Halton Region Face Covering Bylaw Backgrounder

By: Laura Steiner/ Editor

The Region of Halton is looking at a bylaw that would make the wearing of face masks or non-medical face coverings mandatory for area residents. Their meeting is tomorrow (July 15) beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Oakville, Burlington, and Halton Hills have already implemented a bylaw, or are in the process of doing so. Milton voted to request Halton Regional Council pass a bylaw.

The option the Region is recommending is considered a hybrid choice placing the responsibility on both business owners, and residents themselves. It proposes that all residents must wear a non-medical mask or face covering in public places within the geographic region of Halton in a Public Place.

A Public Place is defined as a space to which the public has access, such as a place of worship, store, community centre, banquet hall, public services, and municipal administration buildings. Exempted are schools, post-secondary institutions, child care centres, correctional centres, as well as hospitals, and other health facilities.

It sets out the following six emptions:

a) children under five (5) years of age (with best efforts to try to mask children between the ages of two (2) and five (5));

b) persons with an underlying medical condition which inhibits their ability to wear a Non-Medical Mask/Face Covering;

c) persons who are unable to place or remove a Non-Medical Mask/Face Covering without assistance;

d) persons who are reasonably accommodated by not wearing a Non-Medical Mask/Face Covering in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code;

e) persons temporarily removing their Non-Medical Mask/Face Covering as necessary for receiving services (such as having a meal), or while actively engaging in an athletic or fitness activity; and f) employees while separated from customers and co-workers by physical barriers.

Residents falling under the first four exemptions will not be required to show proof. Operators of “enclosed public places” would have to place signage displaying notification of the bylaw.

The Halton Regional Police Service (HRPS) and Regional bylaw officers will enforce it. The bylaw would be effective from July 22, 2020 until September 30, 2020 unless extended by Regional Council. Councillors will be voting on it at tomorrow’s meeting. For the full bylaw click here