Last updated: July 2, 2020 at 10:35 a.m.

Toronto City Council approved a temporary bylaw to make face masks and coverings mandatory in enclosed, indoor public spaces as of July 7 to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Learn how this applies to you.

The response to the current COVID-19 pandemic around the world has been dynamic and based on the best advice from public health experts. New legislation and bylaws have been put in place which have not existed in the past.

 

 

Mayor John Tory signed an emergency order No. 1 (April 1) and emergency order No. 2 (April 3) regulating physical distancing in City of Toronto parks and public squares. Any two people who don’t live together, who fail to keep two metres of distance between them in a park or public square, can receive a $1,000 ticket – the maximum set fine available. Officers could issue higher tickets that would be subject to the courts where fines could go up to $5,000 upon conviction.

On April 1, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health issued new directives to residents of Toronto:

  • The following individuals are ordered by the Medical Officer of Health, under the Health Protection and Promotion Act, to self-isolate (at home or in an isolation facility) for 14 days:
    • All individuals with COVID-19 who are not hospitalized;
    • All individuals with signs and symptoms of COVID-19, or who are waiting for their test results
    • All individuals who have had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 or has the signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
  • Anyone who is not subject to the Class Order or has not recently returned from travel, is strongly directed to avoid non-essential trips in the community and avoid close contact with others.
  • People returning from international travel must stay home (an existing federal order)

Anyone over the age of 70, as the Province announced, is strongly encouraged to stay home as much as possible.

Resources

To protect the health and safety of our communities, Toronto City Council voted unanimously in favour of requiring masks or face coverings in all enclosed public places as of July 7 to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

Read details about the mandatory mask or face covering bylaw.

The measure heeds advice from the Medical Officer of Health, who recommended City Council use its authority to legislate for the protection of the health, safety and well-being of persons in Toronto to enact a temporary bylaw requiring businesses and facilities to have a policy that ensures masks or face coverings are worn by the public in the enclosed spaces under their control to prevent a resurgence of COVID-19 cases.

This new bylaw will expire at 12:01 a.m. on the first day after the completion of the first Council meeting following summer recess (currently scheduled for September 30 and October 1, 2020), unless extended by Council.

 

A COVID-19 Enforcement Team will enforce:

  • the physical distancing bylaw (By-law 322-2020 );
  • provincial orders banning organized social gatherings of more than 10 people;
  • bans on using closed playgrounds and other closed parks amenities;
  • the closure orders on non-essential businesses that remain open.

Fines for violating a provincial order under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act can range from $750 to $100,000, including up to one year in jail.

The enforcement team will be responding to complaints and proactively patrolling parks and other public spaces, in an effort to ensure public understanding of orders and bylaws.

Learn about park amenities closures and openings.

If you feel that you were wrongly ticketed, you have the option of requesting an early resolution meeting with a prosecutor and challenging it in court. You can do this by:

  • requesting an early resolution meeting: you can go online, or mailing in a request for an early resolution meeting. While the Courts are currently closed, once they reopen you will be notified by mail of your early resolution date and details of where to attend. If the meeting with a prosecutor does not result in a resolution, the matter will be set down for trial at a later date.
  • requesting a trial: all limitations periods and the time to request a trial have been temporarily suspended with the closure of the Courts. Once the City’s Court Services offices reopen you can visit one of their offices to file a request for a trial.

Once the trial date is scheduled, you will receive a notice by mail of the time and place for your trial. The Court will conduct a trial to decide whether you committed the offence that gave rise to the ticket being issued.