N95 mask against a light blue background, next to black text reading, Vulnerability Isn't Seasonal. #KeepMasksInHealthcare. Have your say by April 1, 2024. www.DoNoHarmBC.ca

Last updated: March 14, 2024


  1. Maintain and enforce mask requirements in hospitals and long-term care settings year-round for BC medical staff, contractors, visitors and volunteers.
  2. Restore mask requirements for patients, with reasonable exceptions and accommodations. Given that patients are often the ones who are sick and contagious in healthcare settings, a lack of patient masking increases infection risks in crowded waiting rooms, wards, and ERs.
  3. Improve airborne precautions including wider use of N95-equivalent masks (respirators). Following the lead of some European countries, consider making N95-equivalent masks the default – particularly by and around vulnerable patients, and certainly upon request. Respirators provide superior protection, especially as surgical masks aren’t designed to protect against airborne pathogens.
  4. Issue a clear directive to private and community healthcare settings requiring the same minimum mask coverage as government facilities. Vulnerable people also need ongoing access to primary care providers, dentists, paramedical practitioners, medical labs and imaging – and airborne illnesses are the same everywhere.

Quick Facts



Others Weigh In on Healthcare Masking

Read personal stories from vulnerable British Columbians here.

  • Kasari Govender (BC Human Rights Commissioner): “If there is one space that all vulnerable people should be able to rely on to prioritize their safety, it is in healthcare settings, including long term care facilities…[the] removal of masking directives in healthcare settings does not uphold a human rights centered approach to public health.” Read the full statement.
  • Dr. Bonnie Henry et al. in a 2004 study of SARS-CoV-1: “Consistently wearing a mask (either surgical or particulate respirator type N95)…was protective for the nurses, and consistent use of the N95 mask was more protective than not wearing a mask. Risk was reduced by consistent use of a surgical mask, but not significantly. Risk was lower with consistent use of a N95 mask than with consistent use of a surgical mask.” Read the study.
  • Protect our Province BC: “Not only does removing masking in healthcare settings make hospital-acquired (nosocomial) illness far more likely, it will result in the illness of far more healthcare workers which will further strain a medical system already near the breaking point.” Read the full statement.
  • Dr. Tara Moriarty (Associate Professor University of Toronto, Infectious Disease Research Laboratory, co-founder of COVID-19 Resources Canada): “Promoting the safety of people at higher risk from COVID in essential healthcare settings is not only desirable. It is required if institutions truly support equitable, accessible care that promotes health.” Read the full statement.
  • David Osborn, BSc, CMIOSH, SpDipEM, Chartered Safety and Health Practitioner: “The World Health Organization continues to recommend universal masking policies in health and social care…[abandoning] universal masking…is viewed by some patients as playing ‘Russian roulette’ with their health.” Read the full statement.
  • Over 29,000 petitioners and rising: “Canadian hospitals need to maintain MASK mandates.” Find the petition here.
  • 2,034 poll respondents (via a social media poll by a Vancouver Covid safety advocate): 85% of respondents state they are “avoiding or putting off non-emergency medical visits due to the removal of mask mandates in healthcare settings”. Find the poll here. 
  • 450 clinically vulnerable people (via a poll by Clinically Vulnerable Families): 91% of respondents state they “have or would delay / cancel medical appointments due to high Covid risks”; many of the remaining 9% state they had no choice but to attend. Find the poll here.

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