TORONTO – New penalties were announced Saturday (March 28th) in an effort to deal with individuals and businesses which are price gouging during the provincial State of Emergency.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford made the announcement that the government had issued an emergency order to prevent the charging of unfair prices on necessities.
Goods covered under the order include: personal protective equipment like maskes and gloves; non-prescription medications related to treating the symptoms of COVID-19; cleaning and disinfecting products; and personal hygiene products like soap and paper products.
“Starting today, we are taking serious steps to ensure our front line workers, our families and our most vulnerable citizens have what they need to stay safe,” Ford said. “If you’re engaging in price gouging on necessary goods, we are going to slap you with a ticket or you could face fines or jail time.”
The move comes after reports earlier this week of a Toronto-area retailer charging over $20 for a package of disinfecting wipes. Asked at the time, Ford criticized the retailer and said he would take action. There have been no local reports of price gouging in the South Dundas area.
Individuals who are found to be price gouging can receive a ticket of up to $750. If summoned to court and convicted, they could face up to a $100,000 fine and one year in jail. Company directors or officers could face fines of up to $500,000 and up to one year in jail. Corporations convicted could be fined up to $10 million.
The provincial government has set up a complaint line at 1-800-889-9768 open Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The emergency order will remain in effect until the province is no longer under a State of Emergency.