face mask exemption card canada

People have been using fake cards to exempt them from wearing face masks in Toronto

Fake face mask exemption medical cards are being circulated in Toronto by anti-lockdown groups, and the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) is urging people not to use them.

'Face Mask Medical Exemption' cards, which supposedly allow card carriers to bypass Ontario's new mandatory mask bylaw, have not been distributed by a public health agency, though they've been strategically designed to look like they have. 

The plastic card states the following: "I have a medical condition that prevents me from wearing a mask or face covering." 

It also features a medical cross symbol, a physician's seal and a Canadian flag. 

On the flip side, the card states that the violation of disability rights under the Canadian Human Rights Act or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms can be reported. It also provides the phone number of the CHRC.

But the groups behind the cards, whose logos are featured on the back and whose members have been recorded handing them out to the public and in some cases, even charged money for them, have produced a card that should not be used, says the CHRC.

"These are fake," said the CHRC. 

"The Commission has not and would not produce posters or cards claiming that the cardholder has an exemption from wearing a face mask in closed public places. We strongly recommend to Canadians that they do not share or use these fraudulent cards." 

Business owners are also urging one another not to be duped into accepting them from customers trying to get into their stores mask-free. 

Toronto isn't the only city to report fake mask exemption cards — different versions have been documented in New York as well.

But mask exemptions are already written into Toronto's mandatory mask bylaw: kids under the age of 2, for example, aren't mandated to wear it if their parents don't want them to.

Nor are the hearing impaired, or those who require accommodations in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code. 

But the bylaw also states that no proof is actually needed for an exemption, meaning it's up to stores to decide how best to enforce the rules. It's a hard decision for business owners who could be subject to a $1,000 fine, while customers without masks face no fines at all. 

Lead photo by

@abuckley101


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