Doug Ford declares war on price gougers taking advantage of COVID-19 outbreak

'I have zero tolerance for this kind of nonsense,' Ford said  in a press conference. 'We are coming after you and we will shut you down'

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Ontario declared war on price gougers Saturday introducing steep fines and the possibility of imprisonment for those seeking to make huge profits on essential goods amid the provincial lockdown during a coronavirus outbreak.

Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he was ready to “throw the book” at those who hiked prices on essential goods by five or ten times their usual value.

He said essential goods included things like face masks, hand sanitizer, protective gloves and disinfectant wipes.


By emergency order, Ford said new regulations meant that anyone convicted of price gouging could be fined $100,000 and up to a year in jail. Company directors could face fines of $500,000 and a year in jail, and convicted corporations could be fined up to $10 million.

Ford said he was disgusted that in the “darkest days” of the province there were some bad apples who had tried to take advantage of vulnerable people.

“I have zero tolerance for this kind of nonsense,” Ford said  in a press conference. “We are coming after you and we will shut you down.”

He urged anyone who saw examples of price gouging to report them to the province.

The new legislation comes two days after Ford at a press conference called out Pusateri’s Fine Foods, a boutique grocery store with a few locations in Toronto, for charging $29.99 for Lysol wipes.

“I hear that they’re selling hand wipes for $30 a tin. That’s disgusting. Absolutely disgusting a company like that would be selling hand wipes for that cost,” he said Thursday.

In an email to CBC, Frank Luchetta, president and CEO of Pusateri Fine Foods, apologized for the oversight that led to the “incorrect” pricing of Lysol Disinfecting Wipes.

“This was our mistake, our error, our oversight and we apologize to everyone impacted,” he wrote.

Anyone who purchased the product for the hiked-up price would receive a refund, according to a statement on the company’s website.

In his press conference Saturday, Ford also announced new rules for the size of gatherings allowed in Ontario. The new rules allow gatherings of just five people, down from 50. The rules do not apply to essential services, child care facilities, or families of more than five.