June 30, 2020, Toronto City Council is expected to endorse a report from the Medical officer of Health and the City Solicitor making masks or face coverings a requirement in Toronto public places.

If enacted, the temporary by-law will require business or facility operators to have a policy in place to ensure masks or face coverings be worn by the ‘general public’ when entering enclosed public spaces (e.g. grocery store, gym). The by-law will also require businesses to have corresponding signage and training for all staff on the by-law. Children under two years of age and those who cannot wear for medical reasons will be exempt.

The Chief Medical Officer explained this morning that workers and employees are not covered by the proposed by-law, as they are subject to the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. As such, the by-law will only apply to those outside of occupational settings.

If approved, the Council decision would require the wearing of masks or face coverings in public settings beginning July 7, 2020. The by-law requiring face masks or coverings would expire following the first Council Meeting after summer break at 12:01 am. Currently, meetings are scheduled for September 30 and October 1, 2020.

Toronto has already mandated that, as of July 2, 2020, transit passengers on the TTC will be required to wear a face mask or covering.

The face mask and covering by-law is a recommendation from Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. Failure to comply with the by-law may result in set fines.

Mask orders in remaining GTHA municipalities

A regional approach is currently underway to coordinate the mandatory wearing of masks when entering any enclosed public spaces across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA). Mayors and Chairs in these areas have formally asked the province to impose the use of masks or face coverings by the public when entering an enclosed public space.

It is expected that similar by-laws will be endorsed by Peel and York Regions in the coming days. To date, Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health is the only area to enact a mandatory mask or face covering order when entering most businesses.

Ottawa, Brampton and Mississauga have already made masks or face coverings mandatory on their respective transit systems.