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
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has agreed to resign, his office said Thursday, ending an unprecedented political crisis over his future that has paralyzed Britain's government.
A well-known Ukrainian paramedic who was held prisoner by Russian and separatist forces for three months after being captured in the southeastern city of Mariupol has accused her guards of psychological and physical torture during her time in captivity.
Video has emerged showing a worker dangling in the air above a Toronto construction site after accidently getting entangled in a tagline attached to a crane.
Patrick Brown is alleging political corruption played a role in his disqualification from the Conservative Party of Canada's leadership race, a move that came following allegations that his campaign violated election financing rules.
Jailed American basketball star Brittney Griner returns to a Russian court on Thursday amid a growing chorus of calls for Washington to do more to secure her release nearly five months after she was arrested on drug charges.
While towns and villages around the capital of Kyiv have begun to rebuild after the Russians withdrew months ago and world powers discuss long-term recovery, others in eastern Ukraine still cannot sleep soundly.
The federal government has no intention of dropping the controversial ArriveCan app because it gives the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) key health information about travellers who test positive for COVID-19 through testing at airports and land borders, senior government sources tell CTV News.
Despite being disqualified by the Conservative Party of Canada from becoming its next leader, ousted candidate Patrick Brown's name will still appear on the ballot.
Air Canada said on Wednesday it will not allow animals in the baggage hold until Sept. 12 due to 'longer than usual' delays at airports, as carriers and airports wrestle with complaints over lost luggage and long lines.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M.
WATCH LIVE @ 9 A.M. | With another COVID climb, Quebec health minister calls news conference for Thursday morning
With COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations on the rise in Quebec, public health officials have called a news conference for Thursday morning.
'Not a time when Quebec can afford to lose young doctors,' province's opposition leader says of ER exodus
The leader of Quebec's Liberal Party paused her vacation briefly on Wednesday to react to the news that two young emergency room doctors have quit their jobs in their hometown of Montreal to work in Toronto.
A prominent Montreal drag queen who recently faced pressure from critics over library readings to young children says her storytime events scheduled for the fall were abruptly called off for unknown reasons.
Once again due to staff shortages, the emergency departments at both Listowel and Wingham hospitals will be closed overal several upcoming dates.
Provincial police have identified the victim of a deadly motorcycle collision that occurred earlier this week.
The victim of a fatal head on collision earlier this week in Blandford-Blenheim has been identified as a 41-year-old man from Plattsville.
Break-ins targeting restaurants, salons, dress shops and cannabis stores have been reported in Kitchener, Waterloo and Woolwich.
'There’s no great answer': Low-income tenants weigh options in Cambridge as renovations push them out
Tenants of the Tiger Lofts, an affordable apartment building in Cambridge, say they’re being “renovicted” and won’t be allowed to stay after extensive renovations.
Police are looking for a man who allegedly grabbed and sexually assaulted a woman in a Kitchener park.
Christ the King Church in Sudbury is looking for your scrap vehicle.
Whether you’re looking for a change of pace, a breath of fresh air, or a glimpse into nature, northern Ontario has an outdoor oasis waiting to be discovered.
The chair of the Station Mall Merchants Association says news of the mall's sale to a southern Ontario holding company brings to a close years of uncertainty regarding the future of the property.
NEW THIS MORNING
NEW THIS MORNING | Bluesfest is back today after two years of COVID-19 cancellations
Fans will be packing into the grounds at LeBreton Flats tonight for the first in-person Bluesfest since 2019.
An Ottawa senior citizen says he lost his life savings after investing with a real estate development firm that has been charged with fraud.
Ottawa police are on the scene of a shooting that injured one person in the city's west end.
Emergency crews were on scene after a pedestrian was struck by a train late Wednesday afternoon in east Chatham.
Shawn Lippert received a scary call Monday morning. “I got a guy on the other end and said, ‘Hi this is Enwin. We're giving you a courtesy call.’” Lippert was told his Scareshouse Windsor business account was in arrears and service was about to be cut off.
'Is your urgency an emergency?': Windsor-Essex hospital officials appeal to public to reduce hospital and EMS wait times
With the hospital system in Windsor-Essex continuing to operate under tremendous pressure, healthcare leaders are asking residents to reserve calling 911 for emergency situations only, and to seek alternate care for non-medical emergencies.
Farmers in southern Ontario say they are fed up with a selfie fad that has caused thousands of dollars in damages.
School buses may be parked for the summer, but come fall, they will be equipped with a new lighting system to catch drivers' attention.
Strawberry pickers at Barrie Hill Farms saw more than fresh berries when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited.
A person has been taken to hospital with serious injuries following a shooting in Halifax Wednesday night.
Halifax Regional Police and fire crews are investigating after receiving reports of a missing swimmer in Dartmouth.
The ex-boyfriend of Cassidy Bernard has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter and a consecutive three years for child abandonment in connection with the young mother's death.
Calgary drivers might be asking why the price of gasoline is more expensive in their energy rich province where oil is refined and extracted than in Ontario, but one retail expert claims to have the answer.
Police are investigating after receiving reports of shots fired late Wednesday afternoon in Bankview.
Blackfalds RCMP were called to the scene of a serious hit and run collision Wednesday evening.
A political breakup at Winnipeg City Hall is creating intrigue in a council race.
A community organization is proposing a network of cameras in an effort to bolster safety throughout the area.
Residents in a southern Manitoba town are asking questions as to why they are facing a summer with no emergency room.
Someone in British Columbia could be sitting on a lottery ticket worth a whopping $15 million – but there's only a few weeks left to claim the jackpot.
For the second consecutive day, emergency resolutions related to a conflict between the Assembly of First Nations National Chief and the organization's executive council threw the agenda into chaos.
The large logs that have lined the water’s edge at many Vancouver beaches have been a favourite lounging spot for sun worshipers for over 50 years.
Wade Stene, who admitted to kidnapping and sexually assaulting an eight-year-old Edmonton girl, was sentenced to 15.5 years behind bars Wednesday afternoon.
Emergency crews were called to a Mill Woods school on Wednesday after a security guard reportedly experienced irritation on their hands after finding a white powder.
Blackfalds RCMP were called to the scene of a serious hit and run collision Wednesday evening.