Ontario's Labour Minister says Waterloo Region has reason to be proud but there's still work to be done.
A team of 17 provincial offences officers checked in on 159 businesses across the Region from November 25th to 28th and found more than 85 per cent were meeting provincial standards for COVID-19 safety compliance.
"We know that, overwhelmingly, businesses have truly stepped up during the pandemic but there are some that haven't done enough and we're really focusing on increasing standards across all businesses with the intent on keeping businesses open," said Monte McNaughton, Ontario's Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development.
Of the 159 total businesses checked, 23 weren't quite meeting provincial standards - 18 of those in the retail industry, two in personal care services, two restaurants, and one fitness centre. McNaughton said the inspectors focused on the retail sector (making up 122 of the 159 total visits) at the request of our local public health unit.
McNaughton said there also seemed to be a couple of common issues.
"There are a number of things we continue to see, in some instances there's still not a health and safety plan and we continue to promote physical distancing and ensuring workers and customers are wearing a mask where they're supposed to be," said McNaughton.
"We want businesses to have a health and safety plan to make sure COVID-19 doesn't enter the workplace," McNaughton added. "We know this is obviously good for workers, good for customers, and it makes good business sense."
The numbers, meantime, do represent an increase in compliance compared to the first provincial blitz which took place from November 16th to 21st. In that blitz 313 businesses were visited with the focus on personal services, sports and recreation centres, retail, banquet halls, and shisha lounges.
At that time only 69 per cent were found to be meeting provincial COVID-19 guidelines.