Face Masks Mandatory in Canada for Air Travel

As of last week, face masks mandatory!

The minister of transport, Marc Garneau said, “Canadians should continue to follow public health advice and stay at home if possible. However, if you need to travel, wearing a face covering is an additional measure you can take to protect others around you, especially in situations where physical distancing guidelines cannot be maintained. Transport Canada will continue to ensure various transportation systems adapt to the most effective, preventive measures to protect Canadians.”

In other official communications, they have a post on their website about the mandatory face masks and also a graphic (below).

face masks mandatory canada
Face masks mandatory Canada

It is interesting that they mention “non-medical” masks. We assume that this specifically mentioned to avoid upsetting people that think that better quality masks should be reserved for health care workers only.

Air travel is particularly risk with hundreds of people in a confined area. If a high percentage of the population has the Coronavirus but are asymptomatic, there is a high chance of the virus circulating inside the plane cabin.

While we don’t have any travel planned, if travel is necessary, we will be wearing N95 masks for certain.

Here are some more recent face mask policies from around the world:

  • Maryland, New York, and New Jersey have issued orders requiring face masks in crowded areas
  • The US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommends masks nationwide
  • Walmart stores in the USA now require employees to wear masks and encourage customers to as well
  • The government of Germany has issued advice to wear masks
  • In Lombardy, Italy, face masks are compulsory in all outdoor settings
  • In Austria, rules require people to cover their faces while shopping
  • Some cities in France, including Nice, have made face masks compulsory in public
  • Slovakia and the Czech Republic have made face masks compulsory in public
  • The mayor of London has called for compulsory face masks, but the UK government has not made a decision

How to Safely Remove a N95 Mask

You have protected yourself from breathing in contaminants by correctly fitting and wearing your N95 mask, now you need to make sure your don’t spread contamination when you remove your mask.

Here is how to remove your N95 Surgical Mask respirator.

  1. Wash your hands with soap and water before touching or taking off the mask.
  2. Important. Do not touch the front part of the mask, it may be contaminated. Only touch the elastic bands.

3a. For face masks with elastic bands securing the mask, lift the bottom strap over your head first and then pull the top strap over your head to remove the mask in a motion away from you so the front of the mask doesn’t touch anywhere.

3b. For face masks with ties, remove the bottom tie first and then the top tie

3c. For face masks with straps over the ears, hold the straps, take each side off one by one and then remove the mask away from you, again not letting the front of the mask touch anything.

  1. If you are going to re-use your mask, hang it up somewhere by the bands so the front of the mask isn’t touching anything.
  2. Wash your hands well with soap and water again.

Once you have your mask off make sure to practice good cleanliness practices. Wash your hands with soap as soon as you enter your house, before eating, after going to the washroom etc. Also refrain from touching your mouth, nose, eyes if your hands haven’t been properly cleaned first.

Properly removing your mask isn’t difficult, but it is very important. The main thing to remember is to assume that the front of the mask is contaminated. Don’t touch it with your hands or let the front of the mask touch anything while you are removing it.


What is a N95 mask?

There is much confusion and misinformation about the classification and certification of respirators and face masks.

For example, lets look at N95 masks that are NIOSH Approved.


The ‘N” means it is not resistant to petroleum products and contaminants. There are two more ratings and they are R, which is somewhat resistant to petroleum and P, which is strongly resistant to petroleum.

The ’95’ means that it is designed to block 95% of particles that are 0.3 μm (microns) or bigger. For reference a single virus is usually about 3 μm.

So the N95 means it is a mask that is not resistant to petroleum products and contaminants.

NIOSH stands for “The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health”. Here is the what they say on their website about page:

“The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 established NIOSH as a research agency focused on the study of worker safety and health, and empowering employers and workers to create safe and healthy workplaces. NIOSH is part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It has the mandate to assure “every man and woman in the Nation safe and healthful working conditions and to preserve our human resources.” NIOSH has more than 1,300 employees from a diverse set of fields including epidemiology, medicine, nursing, industrial hygiene, safety, psychology, chemistry, statistics, economics, and many branches of engineering.”

NIOSH approved means that the NIOSH organisation has approved the mask to be of a certain quality or performance. In this case, they certify that a mask meets the N95 standard.


N95 Mask – Standard or Valved?

When buying N95 masks there are many options on the market. One choice you will come across is to choose a standard N95 respirator without a valve, or to get a mask with a valve.

The valve in facemasks are there to make the mask more comfortable for you, especially when wearing the mask for longer periods of time. When you exhale, the valve opens up and lets the hot air through the valve instead of having to force the air through the mask filter. This makes it easier to breath and also keeps you cooler. It also helps the mask not get damp / soiled as it lets the hot and humid exhalation air out quickly and directly.

Masks with valves will still protect your inhaled breaths as when you breath in, the valve is closed and the mask will filter as a standard mask would do.

This is what 3M says about their 3M Cool Flow valves:

“The Cool Flow valve’s efficiency in keeping breathing cool and comfortable has been demonstrated through testing*: the atmosphere inside a respirator with a Cool Flow valve is on average 7.5°F cooler than the similar product without the valve. This makes Cool Flow valve respirators ideal for long periods of wear, especially where conditions are hot, humid or physically demanding. *Testing conducted in a 3M laboratory. Testing protocol, data generation and conclusions were reviewed and approved by an expert from The University of Minnesota”

It is also important to note when you should not use a valved mask. If you are in a sterile healthcare environment you SHOULD NOT wear a valved mask. The reason is that the mask will not filter out contaminants from your exhaled breath. This will contaminate the environment around the wearer. By the same token, for containment purposes for example, if someone is sick with something transmissible or contagious they should wear a standard mask, NOT a valved mask.

There you have it, now you know when to choose a standard N95 mask and when to choose a valved N95 facemask.


N95 Masks

Yes, we still have some N95 masks available for sale.

All the masks we have are NIOSH N95 certified.

Both regular N95 respirator masks and valved N95 masks available.

View some of the N95 masks that we have in stock.

Please email us for current pricing.

Shipping worldwide.

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N95 masks
n95 surgical masks

Note: prices are currently higher than regular due to very high global demand