OTTAWA -- Ottawa Bylaw says the "warning phase" is over, and officers will start issuing tickets to people not wearing face masks in indoor public spaces in Ottawa.

In a message on Twitter Wednesday morning, Ottawa Bylaw declared "the warning phase for the Temporary Mandatory Mask Bylaw is ending."

"Officers will continue to exercise discretion, but tickets will be issued in cases where a warning is not deemed sufficient or when repeat offenders are encountered."

Council passed the Temporary Mandatory Mask Bylaw on July 15, making face masks mandatory in all indoor public spaces. On Aug, 26, Council voted to extend the bylaw to the common areas of apartment and condominium buildings.

Staff had said Ottawa Bylaw would focus on educating residents about why they should wear face masks in indoor public spaces.

A report for Council on Aug. 26 said one ticket had been issued to a business for violating the Mandatory Mask Bylaw. Since the Temporary Mandatory Mask Bylaw came into effect, Ottawa Bylaw has issued one charge to a business and 265 verbal warnings. 

The fine for individuals violating Ottawa's Mandatory Mask Bylaw is $240, including victim surcharge.

"As the (Temporary Mandatory Mask Bylaw) has now been in effect for two months, BLRS will move from the education phase to the enforcement phase of this bylaw," said Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman in a statement to CTV News Ottawa.

"Officers will continue exercising discretion but will issue charges in cases where warnings are not deemed sufficient or where repeat offenders are encountered.  It is important to note that this bylaw was enacted as a measure to protect public health and that remains BLRS’ number one priority."

Face masks are mandatory in indoor public places in Ottawa, including

  • Restaurants and other eating and drinking establishments
  • Retail locations
  • Places of worship
  • Sports facilities
  • Museums, theatres and other entertainment venues
  • Public areas in hotels and other short-term rental premises
  • Public areas in hospitals and other health facilities
  • Common areas in condo and apartment buildings, including the entrance, lobby, elevators and laundry room

The mandatory face mask bylaw also applies to City of Ottawa buildings and facilities, including libraries. On June 15, face masks became mandatory on all OC Transpo buses, the O-Train, in stations and on Para Transpo vehicles.