mask canada

People in Canada are less likely to wear a face mask than Americans

Though it seems that Canada is faring significantly better during the pandemic than the U.S. as far as the number of cases and deaths are concerned, people in Canada seem to have quite the un-Canadian views on wearing face coverings while in public.

According to a new study conducted by research and analytics company Leger, more than half of Canadians simply don't wear a face mask while out in public these days, compared with just 22 per cent of Americans who choose to forego the protective measure.

That's only 45 per cent of Canadians who are heeding the formal recommendations of officials from various levels of government, while 78 per cent of our counterparts south of the border are happy to comply with the measure.

The report also shows that more residents of Ontario and Quebec, where the pandemic has hit the hardest, are donning the garment than people living in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (50-51 per cent compliance rates versus 32 per cent).

Also, those over the age of 55 more often wear face coverings when they leave the house than other age groups in Canada (53 per cent compliance versus 37-41 per cent), as do people in suburban and urban areas (51 and 47 per cent compliance rates, respectively, versus 29 per cent in rural regions).

According to the data, Canadians are most likely to put on a mask when going to the grocery store or pharmacy (41 and 37 per cent of respondents said they wear one during these activities, respectively), but not at all likely to wear one while doing things like going for a walk  or going to their workplace (both 9 per cent).

Somewhat shocking is the fact that only 10 per cent of Canadians of the more than 1,500 surveyed said they use a face covering when taking public transit — which is concerning given that this is one of the main places experts have said to wear a mask due to the difficulty exercising proper social distancing.

Again, far more Americans seem to be wearing face coverings for all of the above outings, despite the fact that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is advocating for the measure while their president mocks it (though a few of our politicians haven't been the best at encouraging proper face mask use, either).

Leger also asked participants the reason why they don't tend to wear a mask, if that is the case. The main ones include "I don't have any symptoms," "I find it uncomfortable" and "I don't trust this directive" — the last of which points to the prevalence of conspiracy theories among both Canadian and American populations.

As citizens become more lax with precautions as economies gradually return to an amended normal and the weather gets nicer, we'll have to wait and see how this impacts the spread of the virus in Canada.

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez

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