Ontario launches COVID-19 workplace inspection blitz
Fines range from $750 to $10 million for non-compliance
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following briefing is courtesy of Sherrard Kuzz LLP in Toronto.
The Government of Ontario has commenced a workplace education and enforcement campaign across the province to ensure businesses takes precautions necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Approximately 200 provincial offence and by-law officers are visiting businesses in targeted regions of the province, without notice, to ensure compliance with public health and safety requirements set out in Ontario Regulation 364/20 and Ontario Regulation 263/20 under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
In early November, officers visited businesses in the regions of Peel and London-Middlesex. The campaign is currently underway in Waterloo Region and will move next to the regions of Ottawa, York, Eastern Ontario and the City of Toronto.
Fines and penalties
Fines and penalties for non-compliance range from a ticket of $750 to much more significant penalties if appropriate. If convicted, an individual can be fined up to $100,000 ($500,000 if a director or officer of a corporation) and face imprisonment of up to one year. A corporation can be fined up to $10 million
Every business should review its health and safety protocols to ensure adequate control measures to address COVID-19.
Workplace safety plan
Any business required to have a workplace safety plan should ensure it is prepared and available for inspection. The following businesses are required to have a workplace safety plan if they operate in a region of the province not currently coded “Green/Prevent” under the COVID-19 Response Framework:
- Restaurants, bars and food or drink establishments
- Sports and recreational facilities
- Meeting and event spaces
- Personal care services
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
- Cinemas and performing arts facilities
For assistance, including preparing your workplace safety plan, contact your Sherrard Kuzz lawyer or, if you are not yet a client, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.