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Doug Ford says 'we aren't far away' from dropping Ontario's mask mandate


Ontario isn't far away from dropping the provincial mask mandate, but it won't do so until the top doctor approves it, Premier Doug Ford says.

Ford was asked about the mask mandate during a press conference on Monday about creating a minimum wage for gig workers in Ontario.

"We aren't far away, so let’s all continue working together," Ford said. "What I'm hearing (is) over the next few weeks, maybe after March Break."

While Ford mentioned after March Break as a potential timeline, he also said he isn't ready to "set a date."

Ford said "there's no secret" he wants to drop the mask mandate, but he'll wait for Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Kieran Moore to give his recommendation that it is safe to do so.

"We'll wait for his advice and recommendations, and once he gives us recommendations we'll be able to move forward," Ford said. "There isn't a person I talk to who likes these masks, no one likes them, but I have to follow the advice."

Last week, Moore said Ontario's mask mandate would likely be lifted "simultaneously" across most sectors, including schools, when the time comes.

Ontario is only one day away from dropping nearly all of the COVID-19 restrictions, including the vaccine certificate program in most settings. 

Capacity limits in all other indoor public settings will also be lifted as of Tuesday. 


The Children's Health Coalition, a collective of children’s health organizations in Ontario, issued a statement Monday urging the province to keep the mask mandate in place in schools.

"While there have been recent calls to remove this public health measure, now is not the time," the statement said. "Masking in indoor school settings is still required to protect children and their families."

The Children’s Health Coalition says Ontario isn't ready to drop masks in schools because many children remain unvaccinated, and children under five are not yet eligible for the shot.

The recommendation from the Children's Health Coalition to keep masks in schools is supported by a number of children's hospitals in the province, including The Hospital For Sick Children in Toronto.

"We ask that the government continue to require masking in schools to protect children's health … As soon as the evidence suggests otherwise – and we rely on evidence to make our recommendations – then alternatives can be considered."

While speaking to CP24 Monday evening, Niagara Region’s Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Mustafa Hirji, said he was “extremely uncomfortable” with the prospect of lifting mask mandates come Mar. 1.

“There's still a lot of infection going around, there's quite a substantial risk out there,” Hirji said. “I think taking away masks, which really don't impede economic activity, is a very bad decision at this point.”

He said Ontarians should “hold on to that protection” going forward. Top Stories

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