Views on masking are mixed: many think the decision to remove the requirement came too early

By Staff

March 16th, 2022



The winding down of COVID-19 restrictions has begun in most of the country, and it’s being met with both confidence, and concern.

A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute, in partnership with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, finds Canadians divided about the swiftness of public health measure reduction, and open to keep key restrictions in place for longer if necessary.

Indeed, large numbers say that removal is happening too quickly (36%), at the right pace (38%), or too slowly (22%). Significant regional differences define the overall findings, as people in various parts of the country react to the situation where they live and gauge the changes through the lenses of their own realities.

Nationally, 73 per cent say they would support continuing masking requirements in public spaces while 64 per cent support proof of vaccination at places like restaurants and theatres in their community.

These data help to underline an emerging trend as governments shift responsibility to Canadians to decide which health measures to continue to follow. While official requirements may soon no longer be in place, many are ready to continue with the habits they have formed over the past two years. Two-thirds (64%) will continue sanitizing their hands in addition to washing, three-in-five will maintain the practice of social distancing, and fully half say – at least for the time being – they will avoid large crowds (53%) and continue to wear a mask in public (50%).

Mayor Meed Ward with staff members at a restaurant chose not to wear a mask.

As premiers and public health officials make announcements about the plan for spring, they do so with varied public opinion profiles. In Atlantic Canada, B.C., and Quebec, premiers are perceived as having handled the previous two years well. A majority also say that Canada’s chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam has done a good job (56%). On the other end of the spectrum, residents in Manitoba and Alberta are overwhelmingly critical of what they have seen from their premiers since the pandemic began.



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3 comments to Views on masking are mixed: many think the decision to remove the requirement came too early

  • Penny Hersh

    Would the easing of restrictions be happening as quickly if Ontario was not facing a June Provincial election?

    Covid 19 cases are on the rise again. Several cities in China are in total lockdown. European countries are once again dealing with an upswing in Covid cases and the U.S. is dealing with this and expecting that they will be facing a major rise in cases.

    How long will it be before we are dealing with this as well?

    I for one, will continue to wear a mask in public, practice physical distancing and decide who I will see.

  • Denise W.

    It is such a tough call, and prone to politically motivated praise, and criticism. We do now seem to have the hybrid of Omicron and Delta. A recombinant variant, nicknamed “deltacron”. So far is not a variant of concern from what I read. But there will be others. What we should embrace is that we are ready and willing to go back to protocols, if it is ever warranted in the future. There will be many variants. I’m hoping for the best.


    I absolutely agree with removing all restrictions now and letting each person determine what precautions, if any, they wish to take based on their individual circumstances, beliefs and comfort level.