Ontario Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says that the government will spare no expense to ensure the health and safety of employees.
While the majority of businesses have been compliant, the Minister has pointed to some troubling signs. Recently in a blitz in the Hastings-Prince Edward Public Health Unit, 49% of the businesses were not COVID compliant with workplace health regulations. He is urging businesses to visit the Government’s COVID-19 Safety Website, available here, and review the tips sheet, use the posters, and above all make a safety plan. He says a COVID-19 safety plan is required as the province begins to re-open.
McNaughton says the ministry has hundreds of inspectors on the ground and will not hesitate to enforce restrictions. The ministry has so far closed down 63 unsafe workplaces over COVID violations, and have carried out over 37,000 investigations. He says the return of some areas to the colour-coded re-opening framework will not change the enforcement of workplace safety guidelines, and inspectors will still be making routine checks on box stores and smaller retailers.
McNaughton urges managers, supervisors, and employees to work together to make sure their environment is safe as the province begins to re-open. Employees do have a right to refuse unsafe work and managers have an obligation to maintain safety. If employers refuse to act, employees can call the ministry anonymously at 1-877-202-0008. All tips will be investigated by the Ministry of Labour.
**With files from Trevor Smith-Millar