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New masking restrictions announced

COVID-19, Physicians | Posted May 13, 2021

Albertans seeking a medical exemption from mask use now require a letter from a physician, nurse practitioner or psychologist*

In the continued effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health (CMOH) has issued a public health order with new masking restrictions.

Effective May 13, 2021, any Albertan seeking a medical exemption from mask use due to a verified health condition must have an exemption letter from a physician, nurse practitioner or psychologist.

Masks are a critical public health measure and only certain health conditions exempt Albertans from wearing a mask in indoor, public settings, including:

  • Sensory processing disorders
  • Developmental delay
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Mental illnesses including:
    • anxiety disorders
    • psychotic disorders
    • dissociative identity disorder
    • depressive disorders
  • Facial trauma or recent oral maxillofacial surgery
  • Contact dermatitis or allergic reactions to mask components
  • Clinically significant acute respiratory distress

Physicians are asked to use Alberta Health’s templated letter if their clinical judgement indicates a patient meets this criteria. A fillable template is available to physicians in independent practice from the Physician Portal, while a non-fillable version can be printed from Alberta Health’s website:

Only the physician treating the conditions noted above should provide the exemption letter. Please carefully review CPSA’s guidance on the mask exemption:

Medical exemption letters may be requested in public settings by enforcement officials, or by the courts if a ticket is issued. This is not intended to punish people unfairly, but to ensure everyone who is capable of wearing a mask complies with a public health measure intended to keep us all safe.

For more information on the health conditions that qualify for a mask exemption, and under which circumstances a physician should issue or refuse to provide a medical exemption letter, please review our FAQs and the order from the CMOH. Please email with any questions.

*The email distributed to physicians on May 13 mistakenly said an exemption letter must come from a  physician, nurse practitioner or psychiatrist. This was a typo and should have read psychologist, not psychiatrist. CPSA recognizes psychiatrists as physicians and essential to quality health care in Alberta. We sincerely apologize for this error.

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