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On June 8, 2022, the Ontario government announced that the existing mask requirements for most higher-risk indoor settings (“Mask Requirements”) expires on June 11, 2022, at 12:00 a.m. and will only remain in effect for long-term care and retirement homes.

The expiration of the Mask Requirements on June 11, 2022, applies to the following settings:

  • public transit;
  • health care settings (e.g., hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, and home and community care);
  • licensees operating a children’s residence within the meaning of Part IX of the Child, Youth and Family Services Act, 2017; and
  • shelters and other congregate care settings that provide care and services to medically and socially vulnerable individuals.

Further, the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health’s Directives (“Directives”) are also expiring on June 11, 2022, and will be replaced by Ministry of Health guidance regarding when masks should be worn in hospitals and other health care settings for health care workers and organizations.

Takeaways for Employers

Despite Mask Requirements expiring for most settings on June 11, 2022, organizations should consider the specific risks within their workplace and decide whether they wish to maintain their own masking policies. Relevant factors to consider in assessing the need to maintain a masking policy include whether employees frequently interact with members of the public, and whether employees are required to work in close proximity and it is not feasible to maintain social distancing measures.

Employers that operate in higher-risk indoor settings that are still subject to Mask Requirements, such as long-term care homes or retirement homes, should ensure that they are enforcing the Mask Requirements while individuals are in their indoor setting.

Employers should also consider their duty to accommodate those workers who cannot wear a mask because of a protected ground of discrimination under Ontario’s Human Rights Code.

For advice about how the expiration of Mask Requirements in most settings will impact your organization, contact one of our lawyers.