Ontario Government’s Ongoing COVID-19 Workplace Education and Enforcement Campaigns
The Ontario government has announced that it will be doing a series of education and enforcement campaigns to ensure Ontario businesses across all sectors are taking the necessary steps to keep employees, consumers and the public safe. Here’s what employers need to know:
- The campaigns support current efforts of police, municipal by-law officers and public health inspectors to (i) educate Ontario businesses and (ii) enforce COVID-19 health and safety requirements.
- More than 200 provincial offences officers are carrying out the campaigns.
- Officers visiting Ontario businesses will provide education regarding how to operate safely and to comply with public health requirements under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020 (“Reopening Ontario Act”).
- Officers will also be checking to ensure businesses are complying with their obligations under the Reopening Ontario Act and will (among other things) be asking businesses to produce a copy of their COVID-19 workplace safety plan. Certain businesses and organizations in the Yellow-Protect, Orange-Restrict, and Red-Control levels must have a written COVID-19 workplace safety plan and make it available for review. All businesses and organizations permitted to be open in the Grey-Lockdown level must have a written COVID-19 safety plan and also make it available for review. For more information on a COVID-19 workplace safety plan and the different levels of public health measures, please see our blog Ontario Government Releases New COVID-19 Workplace Guide and the Ontario government’s COVID-19 Response Framework.
- Non-compliant businesses could be ticketed with a fine of up to $750 under the Reopening Ontario Act, and if prosecuted, individuals could be fined up to $100,000, and directors and officers of a corporation could be fined up to $500,000. The maximum fine for a corporation convicted of an offence under the Reopening Ontario Act is $10,000,000. The Reopening Ontario Act also provides that any individual convicted of an offence under the legislation could receive a term of imprisonment of up to one year.
- Employers can stay up to date regarding the Ontario government’s workplace compliance initiatives by regularly checking the government’s compliance initiatives schedule.