TORONTO -- Ontario retailers caught price gouging during COVID-19 crisis will face "very large fines," according to Premier Doug Ford, who said a new order will be issued in the coming days.

Ford shared his visceral reaction to reports of price gouging on Thursday, calling the practice “disgusting” and promised to criminalize any pandemic-related price hikes. 

price gouging

His comments came after social media images showed a container of Lysol disinfectant wipes at high-end grocer Pusateri’s on sale for $29.99, roughly five times the regular price. 

The premier said he had an “in-depth conversation” about the subject at cabinet but stopped short of issuing an order afforded to the government under the Emergency Management act. 

Instead, Ford said, the Attorney General and Solicitor General will work on a more comprehensive package to deal with retailers who take advantage of customers during COVID-19. 

“I just won’t tolerate it,” Ford said. 

“Anyone who wants to gouge the public in these times, we’re going to come down hard. We’re going to come down really hard on them.”

Ford promised retailers who add a pandemic-related surcharge to high demand products could face “very strict and very large fines.” 

The premier said an announcement would be made “in the next day or so.”