Provincial officers have inspected more than 1,000 big-box stores and essential retail businesses in Ontario so far this year, and have issued just over 110 tickets in connection with COVID-19 violations.
In a news release issued Friday, the government said that 1,147 inspections were conducted since Jan. 1 and that 400 additional inspections have been scheduled in Toronto, Hamilton and Kitchener-Waterloo for the weekend.
In total, officials say that 112 tickets have been issued to businesses and individuals for not complying with COVID-19 public health measures.
The government said the most common reasons for a ticket were failure to properly screen staff and customers, improper social distancing and a lack of adequate COVID-19 workplace safety plans.
“We’ve marshalled hundreds of officers to inspect over 1,000 businesses in a few short weeks, and we’ll keep it up as long as there are bad actors out there,” Monte McNaughton, Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development, said in a statement.
“This late in the pandemic, there is absolutely no excuse for owners, staff and customers alike not to be following health and safety rules.”
The province did not reveal the names of the businesses ticketed as a result of a COVID-19 inspection.
Officials said that another inspection blitz is expected this weekend followed by a campaign in Halton Region and Huron Perth next week.
A blitz last weekend in Ottawa, Windsor, Niagara and Durham regions resulted in 98 tickets being issued, officials said. Forty-one per cent of businesses inspected that weekend had at least one issue of non-compliance.
Individuals found violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act can be fined up to $100,000 and imprisoned for as long as a year, while corporations can be fined up to $10 million per charge.
Any individual in Ontario found not to be complying with provincial COVID-19 orders can also be fined $750.