Over 1,000 big-box stores and other essential retail businesses have been inspected for COVID-19 compliance by Ontario's provincial offence officers so far this month.
According to a press release issued by the government today, 1,147 stores have been visited. The province says it plans to visit more than 400 additional stores this weekend in Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, and Hamilton.
The province says "The inspections are designed to ensure businesses are following the public health guidelines and properly protecting workers and customers from COVID-19. So far this year, 112 tickets have been issued to businesses and individuals during three inspection campaigns."
The most common reasons cited for non-compliance so far have been:
- Failure to properly screen staff and patrons
- Improper social distancing
- Workplaces not having adequate COVID-19 workplace safety plans.
The province reminds Ontarians that all businesses operating during lockdown must have a COVID-19 workplace safety plan that is available to anyone who asks to see it and is posted in a place where it can be easily seen.
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. Everyone in Ontario, 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 under Part III of the Provincial Offences Act for failing to comply with a legislated COVID-19 health and safety requirement. 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.