The pandemic is over. Why are governments making masks mandatory now?

The pandemic is over. Why are governments making masks mandatory now?

Tonight, we're launching our newest campaign — MaskExemption.ca.

Yet for whatever reason, governments across Canada have decided that now — not back in March or April — is the time to make masks mandatory for the general public. It’s a decision that has a questionable basis in medical science and seems to have more to do with politics.

Mask bylaws contain many legal exemptions

But a review of several of the mask bylaws shows that legislators might actually be aware that their laws are unenforceable from a civil liberties point of view.

For example, Toronto’s mask bylaw, Bylaw 541-2020, has a number of exemptions built right into the law, including section 2(a)(2) “persons with an underlying medical condition which inhibits their ability to wear a Mask”, and even section 2(a)(5) “persons who are reasonably accommodated by not wearing a Mask or Face Covering in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code.” The Ontario Human Rights Code contains a list of grounds, including “creed” — which means a set of deeply-held beliefs.

It is illegal for shopkeepers to ask members of the public to prove they’re exempt

Most importantly, the bylaw specifically forbids shopkeepers from asking customers to prove that they have any of these exemptions, section 2(d) says “The policy shall not require employees or members of the public to provide proof of any of the exemptions set out in section 2(a).”

That’s the wording of the Toronto bylaw, which covers Canada’s largest city.

Other cities across Canada are adopting similar mask bylaws, and in the weeks ahead, we’ll document the exemptions in those jurisdictions.

To learn more and to get a free-to-download card, please visit MaskExemption.ca.

NEXT: Civil liberties lawyer Aaron Rosenberg joins me to discuss the Toronto’s mask bylaw, and to tell shopkeepers what they need to know about about mask exemptions.

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