In an advisory published by the CDPDJ (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse / ‘Human Rights and Youth Rights’ Commission) on Wednesday August 12th, Quebec’s decree making the wearing of masks mandatory in closed public spaces – does not violate the province’s Charter of Rights. After studying the decree, the Commission said that Article 9.1 of the Charter allows the government ‘to regulate fundamental rights and freedoms if it demonstrates that the restriction is neither irrational nor arbitrary and that the means are proportionate to the objective’, according to The Canadian Press.
As well, the CDPDJ considered that ‘the violation of fundamental rights is justified in the context of the current COVID-19 pandemic’ and although ‘it is likely to infringe certain rights under the charter, the commission considers, based on the information currently available to it, that this limitation would be justifiable within the meaning of Section 9.1 of the charter’ and that ‘the restriction is neither irrational nor arbitrary and that the means are proportionate to the objective’.
They note that the article allows the government ‘to reconcile individual rights when there is a conflict between these rights and freedoms, and that in this case, one can believe the imposed obligation aims in particular to protect the rights to life, safety and the integrity of everyone’ and the ‘government included measures to attenuate the possible limits to equality rights – for example, by not obliging the wearing of masks in certain cases of disability, age or social status’. However, ‘the mask order must be removed or modified when it is no longer justified by the circumstances’.
As of Saturday July 18th, wearing a mask became mandatory in all of the province’s public indoor spaces. It included stores, bars, restaurants, concerts, showrooms, drug stores, dentist and doctor offices – basically all indoor places open to the public.
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