Coronavirus | Health & Safety | Ontario

Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario provides employers with roadmap for responding to requests for exemptions from mask-wearing policies – Littler

April 13, 2021

In Sharma v. Toronto (City), 2020 HRTO 949, the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) provides a roadmap for how employers should determine whether they are required to accommodate employees and customers who seek exemptions from the City of Toronto’s mask-wearing requirement. Enacted in response to the pandemic, By-Law 541-2020 (By-Law) requires businesses and other establishments open to the public to adopt a policy to ensure that no member of the public is permitted entry to, or otherwise remains within, any enclosed space unless they are wearing a mask or face covering (collectively, a “mask”).

In his human rights application, the Applicant alleged that the City of Toronto (i.e., the Respondent to the application) discriminated against him with respect to services because of his creed and disability, contrary to Ontario’s Human Rights Code (Code), because due to the By-Law, he was denied service at a number of businesses.

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