Labour ministry launches zero-tolerance workplace inspections in Peel, Halton regions

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Throughout the weekend, the Ministry of Labour will be deploying about 100 inspectors in Peel and Halton regions to ensure big box stores, warehouses and manufacturers are following the rules. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)
Throughout the weekend, the Ministry of Labour will be deploying about 100 inspectors in Peel and Halton regions to ensure big box stores, warehouses and manufacturers are following the rules. (Evan Mitsui/CBC - image credit)

The Ontario government is cracking down on workplace safety in sectors hardest hit by COVID-19 beginning Saturday with a series of zero-tolerance inspections.

Throughout the weekend, the Ministry of Labour will be deploying about 100 inspectors in Peel and Halton Regions to ensure big box stores, warehouses and manufacturers are following the rules.

"With more contagious variants identified in many parts of the province, it has never been more important that businesses have the appropriate health and safety protocols in place to stop the spread of COVID-19," said Labour Minister Monte McNaughton in a news release Thursday.

Speaking to reporters Thursday, he said the government continues to see a lack of masking protocols, as well as no safety plans or pre-screening for workers and customers at some workplaces.

"We will have zero tolerance for those bad actors who break safety requirements as it puts the lives of workers and the public at risk," McNaughton said.

"Our officers will not hesitate to issue tickets to those not following the rules."

Since the beginning of this year, the ministry says, inspectors and officers have conducted more than 19,500 COVID-19-related workplace inspections and investigations across the province.

During those visits, they said they've issued over 15,000 orders and over 450 COVID-19 related tickets, and stopped unsafe work related to COVID-19 a total of 24 times.

CFIB calling on province for more help for small businesses

Meanwhile, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says the Ford government needs to do more to help small businesses survive the latest stay-at-home order that took effect Thursday.

"CFIB is calling on the Ontario [government] to allow appointment based sales and service during the month long lockdown," Dan Kelly said on social media.

"Allowing a small business to safely serve an individual customer with an appointment can work in retail, personal services and more."

Under the new shutdown restrictions, only stores that sell goods such as groceries, cleaning supplies and pharmacy products can remain open — and sales are limited to essential items.

Non-essential retail can open for curbside pickup or delivery only.