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Can I ask my patients and caregivers to wear a mask?

Posted April 12, 2023

Yes, however blanket policies that exclude patients from receiving in-person care for failing to wear a mask cannot be instituted. Similarly, care cannot be refused to a patient or caregiver who cannot, or will not, wear a mask.


Physicians, physician assistants and clinic staff are encouraged to educate patients why a mask is recommended (e.g., protecting other sensitive patients in the clinic) and encourage masking by making masks readily available. Where individuals cannot, or will not, wear a mask as requested, clinic staff should pursue other options for providing care (e.g., having the patient wait outside, schedule a virtual assessment, booking them as the first or last appointment of the day to limit contact with staff). Understanding the patient’s perspective, answering questions and problem-solving together will enable the patient to appropriately navigate their own care and use of a face mask.

If a patient becomes physically or verbally abusive to a physician, physician assistant, clinic staff or other patients, they may be asked to leave the premises. Physicians are not expected to tolerate this type of behaviour and have the right to immediately discharge patients who act in this manner from their practice under the Terminating the Physician-Patient Relationship standard of practice. If a patient poses a safety risk to you, your staff or other patients, contact your local police department for assistance.