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If you can't wear a mask, be ready to prove it, says BC Human Rights Tribunal

Last Updated Apr 1, 2021 at 3:28 pm PDT

(CITYNEWS/Tony Fera)
Summary

BC Human Rights Tribunal rejected the notion someone's rights were violated at a store because she wouldn't wear a mask

Decision means if you want to file a human rights complaint over masks, you need to prove you can't wear one

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A decision by the BC Human Rights Tribunal says anyone who intends to file a complaint about refusing to wear a mask better be prepared to prove why.

The tribunal member rejected the notion that the unnamed customer’s rights were violated last September, when a security guard asked her to leave a store for refusing to wear a mask.

The ruling says the woman claimed the mask order is “pointless” and masks make breathing difficult, but she would not explain any physical disability that might prevent use of a mask.

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NEWS 1130 legal analyst Michael Shapray says this means if you plan to file a human rights complaint over masks, you’ll now need to have proof for why you can’t wear it.

“They’ve sent a message that if people are going to challenge the mask-wearing requirement and attempt to enter into retail establishments or other closed settings that they’re going to have to have some proof of that, if they want such complaints to be considered by the Human Rights Tribunal,” said NEWS 1130 legal analyst Michael Shapray.

“People who don’t want to wear a mask in a pandemic, where there are provincial health guidelines and orders in place, should come equipped to demonstrate why they shouldn’t have to wear a mask, or they shouldn’t be going to those places and putting everybody at risk,” he added.

Screening decisions aren’t normally published, but in this case, it was because of a large number of complaints related to mask-wearing in recent months.