Police In Canada Can Apparently Choose Whether Or Not To Wear A Mask On The Job
There's no national policy here.
With seemingly everyone wearing a mask in bustling spaces nowadays, you would think it was illegal, if not a social faux pas, to be seen without one. Some police officers in Canada have come under fire in recent months for going maskless.
In an article published by The Canadian Press, a Montrealer named Miku Smeets said it was "insulting" to see officers without masks detaining or arresting people outdoors, especially since Quebec has been hit hard by COVID-19 cases.
According to the report, a June study from researchers at the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto showed that between April 1 and June 15, Quebec police handed out 77% of the $13 million in pandemic-related fines issued by police in the country.
This led many to accuse police of not only being "offensive" but "hypocritical."
And it's not just Quebec.
In July, a man from Richmond, B.C. spoke to City News questioning why police did not wear masks when talking to drivers they pulled over.
Shawn Jahromi said after encountering a roadblock he was surprised that the RCMP officer who came to his car window was not sporting a mask.
He said the officer also did not take his request for physical distance seriously.
RCMP spokesperson Catherine Fortin said their officers can use non-medical masks on the job.
"RCMP commanding officers determine their requirements based on the direction of their local health authority and will distribute masks accordingly," she told The Canadian Press.
Local forces also say it's not always a requirement.
Toronto police and Vancouver police said officers are asked to wear masks only when they can not practice physical distancing and when it is "operationally feasible" to do so.
Meanwhile, Calgary police said their officers are encouraged to wear masks when around the public, however, said there are times where it is not possible, such as engaging with an agitated person.