Ontario premier Doug Ford is condemning the practice of price gouging during the COVID-19 pandemic and says individuals or businesses who price gouge could face staggering fines.
Ford says his government has issued an emergency order to stop retailers or people from charging, what he described as unfair prices for essential goods. He was visibly angry during a news conference when he put price gougers on notice.
“If you’re selling face masks, protective gloves, cold medicine, hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, and you’re hiking the price five times, ten times what it should be, you’re done. You’re gone, because we are coming after you. We have drastically increased the penalties for this disgusting activity,” Ford said.
Individuals could face a fine of about $750. If convicted they could face a maximum penalty of a year in jail or up to $100,000. The director of a company, if convicted, could face a fine of a half-million dollars and a year in jail. A corporation could face a fine of up to $10 million.
Ford said consumers will know what constitutes price gouging on products and he asked them to call Consumer Protection Ontario if they see any undue price hikes.