In early November, the Ontario Government mobilized approximately 200 provincial offence and by-law officers in a campaign aimed to educate, enforce, and ensure businesses are complying with COVID-19 Workplace Safety Regulations.
Since March 2020, the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) has conducted over 20,000 site visits to Ontario businesses. Is your business ready?Tweet
These inspections are not scheduled in advance, and businesses cannot deny the officers access to the workplace premises.
MOL officers specifically visited businesses in the regions of Peel and London-Middlesex. The campaign is currently underway in Waterloo Region and will move next to the regions of:
- Eastern Ontario
- City of Toronto
This is all occurring under the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act 2020.
While education is part of their focus, it is important for businesses to understand that these officers can levy fines and penalties for non-compliance, which may range from a ticket of $750 to much more significant penalties.
If convicted, an individual can be fined up to $100,000 ($500,000 if a director or officer of a corporation) and face imprisonment of up to one year. A corporation can be fined up to $10 million.
Any business required to have a Workplace Safety Plan should ensure it is prepared and available for inspection.
Compliant plans will outline the steps and precautions a business has put in place to ensure they are meeting the public health and safety requirements, and the Reopening Ontario (A Flexible Response to COVID-19) Act, 2020.
The following businesses are presently required to have a workplace safety plan if they operate in a region of the province not currently coded “Green/Prevent” under the COVID-19 Response Framework:
- Restaurants, bars and food or drink establishments
- Sports and recreational facilities
- Meeting and event spaces
- Personal care services
- Casinos, bingo halls and other gaming establishments
- Cinemas and performing arts facilities
Being left off this list does not exempt you from workplace safety provisions. Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), employers must take “every precaution reasonable” to protect the worker and provide a safe work environment.
If you have, or plan to have, your employees return to the workplace, you must have a plan.
Every business should review its health and safety protocols to ensure adequate control measures to address COVID-19.
Not sure where to start? Your PayEvo HX Business Partners can help guide you through creating a plan that is right for your business. HX is the new HR. We provide expert Human Experience support, on-demand for PE Clients.
Feel free to email your HR related questions to our HX team: HX@PaymentEvolution.com