People with certain disabilities may have difficulty wearing a mask if, for example, they have severe allergies, experience asthma attacks, or have other respiratory issues. Masks are a barrier to people with hearing disabilities who rely on lip reading or facial expressions to communicate. Masks may not be suitable for children and adults with certain physical, intellectual, mental, or cognitive disabilities, such as autism or anxiety.
An inability to access or use a mask should not lead to automatic negative consequences, such as harassment, employee discipline or termination, complete denial of service, or eviction from housing. The employer, service provider, or landlord has a duty to accommodate. For example, a store could provide curbside pickup for a customer unable to wear a mask because of a disability. Similarly, an employer would have an obligation to accommodate employees to the point of undue hardship. However, consideration will be given to their need to balance the accommodation obligation with their other legal obligations to co-workers and customers.
Visit Alberta Human Rights Commission for more information.