Provincial Requirements Respecting Masks to Change Dramatically on March 21, 2022
The province of Ontario has announced that, effective March 21, 2022, provincial regulations will no longer require that masks be worn in most places. The key exceptions (where masks will still be required) are as follows:
- Public transit;
- Hospitals and medical clinics;
- Long-term care homes; and
- Congregate care settings (such as shelters and group homes, where unrelated residents use shared living spaces). [Note: Condominiums are generally not congregate care settings.]
This means that – as of March 21st – provincial regulations will no longer require that masks be worn in indoor common elements (including indoor amenities such as exercise rooms and pools) of pretty much all condominiums in Ontario.
Note, however, that some municipalities and health units may have their own by-laws or regulations requiring that masks be worn on some condominium common element areas in their jurisdictions. In such cases, those municipal by-laws/regulations would still have to be followed (even after the provincial requirements change on March 21st). Based upon our latest review, there aren’t any such by-laws or regulations in Ottawa or Kingston, but other municipalities may take a different approach.
Of course, the changes do not prevent someone from wearing a mask, if they wish to do so.
Furthermore, condominiums can still pass and enforce their own Rules requiring that masks be worn (whether on all interior common elements, or only in certain places and/or at certain times).
In other words, condominiums can still have their own mask-wearing Rules and many condominiums have already passed such Rules. In our view, such Rules will generally still be enforceable, as long as the Board (and the overall condominium community) have sound reasons to feel that such a Rule may help promote the safety of persons on the property.
The virus is still around, so it seems to me that some Boards and some condominium communities may still decide that a Rule to require mask-wearing would make sense for their community (also taking into consideration the nature of the community, including the types of building(s) and the ages of the residents).
Any Rule should include reasonable exceptions for persons who are not able to wear a mask.
If you decide to continue to regulate mask-wearing through a Rule, we recommend that you also consider posting one or more signs (to let persons know about the mask-wearing requirements in your condominium).
Stay safe and stay tuned to Condo Law News to keep up to date on the latest developments on provincial requirements.