Non-Medical Masks or Face Coverings, Policy on


August 10, 2020

The University of Toronto is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for its faculty, librarians, staff, students, post-doctoral fellows, volunteers, visitors, and other community members. As part of this commitment, the University is implementing this temporary Policy requiring non-medical masks or face coverings to be worn indoors in common-use spaces on University property.

This Policy is consistent with the approach taken in City of Toronto By-Law 541-2020 and City of Mississauga By-Law 0169-2020, although neither By-Law applies to post-secondary institutions. This Policy will remain in effect as long as Ontario public health authorities recommend that mask-wearing is necessary in indoor public spaces. It is subject to change and extension at the discretion of the Governing Council of the University of Toronto as public health guidance and understanding about COVID-19 evolve.

Guiding Principles

  1. The health and safety of the U of T community is the University’s primary consideration as faculty, librarians, staff, and students return to in-person on-site activities.
  2. The University will continue to align its approach with applicable public health directives and guidelines.
  3. The University is committed to accessibility and equity, and is cognizant of the unique needs of different stakeholders to advance academic participation and community engagement.
  4. Through its policies and guidelines, the University promotes a supportive and respectful environment, including accommodating individual health needs.
  5. The University will apply a consistent approach where practicable.

Masks Requirement

  1. Wearing of masks: Wearing non-medical masks or face coverings is required in all common-use indoor University spaces, including classrooms and common areas in residences.
  2. Application: This Policy applies to all who are present on University of Toronto property at any time and for any purposes, including employees, students, contractors, volunteers, and visitors. The University may provide for exceptions to the application of this Policy in an accompanying administrative guideline and/or further guidance.
  3. Definitions:
    1. Non-medical mask or face covering means a mask, balaclava, bandana, scarf, cloth or other similar item that covers the nose, mouth and chin without gapping.
    2. Common-use indoor University spaces include lobbies, elevators, hallways and corridors, stairwells, washrooms, service desks, cafeterias and lunchrooms, common areas in residences, study lounges, meeting rooms, classrooms, research and teaching labs, shared or open-space offices, and other locations used in common where practicing physical distancing may be difficult or unpredictable.
  4. Enforcement: Enforcement will depend on the individual’s relationship with the University, the nature of an incident, the place in which it occurred, and the impact on others in that place.
  5. Accommodation: This Policy is subject to the duty to accommodate persons in accordance with the Human Rights Code of Ontario.
  6. Signage: Signs will be posted at University buildings, and other appropriate locations.
  7. Education: The University will provide education to inform members of its community about the benefits of non-medical masks or face coverings with regard to limiting community transmission of COVID-19, and with regard to personal privacy pertaining to accommodations for medical and other reasons.
  8. Occupational Health and Safety and other statutes: This Policy should not be interpreted in a way that conflicts with or replaces existing requirements or obligations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act or other applicable statutes and regulations.

The University, through the offices of the Vice-President & Provost, the Vice-President, Operations and Real Estate Partnerships, and the Vice-President, Human Resources & Equity, may issue further guidance regarding expectations under and application of this Policy.

The administration will provide periodic reports to the relevant boards and committees of Governing Council regarding the implementation and ongoing application of this Policy.