Ontario launches workplace education and enforcement campaigns

Thursday, November 19, 2020

Inspection blitzes to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep workers safe

Province of Ontario, Canada logoThe Ontario government is launching a series of education and enforcement campaigns to ensure businesses across the province are taking the necessary steps to keep employees, consumers and the public safe. These campaigns will support the current efforts of police, municipal by-law officers, and public health inspectors to educate businesses and enforce COVID-19 health and safety requirements. Officers will be asking employers to produce their workplace safety plans.

Certain businesses and establishments in the Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, Red-Control, and Lockdown levels are required to develop a COVID-19 safety plan and make it available in writing for review. Whether workplaces are currently operating or planning to start up, employers need a plan to put controls in place to make the workplace safer for everyone.

COVID-19 Workplace Safety Plan mandatory for certain businesses in Yellow, Orange, Red, and Lockdown Levels

Businesses requiring a workplace safety plan include:

  • Restaurants, bars, and food or drink establishments
  • Sports and recreational facilities
  • Meeting and event spaces
  • Malls
  • Personal care services
  • Casinos, bingo halls, and other gaming establishments
  • Cinemas
  • Performing arts facilities

The campaigns are being carried out in strategic locations, drawing on a team of more than 200 provincial offences officers from across ministries. To date, three education and enforcement campaigns have taken place, and almost 1,000 workplaces have been visited. No tickets have been issued and all contraventions were resolved with compliance assistance.

During each visit, officers provide business owners with guidance on how to operate safely during the pandemic and comply with public health requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act. These campaigns were developed in consultation with local health units and support Ontario's COVID-19 Response Framework.

If a person or business is not found compliant with orders under the Reopening Ontario Act, they could be ticketed with a fine of $750 under the Reopening Ontario Act. Where prosecuted without issuing a ticket and on conviction, individuals could be fined up to $100,000, and directors and officers of a corporation could be fined up to $500,000. Any individual convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act could also receive a term of imprisonment of up to one year. The maximum fine for a corporation convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act is $10,000,000.

"We know that most businesses are doing all they can to operate safely and protect their workers and customers, but some still need support," said Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development. "I am confident in saying our government is there to help. These community safety campaigns will ensure all workplaces in Ontario have the resources and information they need to help stop the spread of COVID-19."


Workplace safety plan - Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development 

Using masks in the workplace - Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development