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Masks or face coverings in Ontario - What you need to know

On October 2, 2020, the Government of Ontario amended O. Reg 364/20 to require the wearing of masks and face coverings in many Ontario workplaces.
The amendment requires that “the person responsible for a business or organization that is open shall ensure that any person in the indoor area of the premises of the business or organization, or in a vehicle that is operating as part of the business or organization, wears a mask or face covering in a manner that covers their mouth, nose and chin during any period when they are in the indoor area…”

Where am I required to wear a mask or face covering?

When you do go out, you must use a face covering (non-medical mask, such as a cloth mask) in public indoor spaces and whenever physical distancing is a challenge.

This includes:

  • public spaces (for example, inside stores, event spaces, entertainment facilities and common areas in hotels)
  • workplaces, even those that are not open to the public
  • vehicles that operate as part of a business or organization, including taxis and rideshares

When do I not have to wear a mask or face covering?

There are some situations when you do not need to wear a face covering.

You do not need medical documentation to support any of the exceptions below.


Children do not have to wear a face covering indoors if they are younger than two years old.

Health and accommodations

You do not need to wear a face covering if you:

  • have a medical condition that inhibits your ability to wear a face covering
  • are unable to put on or remove your face covering without help from someone else
  • are receiving accommodations according to the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 or the Human Rights Code

Correctional institutions

You do not need to wear a face covering if you are in a:

  • correctional institution
  • custody program for young persons in conflict with the law
  • detention program for young persons in conflict with the law


You do not need to wear a face covering when you are working in an area that allows you to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else while you are indoors.

Residences and dwellings

You do not need to wear a face covering in:

  • university dorms, retirement homes, long-term care homes or other similar dwellings except when you are in a common area and can’t maintain 2 metres from others
  • residences for people with disabilities (any residences listed in the definition of“residential services and supports”in subsection 4 (2) of the Services and Supports to Promote the Social Inclusion of Persons with Developmental Disabilities Act, 2008)

Performing or rehearsing

You do not need to wear a face covering while you are performing or rehearsing for a:

  • film or television production
  • concert
  • artistic event
  • theatrical performance
Dos and Don'ts?


  • wash your hands immediately before putting on and immediately after taking off a face covering or face mask
  • practice good hand hygiene while you are wearing the face covering
  • make sure the face covering fits well around your nose and mouth
  • avoid moving the mask around or adjusting it often
  • avoid touching the covering while using it
  • change the face covering or face mask when it gets slightly wet or dirty

Do not:

  • share face coverings or face masks with others
  • place on children under the age of two years or on anyone unable to remove without assistance or who has trouble breathing
  • use plastic or other non-breathable materials as a face covering or face mask
What about Municipal requirements?

Most municipalities have their own requirements when it comes to mask signage and policies.  Please check your municipality's by-law for masks or call one of our Business Counsellors at 1 888-234-2232 for assistance.


Are there any grants for PPE for my business?


Yes there is a grant for PPE for very small businesses with two to nine employees. The grant is for $1,000.00.  For more details see The Government of Ontario website.


The Canada United Small Business Relief Fund will be managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network in support of other chambers and partners to help small Canadian businesses with their recovery efforts as a result of COVID-19.

Successful applicants will receive a relief grant of up to $5,000. They intend to support local businesses of all kinds from across the country (from retailers to barbershops to farmers).

The relief grant can be used for any of the following eligible expenses:

  • Purchased Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) such as masks, face shields, and latex gloves.
  • Renovated physical space to adhere to local, Provincial or Federal reopening guidelines.
  • Developed or improved e-commerce capabilities for your business.


Application will open on October 26, 2020.



If you can’t find an answer to your question, feel free to contact send your question to: [email protected].

What is the definition of a workplace?

As per the Occupational Health and Safety Act  (OHSA) – Workplace is any location an employee reports to perform their duties. (this is the definition under OHSA: “workplace” means any land, premises, location or thing at, upon, in or near which a worker works; (“lieu de travail”)

What if someone refuses to wear a mask?

Your business should have a mask policy posted in a prominent place in the business.

If a customer refuses to wear a mask for medical reasons you cannot ask for medical proof that they don't need to wear a mask.

If an employee refuses to wear a mask for medical reasons you cannot ask for medical proof that they don't need to wear a mask. You should have a conversation with them and suggest a lighter weight mask or discuss relocating them in the business to a place where they can social distance from others.  However, if they just don't want to wear a mask, not for medical reasons, they could be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including termination.