Ontario Expands Big-Box Blitz to Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham Regions

Government stepping up inspections to protect staff and consumers

January 23, 2021

Labour, Training and Skills Development

OTTAWA — The Ontario government is carrying out workplace inspections in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham this weekend to ensure essential businesses that can continue to operate during the provincewide shutdown are following the public health guidelines. The province wants to ensure workers and customers are properly protected from COVID-19.

The blitz, developed in consultation with local health units, will build on the recent provincewide inspection campaigns in the GTHA. Additionally, more than 300 provincial offences officers, as well as local public health inspectors and municipal bylaw officers, will continue to visit a variety of other workplaces such as retail establishments, restaurants providing take-out meals and essential service-sector establishments such as gas stations.

“Our government is confident that the majority of workplaces in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham are taking the necessary steps to protect their patrons and staff, while helping to reduce the spread of the pandemic,” said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. “However, if we find that businesses are putting the safety of workers and customers at risk, our government will not hesitate to take immediate action. The only way to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and end the provincewide shutdown is for everyone — owners, customers and staff alike — to follow the proper guidelines.”

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 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. 

Quick Facts

  • Last weekend, a team of approximately 50 ministry inspectors, as well as local bylaw and police officers, visited 240 big-box stores across the GTHA. Enforcement officials found 76 contraventions, and that 69 per cent of these businesses followed public health requirements.
  • In collaboration with the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the Ministry of the Solicitor General is continuing to encourage local police services and municipal bylaw enforcement officers to focus on COVID-19-related enforcement.
  • To help businesses comply with the public health measures, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development has developed more than 200 business guideline documents.

Additional Resources