September 15, 2021
Maskless shoppers have no human rights protection, the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has ruled.
Blacklock’s Reporter says the Tribunal said people who claim a right to forego COVID-19 masks must have a valid medical reason.
“Any claim of disability discrimination arising from a requirement to wear a mask must begin by the complainant establishing they have a disability and explaining why it interferes with their ability to wear the mask,” wrote Paul Singh, an adjudicator with the Tribunal.
“Mere assertion of ‘breathing issues’ without more is insufficient.”
Shera Rael, of New Westminster, B.C., filed a complaint after she was refused entry to a jewelry shop on July 31, 2020.
“I was told if I would not wear a mask I had to leave,” wrote Rael.
“My human rights were denied. Mask wearing is not a law.”
BC health authorities imposed a mask mandate at retail outlets four months later, on November 5, however, storekeepers were entitled to adopt their own rules to keep employees safe, wrote the Tribunal.
In a separate case, the Tribunal dismissed a complaint against an X-ray clinic in Coquitlam, B.C., that told a maskless patient to leave.
Visitors were invited to get a free mask at a pharmacy next door.
The patient, Ian Christiansen, testified he was hobbling with a foot fracture that made it awkward to walk 30 feet to the pharmacy and that “his human rights were being violated.”
But the Tribunal upheld the clinic’s decision.
“It is undisputed there are a large number of signs outside the clinic as well as outside the building itself informing patients and other members of the public that masks are mandatory inside the building,” wrote the Tribunal.
The decisions mirrored two August 16 rulings by the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal that maskless shopping was not a constitutional right.