to those areas hardest hit by COVID-19, we should all be ensuring that our operations are COVID complaint. These inspections are not likely to be confined to the Peel and Halton area, as the 3rd wave progresses.
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