Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in March 2022 after after masking requirements were lifted across much of the country – including gyms, restaurants, and grocery stores. We have republished this piece in light of the recent easing of masking policies in high-risk settings.
Most remaining mask mandates in Ontario expire on June 11, including on public transit and for those visiting hospitals. Health-care workers will also no longer be required to wear masks but will instead be given guidelines for different circumstances under which to mask. Provincial mask mandates will remain in effect for long-term care homes.
This recent announcement has not been without controversy. A number of hospitals have stated that they will continue to enforce masking despite the change in provincial health policy. With official testing records accounting for only an unknown portion of estimated infections, many of the debates around masking highlighted in March following the easing of public health restrictions are yet again bubbling to the surface.
This week, Ontario and Nova Scotia joined most Canadian provinces in lifting mask mandates for a slough of public settings including retail, gyms and restaurants. Quebec and P.E.I. are expected to follow suit in April. And while restrictions vary province to province, most have lifted mask mandates in schools or expect to once the March break ends, leaving many to wonder if the move has come too soon.
We asked a pool of experts if they think the time is right to lift mask mandates in Canada or if we’re moving too fast. This is what they had to say.
‘Masks as a personal responsibility is a good thing but it’s unrealistic.’
‘It’d be better if we created systems, strategies and interventions to help people stay home and not have to go to work when they’re sick.’