As of June 11, 2022, most of the province’s remaining provincial masking requirements, including on public transit, will expire as of 12:00 a.m. on June 11, 2022. Remaining Directives will also be revoked and replaced with Ministry of Health guidance for health care workers and organizations. This includes guidance on when masks should be worn in hospitals and other health care settings.
While masking requirements are expiring, organizations may implement their own policies. Ontarians should continue to wear a mask if they feel it is right for them, are at high risk for severe illness, recovering from COVID-19, have symptoms of the virus or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19.
People are advised to still wear a mask in public settings if:
- They are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 wear a mask in all public settings for 10 days from the day of exposure
- Those with COVID who are only to isolate for 5 days should wear a mask in all public settings (indoors and outdoors) for days 6–10 of their infection
- Children under 12 years old who are unvaccinated and exempt from quarantine (e.g. travelled with vaccinated companions) need to mask for 14 days after arriving in Canada
- Anyone in a setting that has a masking policy in place to protect their staff and clients
People who would benefit from continuing to wear a mask in public settings:
- Anyone unvaccinated against COVID-19*
- Those with underlying health conditions that make them vulnerable to more severe outcomes*
- Those who care for or frequently interact with anyone listed above
- Anyone who would prefer to continue this layer of protection as we emerge from the pandemic
*Ensure anyone wearing a mask can remove it themselves
Types of masks and things to consider when choosing a mask:
The most important things about a mask are how well it fits and that it is made of adequate material.
- Should be at least 3 layers of tightly woven fabric. The middle filter layer should be made of a polypropylene or hydro-phobic material.
- A wire built-in to the nose area can help with a snug fit and reduce glasses fog.
- Try blowing out a candle with the mask on to test it. The flame should not flicker when you blow through the mask.
- Cloth masks should be washed regularly in hot water and dried fully between uses.
Disposable non-medical face masks:
- These may look like surgical masks – but are not for use in medical settings.
- They can provide protection if they have a snug fit and are meant to be single use.
Surgical or Procedural masks:
- This style of mask can provide better filtration provided they are fit snugly to the face.
- If the mask gaps at the sides try tying knots in the ear loops and tucking any excess mask material under so it fits snugly to the sides of the face and under the chin.
N95 style respirators:
- N95 style masks are meant to be fit-tested to ensure there are no air leaks. Air that goes around the mask is not getting filtered. N95 style masks that haven’t been fit-tested can still be used in higher risk situations. Do your best to ensure that there are no air leaks out the sides, top or bottom of the respirator by molding it snugly to your face, chin and nose, and adjusting any straps as needed. These resources can help you to check the seal of your respirator:
- If purchasing an N95 respirator, make sure that you are not purchasing a counterfeit product. See this Government of Canada public advisory on counterfeit respirators.
How to put on, wear, and remove a mask properly:
- Always wash or sanitize your hands well before and after putting on, adjusting or removing your mask
- Handle the mask by the ear loops or straps
- Ensure a snug fit over the nose, under the chin and against the sides of the face/cheeks
- Adjust the straps if needed to reduce any air leaking out the sides
- Keep facial hair trimmed to ensure a snug fit to the face
- You can layer a cloth mask over a disposable mask for a better fit as long as you can breathe freely with both on
- Don’t share masks with others
- How to Put On and Remove a Face Covering/Mask
Additional resources for mask use:
- Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) Mask Use webpages
- Face coverings and face masks – Ontario.ca
- Masks and you – what we know so far (OACAS)
- An evidence review of face masks against COVID-19
- Public Health Ontario (PHO) Evidence Brief: Community non-medical and medical mask use for reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission
- Check out this video on how masks work (8 minutes)