Canada

Toronto should drop mask mandate when province does, says city’s top doctor

Toronto city council will decide Wednesday whether to drop its own mask mandate at the same time as the province.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city’s medical officer of health, is recommending that Toronto’s own mask bylaw — which is in addition to provincial rules — expire as soon as changes are made to provincial regulations.

An announcement from the province is expected Wednesday.

The additional report by de Villa posted Wednesday morning says that council should also affirm that “even in the absence of regulations requiring mask wearing, city council supports the ability for residents to choose to wear a mask” and to continue conversations with the province about the use of masks and “other appropriate infection prevention and control measures” in places like hospitals, long-term-care homes, public transit and shelters.

The city’s own mask bylaw, which covers public places and businesses in the city, was set to expire next month unless extended by council.

The recommendations, if approved, would bring the city rules in line with the provincial decision which is expected to end mask mandates on March 21.

Mayor John Tory, when asked if he would support extending masking rules for the city, said last week they would follow the province’s lead to avoid “confusion.”

More to come.

Jennifer Pagliaro is a Toronto-based reporter covering city hall and municipal politics for the Star. Follow her on Twitter: @jpags

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