City of Toronto to conduct additional education and enforcement of the mask bylaw in residential buildings

The City of Toronto is conducting additional education and enforcement in residential apartment buildings and condominiums where multiple complaints have been received about mask usage in enclosed common spaces.

An analysis of 311 data revealed that from August 5, 2020, when the mask bylaw came into effect, to January 18, 2021, the City had received 1,950 complaints about improper mask usage in shared residential spaces. Of these complaints, 263 locations have received three or more complaints and 12 locations have received more than 10 complaints related to mask wearing. Seventy-five per cent of the complaints are related to residential apartment buildings and twenty-five per cent are related to condominiums.

The City’s RentSafeTO: Apartment Building Standards program’s enforcement team will be issuing letters to the landlords and property managers of each of these locations, reminding them about the requirements under the mask bylaw. The City will also follow up in-person with the landlords and property managers of the12 locations from where more than 10 complaints have been received, to examine the masking policy and documentation, ensure signage is posted throughout the building and conduct a follow-up inspection.

Implemented in August 2020, the by-law for apartments and condominiums requires building owners or operators to have a policy requiring everyone to wear a mask or face covering while in enclosed common spaces, such as elevators, hallways, lobbies, laundry rooms, and any other shared facilities. In addition, building owners are required to:

  • post signage at all entrances to enclosed common areas
  • ensure that everyone working at the building has been trained in the policy and bylaw, and
  • provide a copy of the policy for inspection by City Bylaw Enforcement Officers, if requested.
Like the City’s mask or face covering by-law for indoor public spaces, this bylaw includes exemptions for individuals who are unable to wear a mask or face covering for medical reasons, children under two years old, and other reasonable accommodations.

Toronto Public Health has provided sample policy, guidance and signage to help building owners comply with the bylaw:

  • Sample policy for mandatory masks
  • Guidance for commercial and residential buildings
  • Signage for building owners to display in common areas
If residents see a pattern of issues with masks in common areas of their residential building, they can first talk to their landlord or building manager to raise their concerns. If no action is taken by the landlord and the problems persist, residents should call 311 to submit a complaint and the City will investigate.

A growing body of scientific evidence suggests the use of masks and face coverings is an inexpensive, acceptable and non-invasive measure to help control the spread of the virus. COVID-19 is spread through contact with the respiratory droplets produced by someone who is infected when they cough, sneeze, or even when they laugh or speak, including by individuals who may not have symptoms – known as being asymptomatic. Evidence suggests wearing a mask reduces the likelihood of droplets infecting those around an individual.

Information about the mask bylaw is available on the COVID-19: Orders & Bylaws webpage.

Quote:

“Each and every one of us has a responsibility to protect our own communities. Wearing masks or face coverings in all indoor public spaces in Toronto and in common areas in apartments and condominiums is one way of keeping everyone safe. While there has been a good degree of compliance from most Toronto landlords and residents, our data has clearly shown us where we need to focus. These efforts will make sure landlords of buildings where we are receiving multiple mask complaints have the necessary tools to come into compliance with public health and safety measures.”

– Mayor John Tory

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