There are no standards that non-medical masks have to meet in Canada.
There has been an update to Canada's mask guidance and how you can best protect yourself while wearing one as the weather gets cold and everyone heads indoors.
The area of the Government of Canada's website that provides guidance on face coverings was updated in November, saying "while non-medical masks can help prevent the spread of COVID-19, medical masks and respirators provide better protection."
5/5 There are many types of masks, but those that fit with a snug seal on your face and are made with layers of materials that can filter fine virus particles are best for preventing/reducing infectious respiratory particles you may inhale. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/prevention-risks/about-non-medical-masks-face-coverings.html\u00a0\u2026— Dr. Theresa Tam (@Dr. Theresa Tam) 1636825821
In a response to CBC News, the Public Health Agency of Canada said the changes are "based on the latest scientific evidence on SARS-CoV-2 virus variants of concern, increased understanding of the impacts of vaccination and immunity in the population, and new data available on mask types and their effectiveness."
The guidance website said that as the weather gets colder people will move inside and might come into closer contact with those outside of their household, so masks continue to be important.
Non-medical masks, which can be homemade or bought commercially, should have at least two layers of tightly woven, breathable fabric with a filter as a middle layer.
Medical masks, which are also known as surgical masks, and respirators sold in Canada are required to meet standards for filtration, breathability and fluid resistance, among others.
However, there is no standard for non-medical masks sold here.
Early in November, Canada's top doctor warned that the country is in for COVID-19 "turbulence" in the next few months, especially in places where vaccine coverage is low, as winter weather moves people indoors.
"The virus, which is very contagious, is going to enter those pockets of under-immunization," Dr. Theresa Tam said. She predicted that this may cause surges in COVID-19 cases.
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