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B.C. human rights complaint dismissed against Loblaws for mask policy

The complaint against the supermarket chain was dismissed due to a lack of evidence
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The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled a man's complaint lacked evidence that proved his medical condition exempted him from wearing a mask.

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a complaint from a grocery store shopper who claimed he was discriminated against for not wearing a mask.

The complainant, Martin May, alleged he was stopped from entering a Loblaws store in early October 2020 and yelled at "in front of crowds" to wear a face mask. 

May claimed this was discriminatory because he did not wear a mask due to suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), an inflammatory disease that causes difficulty breathing, wheezing and coughing.

Loblaws Inc. told the tribunal that all of its stores Canada-wide had implemented a company policy requiring people to wear masks indoors. The B.C. government did not introduce a provincial mask mandate until mid-November 2020. 

The grocery giant also argued that May did not present evidence that he was exempt from wearing a mask due to his medical condition or prove that one of its employees yelled at him. Despite extensions and notice to respond to the argument, May failed to present further information.

Because of the overall lack of evidence, including how he was prevented from entering the store, tribunal chair Emily Ohler dismissed the complaint in the Jan. 21 decision.