OTTAWA (LifeSiteNews) – The federal government under Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has dropped a last remaining COVID-related mask mandate that forced Canadian taxpayers to don facemasks to access essential services such as getting a passport at Service Canada offices.
The decision to drop the masking mandate at Service Canada offices was made quietly public by top members of Trudeau’s cabinet this week, but the decision to do so only became known after pressure from Conservative Party of Canada (CPC) MPs.
Service Canada is the federal agency that runs the country’s passport program as well as social assistance programs such as Unemployment Insurance.
According to CPC MP Rosemarie Falk, who represents the riding of Battlefords-Lloydminster in Saskatchewan, her office had been flooded with calls asking why there was still a mask mandate in place at Service Canada offices.
“My office is receiving an increasing number of phone calls with respect to limited services that are available to them through Service Canada,” Falk said during a House of Commons human resources committee meeting held earlier this week.
According to Falk, she noted a complaint from one of her constituents “who was turned away and refused service for not being masked despite having a medical exemption.”
Falk grilled the Liberal MPs present at the committee meeting, asking “Why is a mask mandate appropriate for Service Canada but not necessary in other federal government settings?”
Social Development minister Karina Gould responded to Falk, telling her, “My understanding is masks now are encouraged but are not required.”
Falk shot back at Gould, telling her, “That’s a policy change?” to which Gould replied, “That’s been a very recent policy change.”
Gould confirmed with Falk that the COVID-related masking mandate for Service Canada offices was suspended as of February 10. She gave no reason as to why the mask mandate was only lifted now, and why those who did not wear a mask were denied service.
The Trudeau government had a mandatory COVID-related masking mandate in place for air travel as well in all federal buildings from April 2020 until October 2022.
During some of that time, vaccine-free Canadians were also outright banned from all air and train travel, both domestically and internationally.
While making mandates for COVID were dropped at all federal institutions last fall, Service Canada kept its masking policy in place.
Service Canada also last year had at least 249 workers placed on leave under its vaccine mandate.
As early as September 2022, Trudeau was claiming that a federal mask mandate was in place on the advice of scientists and the recommendation of public health officials.
However, Canada’s Public Health Agency never officially recommended masking for COVID be made mandatory.
Dr. Howard Njoo, deputy chief public health officer, said in January 2022 that the agency wanted people to be “informed and make that a voluntary choice,” and that people should be “encouraged” to wear a mask but that it does not have to be because of a “mandate.”
Many Canadians who were ticketed for not wearing a mask have fought back in the courts, oftentimes with success.
Just recently, a 76-year-old man who was arrested and charged after WestJet flight crew members in 2022 reported him to police because his facemask was off for a time during the flight, was successful in court in having his charges thrown out.