A third of Canadians 'rarely' wear face masks, poll finds
VANCOUVER -- Almost half of Canadians either "rarely" or "never" wear a mask in public, according to a new survey by the Angus Reid Institute.
Pollsters found that 32 per cent of people across the country barely ever put on a mask when outside their home, and 13 per cent don't wear one at all.
That's despite 59 per cent of respondents in the same survey saying they're worried about contracting COVID-19.
In Vancouver, there are calls by transit users for TransLink to implement a mandatory mask rule onboard buses and SkyTrains.
"We should wear masks. It is our responsibility,” said rider Pintu Kumar.
According to an approximate count conducted by TransLink, only a third of its total ridership wears face coverings.
The company does recommend that riders wear masks but it has not made it a mandatory policy.
“Not everyone is able to wear a mask or face covering - some people with medical conditions, for instance - so we have to acknowledge that," said TransLink spokesperson Ben Murphy.
As of this month, it is mandatory to wear face coverings on public transit in Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.
Murphy said it would also be difficult to enforce such a rule.
“In other jurisdictions where transit agencies have made policies mandatory there is no enforcement." he said.
On Thursday, provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry also strongly recommended wearing mask in crowded public areas such as transit.
“If you are taking transit right now you should be wearing a face covering unless there is a valid reason why you can't,” Henry said.
The Angus Reid Institute survey was conducted online from July 10 to 11 among a representative randomized sample of 1,503 Canadian adults who are member of the Angus Reid Forum. A probability sample of that size would carry a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.