Poll Finds Canadians Are Less Likely Than Most to Wear Masks When Out in Public

News comes after a group of 40 activists protested against the mandatory mask order today in Toronto

A poll conducted by a British polling firm, YouGov, found a surprising insight that Canadians are more likely than Americans to praise their government’s handling of COVID-19 and keep their hands to themselves in public, but less likely to wear masks when out of the house. 

YouGov has been surveying people across 29 countries online since the pandemic first began asking people about their attitudes towards the COVID-19 virus and the behaviours they are changing in response to it. 

Canadians have been surveyed five times with more than 1,000 respondents to the polls each time. 

The polling firm considers these 1,000 respondents as a national representative sample. 

Data from the polls have found that almost 3 in 5 Canadians (58 percent) reported as of June 11 that they were regularly wearing masks when out in public

Compared to other nations, Americans were reported to be more likely to wear masks in public than Canadians. 

Since June 11, approximately more than two-thirds of 71 percent of Americans said they were wearing masks regularly out in public. 

Surprisingly, Asian nations had the highest levels of face-mask usage in public with Singapore reporting 92 percent of its respondents saying they wear masks in public. 

Despite the poll’s data suggesting that Canadians were less likely to wear masks in public, it found that Canadians were among the top nations to have been taking additional steps to improve personal hygiene such as washing their hands more frequently. 

70 percent of Canadians reported improved personal hygiene habits as of June 11, whereas only 60 percent of Americans reported improved personal hygiene habits. 

Protestors Ride TTC Without Masks Calling for an End to Face Coverings in Toronto

Perhaps the polls from YouGov are shedding some light into Canadian’s attitudes towards face masks as it was recently reported that protestors of the mandatory mask legislation in Toronto rode the TTC without masks.

As of Tuesday, the City of Toronto made it mandatory for people to wear face coverings inside indoor public settings with regions around the Greater Toronto Area passing similar laws in the coming days. 

The laws were made following the growing evidence and advice from health officials who attributed the usage of masks to the declining number of COVID-19 cases in the cities. 

Toronto Board of Health Chair Joe Cressy commented on the use of masks saying that “Evidence shows that wearing a mask indoors can help reduce the spread of COVID-19. It’s a simple, affordable, and reasonable action for each of us to take to save lives.”

Despite the evidence and data from public health officials, approximately 40 activists boarded a TTC subway car at Dundas Station on Tuesday without wearing a mask saying that cities should not be making use of face coverings mandatory. 

In a brief interview, an activist who was onboard the TTC with the group said “You have a choice, this is about freedom of choice,” 

“When the government mandates something it is never in your best interest,” they added.

The group of 40 protestors included Letitia Montana, a self-described “truther” who was recently removed from a Toronto hospital and refused service after she refused to wear a mask. 

Montana would publically compare the municipal bylaw, which mandated the usage of face coverings, to the worst authoritarianism of the 20th century. 

“Our individual rights have to be suppressed so that somebody else would feel better,” Letitia Montana, who was removed from St. Joseph’s Health Centre over the weekend for not wearing a mask, said.

 “Is that the kind of world we want to live in? That is what has led to the worst atrocities in history.”

The group would later get off the subway at Young and Bloor street and started handing out leaflets to passersby claiming that they were “exempt” from the mask order. 

TTC spokesperson Stuart Green commented on the matter saying “This action of this group is a fringe action, they clearly have a message they’re trying to get out.”

Speaking on behalf of the TTC, Stuart Green said that the TTC would not police the mandatory mask order. 

However, he said that most people would follow the order because it is the right thing to do. 

“When (riders) come back to the TTC everyone will wear one because they know it’s the right thing to do, that’s been the experience in other cities throughout the world.”

Toronto Mayor John Tory said Tuesday that the protest was understandable but not concerning due to its size.

“It is 40 people and 40 people out of 3 million isn’t a very big number. I am sure there are more who share the point of view but at the end of the day if there were 6,000 people that showed up at Dundas subway station to get on and make a point about masks I would say that is certainly interesting and I should look into that,” said the Toronto Mayor. 

While the mandatory mask bylaw technically did come with punishments under the Provincial Act of $1,000 to $5,000 in fines, Mayor John tory said that he wishes to educate and not punish those who were found in violation of the bylaw.

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