Penalties will now be enforced on businesses and individuals who price gouge on necessary goods in Ontario as individuals could face a maximum penalty of a $100,000 fine and a year in jail, while corporations could face a fine of up to $10 million.
ONTARIO - The Province announced new penalties today to combat price gouging, holding offenders accountable for raising prices significantly on the necessary goods people need to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.
Effective immediately, the provincial government has issued an emergency order that retail businesses and individuals in Ontario cannot charge unfair prices for necessary goods.
Individual offenders can receive a $750 ticket, or if bought to court and convicted, they could face a maximum penalty of a $100,000 and one year in jail.
Premier Doug Ford says these steps are being put in place to ensure families are safe.
"Starting today, we are taking serious steps to ensure our frontline workers, our families and our most vulnerable citizens have what they need to stay safe. We are putting an end to those trying to profit off of one of the darkest periods in our province's history. 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."
A company director or officer could face a fine of up to $500,000 and up to a year in jail if they're convicted, and a corporation could face a fine of up to $10 million.
Necessary goods include:
- Masks and gloves used as personal protective equipment in relation to infections.
- Non-prescription medications for the treatment of the symptoms of the coronavirus.
- Disinfecting agents intended for cleaning and disinfecting objects or humans.
- Personal hygiene products, including soap products and paper products.
Minister of Government and Consumer Services Lisa Thompson says the strict, new penalties are being put in place so businesses can stop charging unfair prices.
"As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve provincially and globally, we are seeing a shortage of necessary goods available to the public, such as hand sanitizers and household cleaners. We will not tolerate those taking advantage of these difficult times to charge unfair and unreasonable prices. It is not right and our government is taking swift and decisive action to put an end to it with extremely stiff penalties."
Consumers can report an individual who is price gouging can file a report online or they can file a complaint by calling 1-800-889-9768 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., from Monday to Friday.