COVID-19 Update for March 28, 2020 – 2:00pm

Premier Doug Ford’s daily briefing focused on two main updates: reinforcing commitments to crack down on price gouging and lowering the limit for gatherings from 50 people to five.

Ford started his remarks by praising frontline workers – in health care, child care and manufacturing – for their “heroic” response to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also recognized the many Ontarians who are doing their part to flatten the COVID-19 curve, but noted that there are “a few bad apples out there.” He took specific aim at companies and individuals who are hiking prices on essential goods and vowed to fight this “with a vengeance.”

Protecting Ontarians from price gouging

Effective immediately, the government has issued an emergency order that retail businesses and individuals in Ontario cannot charge unfair prices for essential goods (including safety equipment and materials).

Individual offenders can face a fine of $750, or, if summoned to court and convicted, a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and one year in jail. If convicted, a company director or officer could face a fine of up to $500,000 and up to a year in jail, and a corporation could face a fine of up to $10 million.

The Premier said he is doing this with the support of the Retail Council of Canada and the Independent Grocers. He encouraged Ontarians to report instances of price gouging to a new government hotline: 1-800-889-9768.

With his impassioned remarks the Premier warned retailers who violate these rules, “we are coming after you and we will shut you down.”

New emergency orders

The other major measure Premier Ford announced at his early afternoon briefing, based on the advice of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, is a pending reduction in non-essential gatherings from 50 people to five people. (Exemptions for essential business, child care facilities and families of more than five would apply).

Ford’s cabinet will discuss this measure this afternoon, and if approved it will come into effect tonight.

If you have questions about this update please let us know.

The Enterprise Team

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