Ontarians aren't afraid to make it known that they're pissed off. Almost 16,000 people have complained about price gouging in Ontario since Premier Doug Ford launched the province's reporting site. Ford announced the report form less than three weeks ago, on March 28.

The Ministry of Government and Consumer Services has received 15,597 questions or grievances about prices being inflated in the time of COVID-19, according to an email sent to Narcity by the ministry.*

Nearly 15,000 of those complaints were registered via the online portal.

Those stats are as of information available Tuesday, April 14.

The ministry notably received 8,000 complaints in the first six days of the site being live.

The tool was launched last month after weeks of reports of shelves emptying and lines lengthening in supermarkets around the province.

“Consumer Protection Ontario is reviewing these responses/complaints and is authorized to action complaints to local law enforcement where appropriate, where fines may be laid,” the ministry told Narcity.

The government has not confirmed, however, whether anyone or any business has actually been punished with a fine or a criminal charge, or which products and services have been the subject of complaints.

The site asks those individuals reporting instances of price gouging a series of questions.

Those include the type of product or service affected; the size, quantity, and price of each item; how much it typically costs; and where the price gouging was seen.

The ministry apparently hopes to be able to offer more details to the public in the next few days. 

The ministry tells Narcity that price gouging can result in a $750 ticket for an individual, a criminal charge, or fines of over $500,000 and up to $10 million for corporations and leading staff members.

On Monday, April 13, Ford extended Ontario's emergency act by another month.

That means all non-essential businesses, as well as public facilities and restaurants and bars, among other things, will remain closed well into May, unless anything changes massively before then.

In the meantime, other Ontario businesses are catching attention by using the most Canadian of objects to enforce social distancing, a hockey stick.

And, at the other end of the scale from price gouging, a Loblaws in Toronto was left unlocked on Easter Sunday and some opportunistic "shoppers" went to town.

So, you might say that right now, it looks like groceries are either inflated in price or unintentionally free. 

Ontario, yours to discover.

*This article has been updated.

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