Human rights principles must be at the core of our response to the pandemic. When it comes to mask-wearing policies, we need to ensure there is balance between the rights of people who cannot wear a mask on the basis of protected grounds in B.C.’s Human Rights Code (such as disability) and the public health risks, especially to people who are at risk of more severe illnesses.
This policy guidance from B.C.’s Human Rights Commissioner Kasari Govender details how mask-wearing requirements must accommodate people with disabilities or medical conditions that prevent them from using of non-medical masks.
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*If the version available via this page is not accessible for you, please feel welcome to contact our Office to request a printed copy or another format that meets your needs.
- Poster: Exemptions to the mandatory mask order in British Columbia (Oct. 13, 2021; now archived)
- Press release: B.C. Human Rights Commissioner issues guidance on COVID-19 mask policies (Nov. 5, 2020)
- A human rights approach to proof of vaccination during the COVID-19 pandemic (July 2021)
- Video: Message from Commissioner Govender on human rights during COVID-19 (March 2020)
- Commissioner Govender’s full policy statement on human rights during the COVID-19 pandemic (March 2020)
- COVID-19 frequently asked questions from BC’s Office of the Human Rights Commissioner
Please note: This guidance has been updated over time to reflect changing circumstances. The original version of this guidance was published on Nov. 5, 2020, prior to the mandatory mask order from B.C.’s Provincial Health Officer. Further updates were published Nov. 23, 2020, Dec. 10, 2020, Apr. 23, 2021, Jul. 22, 2021 and Sept. 29, 2021 (current).