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Ontario ramps up COVID-19 inspections in manufacturing


Ontario is expanding its COVID-19 safety inspections of manufacturing and food processing workplaces, warehouses and distribution centres.

About 100 provincial offences officers will visit 1,500 workplaces in Toronto, Hamilton and regions of Durham, Halton, Peel and York between May 10 and May 28.

Officers made 718 visits to workplaces during the first week of the campaign, inspecting for COVID-19 workplace safety requirements under the Reopening Ontario Act.

Officers are checking that employers screen employees and visitors, ensure workers maintain physical distance and be masked, where needed, and that businesses have safety plans, among other measures.

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They are also providing information on workplace rapid antigen screening, supports available for businesses, as well as the province’s Infectious Disease Emergency Leave and paid sick days benefits.

Only 15 per cent of businesses inspected last week were flagged for follow-up visits and nine tickets were issued.

Manufacturing and food processing workplaces, warehouses and distribution sectors make up 50 per cent of COVID-19 cases reported in Ontario workplaces.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, provincial offences officers and occupational health and safety inspectors have done more than 75,000 COVID-19-related inspections and investigations.

They have issued over 630 tickets and stopped unsafe work related to COVID-19 93 times during that period.