TORONTO – Huron and Perth counties are among the province’s target areas for the latest round of workplace inspections.
In a press release on Jan. 20, the Ontario government announced that provincial offences officers will now be visiting an expanded range of workplaces across the province following a blitz of big box stores last week.
The province says the blitz on big box stores in the Greater Toronto Area last weekend produce 76 violations, and that 69 per cent of the businesses were in compliance with public health requirements.
Hastings and Prince Edward counties will be the first two regions targeted under this round of inspections. Other regions, including Huron and Perth counties, that will be targeted are Durham, Niagara, Halton, Peterborough, Toronto and Leeds Grenville Lanark.
According to the press release, more than 300 officers will be a part of the inspections. The officers will be focusing their efforts on:
- retail establishments, including big box stores;
- restaurants providing take-out meals;
- essential service-sector establishments (such as gas stations); and
- farming operations.
Inspectors will be focusing on farming operations that employ temporary foreign workers “to ensure that health and safety laws are followed and that measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.”
It is expected that thousands of foreign agricultural workers will be coming to Ontario this coming season.
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.