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COVID-19 mask requirements being lifted across most of Canada

Friday, March 11, 2022 @ 3:49 PM | By Terry Davidson


Ontario, Manitoba and Newfoundland are on the cusp of lifting their mandatory mask mandates, while others, such as British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta have done so.

The past several weeks have seen provinces from across Canada put forth plans to greatly loosen COVID-19 health restrictions, given high rates of vaccination.

With “key COVID-19 indicators stabilizing or improving,” Manitoba’s government announced in February it will lift its masking requirements March 14. It had already moved to a “Yellow” caution level and lifted capacity limits for outdoor gatherings and various venues. It also lifted some requirements around self-isolation and proof of vaccination.  

Ontario officials recently said their province will lift its masking requirements in most settings as of March 21 — save for health-care facilities, public transit, long-term care homes and congregate care settings.

“With the peak of Omicron behind us, Ontario has been able to cautiously and gradually move through its reopening milestones,” said provincial chief medical officer of health Dr. Kieran Moore earlier this week.

Still, Moore said, Ontarians “must remain kind, considerate and respectful toward those who continue wearing a mask.”

Nova Scotia will end all of its public health restrictions, including mandatory masking, according to a release

Prince Edward Island will remove its masking requirement on April 7 as part of its Moving On transition plan.

British Columbia just removed its mask mandate. On March 11, that provincial order was repealed, according to a news release. However, people have the option of continuing to wear a mask, and businesses and organizations can choose to have a mask requirement remain in place on their premises.

On March 1, Alberta dropped almost all its pandemic-related public health measures, including its provincewide mask mandate — save for public health facilities, continuing care and public transit.

Also that day, it was reported the province would be introducing legislation that would effectively force its municipalities to lift their respective mask bylaws.

Health officials in Newfoundland and Labrador announced last month that the province will end various restrictions, including mandatory masking, by March 14. The practice of masking, however, would still be recommended.

Saskatchewan dropped its masking requirements on Feb. 28 but gave businesses, workplaces and event organizers the option of requesting that staff, patrons and visitors continue to mask-up. Proof of vaccination “or a negative test for public access into specific places” expired earlier that month.  

However, at least one jurisdiction will keep masking requirements in place for the time being.  

The northern territory of Nunavut recently announced plans to lift its public health emergency as of April 11, which will see the loosening of restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings and capacity limits for various venues in many communities. Masks, however, will remain mandatory.

If you have any information, story ideas or news tips for The Lawyer’s Daily, please contact Terry Davidson at t.davidson@lexisnexis.ca or call 905-415-5899.