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Ontario hiring 98 more labour inspectors to speed up pandemic workplace response

A man and woman wearing protective face masks walk along Bloor Street in Toronto on Aug. 29, 2020, amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Rachel Verbin THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Rachel Verbin

Ontario says it will hire 98 new labour inspectors this fall as part of efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in workplaces.

Labour Minister Monte McNaughton says the government will begin to recruit the workers in October.

The hiring blitz will increase the number of government inspectors from 409 to 507 and will cost $11.6 million.

McNaughton says the inspectors will allow the government to respond faster to situations that may arise during the pandemic.

Labour inspectors investigate workplace hazards, injuries, fatalities and work refusals.

They also have the power to stop unsafe work, order employers to comply with the law, and initiate prosecutions.