Ontario woman says daughter was discriminated against over face mask
An Ontario woman believes her daughter was discriminated against after she was allegedly kicked out of a local activity centre over her choice to wear a face mask.
Jane Bedford said she signed her 11-year-old daughter up for a series of classes called “Ninja Warrior Parkour” at Discipline Wrestling in Ancaster, just west of Hamilton.
Bedford told CTV News Toronto she paid $260 for a pack of eight sessions at the gym, which features monkey bars, swinging ropes, and trampolines for the students to navigate through.
She said her daughter attended and enjoyed the first session masked in the indoor facility without issue, noting that the owner of the gym was not present at the time.
Two weeks later, the mother and daughter went for session number two with their masks on and said they were greeted by the owner.
“'Oh, you don’t have to wear a mask here,’” Bedford recalled the owner saying to her.
- Download our app to get local alerts to your device
- Get the latest local updates right to your inbox
Bedford said the owner suggested that, due to the physicality of the class, her child should be unmasked during the session. Bedford said she explained to the owner that her daughter had already participated in a class with a mask on, and that it was her preference to wear the face covering in the indoor space.
"And he said, 'No. You can't. You have to take it off,'" Bedford said. "I said 'I don’t think you’re legally allowed to tell us to take it [the mask] off.' And then he said, "I am and you can get out' and showed us the door."
She said she was left “aghast” and that her daughter, who was present during the interaction, was scared by being spoken to in such a stern manner by a stranger.
Bedford and her daughter are Indigenous, and she said discrimination hits close to home.
“We talked about ... her ancestors and how discrimination happens. And it just got her madder and madder,” she said.
Now, Bedford is trying to get her money back for the outstanding classes she purchased but alleges the company is ignoring her. Moreover, she wants an apology.
"I really just want them to apologize to my daughter. I want her to realize that there are repercussions for discrimination."
Discipline Wrestling did not respond to CTV News Toronto's request for comment.
CAN A BUSINESS BAN MASKS?
Richard Powers is a University of Toronto associate professor with expertise in business and corporate law and called the situation "ridiculous."
"We've seen a lot of unreasonable activity during this whole pandemic. But in a situation like this, where the child wants to wear a mask, the business is required to make reasonable accommodations," Powers told CTV News Toronto over the phone.
“And a reasonable accommodation, for this, would be to let her wear the mask. There’s no risk to anyone. In fact, it’s safer.”
Mask mandates in most public settings were lifted in Ontario on March 21.
Ever since then, wearing a mask in places such as gyms, restaurants, movie theatres, and sports venues has become a personal choice. Even as premier, Doug Ford has told Ontarians that “if you want to keep the mask on, keep it on,” after the mandate was lifted.
Ontario’s Ministry of Health echoed that advice in an email to CTV News Toronto.
“Businesses and organizations may choose to implement their own rules related to masking. However, they must follow any applicable laws (e.g., Human Rights Code, Occupational Health and Safety Act) and should obtain independent legal advice should they consider doing so.”
While it’s unclear if the decision by Discipline Wrestling is in contravention of the Ontario Human Rights Code, Powers suggests it could be.
"Anything that would deviate from a reasonable accommodation could be, I would say, a human rights violation," he said.
"But again, you have to think that cooler heads are going to prevail…At least from what we’ve heard, there’s no reasonable explanation as to why they would refuse to allow the child to wear a mask," Powers said.
Toronto Top Stories
CTVNews.ca Top Stories
Canada handled key aspects of the COVID-19 response better in the first two years of the pandemic than most G10 countries, according to a new study by researchers from the University of Toronto, Unity Health Toronto and St. Michael's hospital.
U.S. Rep. Mary Miller of Illinois, speaking at a rally Saturday night with former U.S. President Donald Trump, called the Supreme Court's decision overturning Roe v. Wade a 'victory for white life.'
Abortion may be legal in Canada but accessing services very much depends on where you live, one advocate says.
Russia is poised to default on its foreign debt for the first time since the Bolshevik Revolution more than a century ago, further alienating the country from the global financial system following sanctions imposed over its war in Ukraine.
South African authorities investigating 21 teenagers found dead at an east coast tavern over the weekend said on Monday the youths were probably killed by something they ate, drank or smoked, ruling out the earlier-touted possibility of a stampede.
Leading economic powers conferred by video link with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Monday as they underscored their commitment to Ukraine for 'as long as it takes' with plans to pursue a price cap on Russian oil, raise tariffs on Russian goods and impose other new sanctions.
Digital censors quickly deleted a hashtag 'the next five years' Monday as online discussion swirled in response to reported remarks of Beijing's Communist Party secretary saying that the capital city will normalize pandemic prevention controls over the course of the next five years.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed G7 leaders virtually at their summit in Germany as they discussed the threat to global stability posed by Russia's invasion of his country.
A man in crisis stabbed several people Sunday morning in downtown Montreal, leaving one dead and three injured.
Rental prices continue to soar in Quebec, and regions outside of major urban centres appear to be more affected, according to data compiled by the Regroupement des comités logement et associations de locataires du Québec (RCLALQ).
Quebec's independent bureau of investigations is analyzing an altercation involving a Longueuil police officer that left one man seriously injured.
A dog at the centre of a search after the vehicle he was in was stolen, has been found.
It was a late night for firefighters in London on Sunday.
Non life-threating injuries are reported after a crash between a motorcycle and a police cruiser in Tillsonburg.
The latest developments for encampments in Waterloo Region, field trips being paid for, and a new hospital for the area round out the top stories of the week.
Three children have been hurt and a driver has been suspended after a single-vehicle crash near Caledonia.
An essential caregiver in Waterloo Region is looking to remind the community that the COVID-19 pandemic is not over and the protections in place for the most vulnerable may not be enough.
Friends of the Mindemoya old school are celebrating what will soon be the signing of a new lease. After years of work and negotiations, the group has saved the building from being torn down..
The chaotic mix of record fuel prices and an unending supply chain crisis have U.S. retailers considering the unthinkable: Instead of returning your unwanted items, just keep them.
Ottawa's mayor is warning the city won't tolerate any illegal activity downtown during Canada Day festivities this year, as the city prepares for possible protests.
Students at Hillcrest High School in Ottawa took part in a walkout after some students say they have been victims of racist treatment. Allegations of racism have been swirling at the school for months and now the Ottawa Carleton District School Board is investigating the incidents.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | What's open and closed in Ottawa on Canada Day
CTVNewsOttawa.ca looks at the closures and schedule changes in Ottawa on Canada Day.
Police and fire crews in LaSalle are on scene of a structure fire.
Windsor police is releasing a map of the road closures and restricted access on Ford Fireworks night.
A Chatham woman has been charged with theft after police responded to a call at a business in Wallaceburg on Sunday.
A firey explosion gutted a home in a south Owen Sound neighbourhood.
This year's Seniors' Month theme, "Stay Active, Connected and Safe" has seniors with cognitive impairments exercising by playing video games.
City staff have notified council that transit won't return to full operation this year, frustrating several residents.
Nathan MacKinnon was at his best in the Cup-clinching 2-1 victory Sunday night. After a relatively quiet performance in the series until that point, MacKinnon picked the perfect time to be a difference-maker and drove the bus for the Avalanche.
As HMCS Kingston and Summerside pulled away from Halifax Harbour and deployed for Operation Reassurance, there was no shortage of emotion from family members who came to see them off.
It's a United States Supreme Court decision that has created headlines and shockwaves around the world, and here in the Maritimes.
RCMP is crediting the actions of a father and son for saving the life of an elderly man who had been lost for hours in the southern Alberta wilderness.
Warm and unsettled weather in Calgary this week.
'We can't believe it': Winnipeggers come together to throw surprise baby shower for new Ukrainian couple
A Winnipeg woman is making sure a couple from Ukraine is feeling right at home as they prepare to welcome their first child.
Officers with the Brandon Police Service arrested a 27-year-old man after he allegedly threw a basket of stolen items at them.
While most of B.C. remains under a special weather statement as the summer's first hot weather rolls through, the advisory has been upgraded to a heat warning for the Lower Mainland.
About a hundred people gathered in downtown Vancouver on Sunday afternoon denouncing the U.S. Supreme court's decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, which secured constitutional protection for abortion rights in the country for nearly 50 years.
With a heat warning in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, several cities have opened up dedicated indoor cooling centres and outdoor cooling stations. We've compiled a list of what's available and where.
Sunday's high of 27 C was the warmest day of 2022 (so far) in Edmonton. Our average daily high for June is 21 C.
The Edmonton Police Service is searching for a 13-year-old girl that was last seen Friday morning.
Twenty-five new service dogs and their families celebrated the achievement of graduating from Alberta's only internationally accredited assistance dog agency Sunday.