City of Toronto COVID-19 mask bylaw to expire when most provincial masking regulations are lifted on March 21

Today, Toronto City Council amended Bylaw 541-2020, the Mask Bylaw, so that it expires when the Province of Ontario lifts provincial masking requirements in most settings on March 21. Masks continue to be mandatory in high-risk and congregate settings including public transit, long-term care and retirement homes, health-care settings, congregate care settings, shelters and jails under provincial regulation. Prior to the amendment, the City’s Mask Bylaw was set to expire on April 8, 2022.

At the same time, Council affirmed their support for residents to choose to wear a mask, even in the absence of regulations requiring mask wearing. Council also requested Dr. Eileen de Villa, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health, continue to regularly engage with the Chief Medical Officer of Health of Ontario to review Toronto’s local epidemiology and discuss the use of masks and other appropriate infection prevention and control measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread, particularly in higher-risk settings in Toronto.

The recommendation came to Council in a report from Dr. de Villa, following a careful analysis of Toronto’s local context. The COVID-19 Omicron wave in Toronto has peaked and is now subsiding across a range of indicators, including cases and test-positivity rate. Health system capacity indicators, such as hospitalizations and intensive care admissions continue to decline. Thanks to world-leading vaccination rates, Toronto has high levels of immunity.

Read Dr. de Villa’s full report to Council on the City’s website PDF.

The recent Omicron wave also brought about high rates of infection and subsequent immunity across Toronto which further bolsters immunity from the high levels of vaccination among Toronto residents. For more information, view the COVID-19: Pandemic Data web page.

The Mask Bylaw was a temporary and necessary response to the ongoing pandemic. Given the current epidemiological trends, newly-available treatments and the high rate of vaccine coverage, Toronto is currently in a position where broad city-wide regulations are not required at this time and are now aligned with provincial regulations.

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