Since the pandemic began, the BC Human Rights Tribunal says they have been flooded with complaints after individuals were told to wear a mask in a store.

People who file complaints against the COVID-19 mask mandate will have to verify they have a disability that prevents them from doing so.

Tribunal member Steven Adamson wrote in a screening decision last week, the BC’s Human Rights Code “only protects people from discrimination based on certain personal characteristics, including disability.”

Adamson also went on to say “the code does not protect people who refuse to wear a mask as a matter of personal preference, because they believe wearing a mask is ‘pointless,’ or because they disagree that wearing masks helps to protect the public during the pandemic”

The screening comes in response from a complaint that was received last September, when a woman went into her local grocery store and was stopped by security because she was not wearing a mask.

At the time, the province’s mask mandate was not yet in effect, but the store had a policy in place that required customers to wear one in order to shop at the store.

The woman refused to disclose why she would not wear a mask, other than claiming that masks make it “very difficult to breathe” and “causes anxiety”.

She also claimed the store discriminated against her based on physical and mental disability.

The grocery store stood firm on its mask-wearing policy and the woman left the store, alleging she heard employees call the measure a “hoax.”

The woman refused to provide supporting documents for her disability citing her health conditions are private.

Her complaint was dismissed.

There are no set guidelines on what medical information a customer would need to provide to support their case from being exempt from wearing a mask, however, Adamson said a future ruling will likely provide more clarification on that matter.

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