Nine Dollarama stores in Quebec face fines for COVID-19 safety violations

The dollar store chain said Friday it's attracting shoppers from 'all walks of life'' as the higher cost of living takes a toll on household spending. Mario Beauregard/THE CANADIAN PRESS

Quebec’s workplace safety board (CNESST) has handed out fines to nine Dollarama stores for alleged non-compliance with novel coronavirus health guidelines.

The stores are located in the Capitale-Nationale, Gaspésie, Yamaska, Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Saguenay and Valleyfield regions.

In a statement issued Thursday evening, the CNESST said 11 fines were issued.

The workplace safety board did not provide details about the violations or the exact amount of the fines. The fines can vary between $1,752 and $3,502. In the event of a repeat offence, the fine can go up to $14,000.

Since March 13, CNESST inspectors have visited 68 Dollarama stores. These visits have led to 124 statements to fix problems at those locations.

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READ MORE: New Brunswick Public Health shuts down 9 Dollarama stores for potential COVID-19 exposure

Dollarama, for its part, denies being at fault and says that since the start of the pandemic, it has implemented protocols related to limiting COVID-19, which are regularly reviewed with employees.

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“We are very surprised and very disappointed to be targeted in this way, especially in a context where we are in regular communication with the CNESST and that at no time, over the past few weeks, have these concerns and even the existence of these statements of offence have not been brought to our attention,” said media relations manager Lyla Radmanovich.

The company, which operates more than 360 stores in Quebec and employs more than 5,000 people, says it is in favour of a discussion with the management of the CNESST and Quebec’s labour minister to discuss their concerns.

In the field, the CNESST says it ensures that workplaces have put in place and apply the preventive measures required to protect the health and safety of employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In New Brunswick, the province’s public health department has ordered the closure of nine Dollarama stores for 48 hours due to possible exposure to COVID-19.

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