This is how many tickets inspectors have issued to small businesses in Ontario this year
Businesses across Ontario have been subject to a number of different health and safety protocols over the course of the past year to prevent the transmission of COVID-19, and provincial enforcement teams have been performing inspections to ensure owners are complying.
This week, the province revealed just how many businesses are now complying with these public health measures as well as how many have received tickets for violating the rules since the start of 2021.
According to the province, occupational health and safety inspectors and multi-ministry teams of provincial offences officers have conducted more than 15,800 COVID-related workplace inspections and investigations since the beginning of the year.
During that time, inspectors and officers issued over 11,900 orders and 410 COVID-19-related tickets, and they also stopped unsafe work related to the virus a total of 20 times.
These provincial inspections are separate from those conducted by the city's enforcement teams, which have been out and about checking on businesses and individuals throughout the pandemic.
"These initiatives, in consultation with local public health units, include targeted blitzes of big-box stores, small businesses and the farming sector, with a particular focus on areas of high transmission such as breakrooms," reads a news release from the province.
Fortunately, compliance with health and safety measures has increased substantially over the past couple of months.
Our government’s two-stage workplace safety campaigns are having a positive impact on businesses.— Rudy Cuzzetto, MPP (@RudyCuzzetto) March 18, 2021
During follow-up visits, small businesses have shown significant improvement in masking, screening, and using #COVID19ON workplace safety plans.
Read more:https://t.co/Mb5hnUrgVW pic.twitter.com/E5lmJH97BY
Following initial inspections from Feb. 25 to 28, in which 110 provincial offences officers conducted over 1,000 COVID-19 related workplace safety visits in Durham Region, Eastern Ontario and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, follow-up visits in March revealed an uptick in compliance.
Provincial offences officers found that approximately 73 per cent of businesses were in compliance with public health measures, representing a 20 per cent increase in compliance.
"The majority of the visits were made to small businesses, with fewer than 25 employees, which had been closed during the provincial shutdown," notes the release. "Follow-up visits in early March have shown significant improvement, especially in the areas of masking, screening and using COVID-19 workplace safety plans."
Workplace inspections continue in Ontario with a focus on educating small businesses across the province to help them reopen safely, and follow-up visits with a focus on enforcement are conducted when needed.
At present, follow-up visits are currently taking place in Eastern Ontario, Durham Region and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph, and are scheduled for York Region, Waterloo Region and Windsor-Essex next.
"The overwhelming majority of small business owners are protecting their workers and customers from COVID-19. Sometimes they just need a bit of help, which we're here to provide," said Minister of Labour Monte McNaughton in a statement.
"With inspectors out every day across the province, this balance of education and enforcement is ensuring businesses of all sizes follow the rules. Our government's education-focused workplace safety blitzes have demonstrated that businesses are learning to operate safely during COVID-19 and appreciate the support and guidance from the province."
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