While covering an incident in Peterborough, it became apparent that there are many layers (pun intended) to the mask mandates currently in place from the Ontario government.
The mask mandate is seemingly being aggressively enforced without exception, despite the fact that the legislation surrounding masking clearly outlines that there are exceptions to the rule.
Under the Reopening Ontario Act, specifically Regulation 364-20, Section 2, General Compliance, specifically brackets (4) and (6); it states that masks are required, BUT that exemptions exist and goes on to list all the reasons that individuals are exempt. Then in bracket 6 it confirms “it is not necessary for a person to present evidence... of their exemptions.“
Sounds great on paper, right?
Unfortunately, I discovered that Peterborough police are using bullying tactics, under the guise of the Trespass Act (without actually fining anyone), to rid areas of those claiming to have exemptions to mask mandates.
For some reason, the law is only being enforced in one direction. The Peterborough police are going after the mask exempt, but not after business owners who aren't abiding by the exemption law.
After an entire day of reporting, in-person discussions with police, several phone calls with public health and the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and further attempts to seek clarification from Peterborough Police Service — no one could give me a straight answer on the law.
I got a whole lot of deflection, but not a lot of clarity about the behaviour of the police, or acknowledgement of people's right to an exemption from wearing a mask.