Targeted Health and Safety Blitz Focuses on Keeping Workers Safe in Hot-Spot Regions
April 15, 2021
TORONTO – The Ontario government will begin targeted provincewide inspections of construction sites this Friday, dispatching 200 workplace inspectors, supported by provincial offenses officers, to visit 1,300 constructions sites to enforce safety requirements. Officers will also be visiting over 500 workplaces, including big box stores, food processors, manufacturers and warehouses, in Ottawa, Toronto and York Region, which have been identified as hot spots for COVID-19.
Details were provided today by Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
“Construction workers continue to be needed on the frontlines to build hospitals, testing centres, broadband and other critical infrastructure our province needs,” said Minister McNaughton. “We’ve inspected these worksites regularly throughout the pandemic, but it is more important than ever, with these new variants spreading, that we continue to ensure that construction worksites are following the rules and that workers who still go to work every day are protected.”
Inspectors will be checking that employers understand the risks associated with COVID-19, including how to reduce the spread in their workplace, and that measures and procedures are in place to keep workers safe. They will also be ensuring that workers are practising safe work habits both on the clock and on breaks, checking for physical distancing and wearing appropriate personal protective equipment when required.
Hot-spot workplace inspections in Ottawa, Toronto and York Region build on recent intensified inspection campaigns in Peel and Halton Regions last weekend. These campaigns will focus on enforcing the COVID-19 safety requirements and identifying those who are not following the rules. Violations may result in fines of up to $750 for individuals and $1,000 for businesses.
- Over the course of the provincial shutdown and stay-at-home order, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development will deploy occupational health and safety inspectors, inspectors in training, provincial offences officers and consultants from the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association to conduct proactive inspections at more than 1,300 construction sites.
- Since the beginning of 2021, occupational health and safety inspectors and multi-ministry teams of provincial offences officers have conducted more than 20,300 COVID-related workplace inspections and investigations across the province, including 17,442 inspections of construction sites. During those visits, they’ve issued over 15,600 orders and over 500 COVID-19 related tickets, and stopped unsafe work related to COVID-19 a total of 26 times.
- Businesses can access free training and assistance, including the workplace safety plan toolkit, live webinars on how to operate a business safely and comply with COVID-19 health and safety requirements, and a 30-minute online course on infection prevention and control provided by the Public Services Health and Safety Association.
- Workplace COVID-19 safety fact sheets, guides and posters are available at Ontario.ca/covidsafety. These include multilingual tip sheets for employers.