Price Gouging: Doug Ford says offenders face fines of up to $500,000 for charging unfair prices

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Ontario Premier Doug Ford makes an announcement declaring a state of emergency for the province, at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Health Minister Christine Elliott and Dr. David Williams, the province's chief medical officer of health, look on. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

TORONTO: Premier Doug Ford announced new penalties to combat price gouging and hold offenders accountable for raising prices significantly on the necessary goods Ontarians need to protect themselves and their families from COVID-19.

Effective immediately, the government has issued an emergency order that retail businesses and individuals in Ontario cannot charge unfair prices for necessary goods.

Individual offenders can face a ticket of $750, or, if summoned to court and convicted, could face 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.

“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,” said Premier Doug Ford. “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.”

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.

“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,” said Lisa Thompson, Minister of Government and Consumer Services. “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 by filing a complaint at 1-800-889-9768 between 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday to Friday, or by filing a report online.

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