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COVID-19 workplace inspections to focus on warehouses, distribution centres in Peel Region

Jacob Gawrysiak adjusts a sign on mannequin with key messages displayed in doorways of select small business pleading for action to support local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Tuesday, December 15, 2020. Toronto and Peel region continue to be in lockdown. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette

The next phase of Ontario’s workplace “inspection blitz” will focus on warehouses and distribution centres in Peel Region, where the sector has been hit with COVID-19 outbreaks.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says site visits began today.

“We are seeing the positive effect of having boots on the ground, ensuring businesses are following health and safety guidelines to protect their workers and customers from COVID-19,” said McNaughton as part of the government’s statement.

“Despite this progress, businesses, beware: We will continue with these workplace inspections as they play a key role in helping our province reopen and operate safely.”

Inspections will focus on adherence to pandemic safety plans, looking at measures like physical distancing, screening for infection, and mask-wearing.

McNaughton says Peel has a high number of essential workers, and employers who fail to keep them safe will be ticketed or shut down.

Provincial offences officers from across government, alongside local public health units and by-law departments,  are planning future inspection blitzes in the public health regions of Peterborough, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph and Eastern Ontario.

Previous campaigns have been in Toronto, Peel, York, Durham, Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, Waterloo, Windsor, Ottawa, Huron-Perth, and Simcoe Muskoka.

Corporations can be fined $1,000 on the spot for failing to comply with health orders.

The labour department says 218 tickets have been issued since inspections focused on big-box stores began last month.

Three regions were placed under the province’s “Green-Prevent” zone on Wednesday, ending the stay-at-home order.

The stay-at-home order will still apply to 28 public health regions until Tuesday, February 16.

For Toronto, Peel, and York Regions, the order will remain in effect until Monday, February 22, but the Ford government says any sudden increase in COVID-19 cases could delay that plan.

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