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Should People Be Harassed for Not Wearing a Mask If They Are Medically-Exempt?

Updated: Jul 28, 2022

When a woman in Saskatchewan went shopping for groceries one day during the height of COVID, she wore a face shield instead of a mask due to her health condition, for which she had a medical exemption. While shopping, an employee of the store followed her around the store, telling her she had to leave if she did not put on a mask. The manager then met her at the till, demanding she leave the store, blocking her from purchasing her groceries and humiliating her in front of other customers. When she left the store, this same manager followed her out of the store, blocking her from getting into her car and yelling at her. A few days later, when she tried to order drop off prescriptions, she was told her account was frozen and that the store would not fill her prescription. It did not matter that this woman had a medical exemption to wearing a mask and tried her best to honour store policy by going above and beyond by wearing a face shield.

No one should be harassed and evicted from a store because they wear a face shield instead of a mask due to a medical condition, for which they have an exemption. Instead, a store is required to accommodate disability, not to discriminate by refusing services. COVID-19 has revealed that some individuals and services are content to harass and humiliate members of the public instead of serving them respectfully under the law.

Advocate is supporting this matter. More details to come.

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