Inspection blitz looking for public health order compliance from big box stores

KITCHENER —
Provincial officials say an inspection blitz looking at big box stores in and around Toronto will likely come to Waterloo Region soon.

The move is designed to tackle workplace outbreaks, making sure the stores are following lockdown rules like making sure people are wearing masks and operating at 25 per cent capacity.

The inspections come after complaints that box stores continue to operate during the second state of emergency.

“The Walmart, the Costco, they got the golden egg and the small businesses get the crumbs,” said Julie Kwiecinski with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

This weekend’s blitz will hit Toronto, Hamilton, Peel, York and Durham.

Inspectors will focus on problematic workplaces, including outbreaks, manufacturing, distribution centres, food processing and publicly accessible essential services like grocery stores.

The inspectors will work with local bylaw and police to carry out the inspections.

Waterloo regional police officials said they’re aware of the blitz. Outbreaks in the region have increased significantly in the second wave.

A spokesperson for public health said they don’t have information about expanding the blitz at this time, but said they’re working closely with local partners to make referrals to the province.

Companies could face a $10-million fine under the Reopening Ontario Act.