Price Gouging: Ontario Will Fine Vendors up to $500,000 and a Year in Jail

Premier Doug Ford has announced penalties to combat price gouging and hold offenders accountable for raising prices significantly on the necessary goods. To this effect, the government has issued an emergency order that retail businesses and individuals in Ontario cannot charge unfair prices for necessary goods.

“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.”

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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.

Penalities for price gouging:

  • 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.

REPORT PRICE GOUGING

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.

As of March 28, 2020, 10:30 a.m. ET, there are 1,118 COVID-19 cases and 18 COVID-19 related deaths in Ontario.

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