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Ontario's Union for fairness, equality and respect at work.

It's the employer's responsibility to enforce the mask mandate by city and heath officials

As more cities mandate the use of masks within indoor public spaces, it's vital that our members know what their rights are.

"Our members' health and safety should not be put at risk by customers who refuse to follow public health guidelines and regional regulations," said President Wayne Hanley.  

Currently, masks are required or are soon to be required in indoor public spaces in Toronto, York Region, Mississauga, Brampton, Durham, Kingston, and Guelph. Other muncipalities are considering similar measures. 

The union's position is that it is the employers' responsibility to ensure the health and safety of our members in the workplace, and administer all regional bylaws and public health orders. 

As such, it's the employers' responsibility to enforce the mask protocol for customers. 

"Employers should be taking every precaution to ensure that our members do not have to serve or engage with customers that chose to not adhere to these bylaws or orders, especially with those who harass, bully or put our members' health and safety at risk," said Rick Young, Health and Safety Representative for 1006A. 

That's why since the beginning of the pandemic we proposed that there be a security presence outside of stores to outline the rules to customers.

If customers refuse to wear a mask and follow regional bylaws or public health orders in areas where masks are required indoors, please contact management immediately. It's not our members' responsibility to enforce public health orders or regional bylaws or monitor customers– it's the employers' job. 

We encourage you to communicate all concerns to 1006A's Health and Safety Department as early as possible so we can document and take action promptly on a case by case basis. Don't wait until the problems get worse. 

Additionally, please notify your union immediately if management is not following the mask mandates by regional or public health authorities. These measures are in place to protect workers' health and safety and it is vital they be followed. 

Remember the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which also deals with violence and harassment in the workplace, always applies.

Finally, we encourage you to continue to raise awareness among your co-workers.

"Wearing a mask is how we can protect our co-workers, friends, family and neighbours," said President Hanley. 

If you have any questions or concerns at your workplace, please contact your union rep

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