Ontario Mask Mandates | The Facts

In a world where public health guidelines are constantly evolving, staying informed about mask mandates in Ontario is crucial, especially amidst the ongoing challenges of COVID-19.

This blog aims to provide clear, up-to-date, and accessible information about the current mask requirements in Ontario’s public spaces, workplaces, and educational institutions. Whether you’re an employee or employer, our goal is to demystify the complexities of these mandates, ensuring you have the knowledge needed to navigate these regulations safely and legally.

NOTE: If you’re looking for information about mask mandates in other provinces, please see our pages on mask mandates for Alberta and B.C. mask mandates.


Is there a mask mandate for Ontario workplaces?

No. There is currently no mask mandate for all workplaces in Ontario. However, masks are required in the following settings in Ontario:

History of mask mandates

On March 21, 2022, the province lifted the mandate for nearly all workplaces. On June 11, 2022, the requirement for masks on public transit and in healthcare settings ended.

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Can an employer ask employees to wear a mask?

Yes. An employer can still choose to have employees wear a mask at work, even if mask mandates have ended for most places in Ontario. The company must accommodate workers who can’t wear a mask because of a legitimate disability or medical condition.

WATCH: Alex Lucifero, an Ottawa employment lawyer and Partner at Samfiru Tumarkin LLP answers questions about employment rights when mask mandates lift.

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Can an employee refuse to wear a mask?

Employees must wear a mask at work if their employer mandates it. An employer may be able to discipline an employee for not wearing a mask in the workplace, even if there is no government mandate in effect.

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Can my employer fire me for not wearing a mask?

After a fair amount of time passes and COVID-19 has largely abated, an employer will likely be able to fire an employee “without cause” (with severance pay) if they refuse to wear a mask.

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Can an employee quit if they don’t want to wear a mask?

While an employee who quits their job voluntarily is generally not owed severance, employees who resign because their employer continues to require masks at work may certainly have an entitlement to severance. When enough time passes and the threat of COVID-19 significantly declines, a company’s mandatory mask requirement may no longer be reasonable. At that point, an employee who does not want to wear a mask may be able to claim constructive dismissal, treat the situation as a termination, and quit with a proper severance package — as much as 24 months’ pay.

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Can an employee still wear a mask at work?

Yes. An employee can decide to continue wearing a mask at work to protect themselves from COVID-19, even though there is no mandate from the Government of Ontario that masks must be worn.

Dr. Kieran Moore, Ontairo’s chief medical officer of health, suggests that individuals who remain high-risk should continue to wear a mask when in public spaces and that the public remains respectful and considerate of others who choose to continue mask-wearing.

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Can an employer fire an employee for wearing a mask at work?

An employer in Ontario can fire an employee for almost any reason, including the fact that they are wearing a mask at work when there is no active government mandate requiring one. This is called a termination without cause. If an employee is fired in this manner, the company must give them full severance pay. How much severance pay a person gets in Ontario is determined by many factors, and can be as much as 24 months’ pay.

What an employer can’t do is fire someone for discriminatory reasons, including situations where the employee needs to wear a mask because of a disability or medical condition. A termination in that case is illegal, and a violation of a person’s human rights. The employee must be accommodated.

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Are masks required in Ontario schools?

No. Children, students, staff, and visitors are not required to wear a mask in school settings to protect against COVID-19.

On Sep. 2, 2023, Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce said that “masks will not be required in Ontario schools”.

“We have taken significant action to improve ventilation in every single school, deploying 100,000 HEPA filter units and improving mechanical ventilation using the highest MERV-13 quality filters,” said Lecce.

Vaccine passports in Ontario

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