Last updated: March 2, 2021
- Face coverings are required in workplaces, University buildings and student residences, with some exceptions.
- Exemptions can be provided for persons who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability. These exemptions are required to be approved via an employee or student accommodation process.
- Face masks/respirators with exhaust valves, or mouth shields are not suitable face coverings.
- Managers/supervisors: Get the tip sheet for managers
To help limit the spread of COVID-19, you are required to wear a face mask or other appropriate face covering in all common indoor spaces.
Effective Monday, July 27, all employees, students, visitors and contractors are required to wear a face covering in common use areas of University buildings. This includes corridors, lobbies, washrooms, elevators, classrooms, teaching laboratories and meeting rooms, or in any area where physical distancing is a challenge.
In employees-only areas, managers will set the expectation with their teams based on physical setup and work activities.
According to new guidance from the Government of Ontario, face coverings are required in workplaces, even those that are not open to the public, however, you do not need to wear a face covering when you are working in an area that is not accessible to the public and allows you to maintain a distance of at least 2 metres from anyone else while you are indoors.
Students residing in university residences are not required to wear a mask except when they are in a common area and can’t maintain 2 metres’ distance from others.
A face covering is defined as a medical or non-medical mask or other covering, including a bandana, scarf or other fabric that covers the nose, mouth and chin to create a barrier to limit the transmission of respiratory droplets. Face coverings should have at least 2 to 3 layers of tightly woven material.
- Masks or respirators with an exhalation valve are NOT suitable face coverings. These types of masks are proven to be ineffective as a source control measure.
- Mouth shields are NOT a suitable face covering option as they do not fit snugly around the mouth, nose and chin. Mouth shields allow infectious respiratory droplets to spread outside the mask, and do not help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Employee/Workplace Requirements - As of March 1, 2021 additional requirements for personal protective equipment are in place for workplaces and instructional areas. Supervisors are responsible for identifying and providing appropriate PPE where required.
Exemptions include the following:
- people who are unable to wear a mask due to a medical condition or disability
- children under the age of 2
- when communicating with a person who is hearing impaired and the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
- when wearing a face covering would create a risk to the wearer related to their work, as determined by workplace safety guidelines
- classroom instructors, where a face covering is an impediment to instruction, and only where physical distancing is maintained
If you need an exemption for a medical condition or disability, you must provide appropriate documentation to the University. Please review the Face Covering Exemption Request Form and submit the completed form to AccessAbility Services (students) or Occupational Health (employees) to develop an accommodation plan.
Accommodations may include remote participation (academics) or alternate arrangements (employees), which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
Safe use of masks and face coverings
When wearing a mask or face covering, follow these precautions:
- Inspect the mask for holes or tears.
- Wash your hands immediately before putting the mask on and immediately after taking it off (in addition to practicing good hand hygiene while wearing it).
- Place the mask securely over your nose, mouth and chin. Make sure the mask fits snugly but comfortably – there should be no gaps around the margins of the mask.
- Avoid touching the mask while wearing it.
- When removing the mask, grasp the ties or ear loops carefully without touching the front of the mask. Wash your hands after removing it
- The CDC provides additional information on how to improve how your mask protects you with tips on double-masking and improving fit of medical masks.