Most colleges and universities in northeast drop COVID-19 mandates

The majority of northeastern Ontario’s post-secondary institutions have dropped masking and vaccine mandates as they head into a new academic year.

Laurentian University will continue to require masks in some situations

Sudbury's Laurentian University will continue to require masking in instructional settings where physical distancing isn't possible. (Erik White/CBC )

The majority of northeastern Ontario's post-secondary institutions have dropped masking and vaccine mandates as they head into a new academic year.

Only Laurentian University will require students, staff and faculty to wear masks in certain situations to protect against COVID-19.

At Laurentian, masks will be required in instructional spaces where physical distancing, with at least two metres between people, can't be maintained. Those spaces include classrooms, labs and studios.

"After discussions with campus leaders, colleagues at other post-secondary institutions, and public health officials, the University has determined that it will resume the face coverings policy," the university said in an update to students, staff and faculty on Aug. 25.

Laurentian has paused its vaccination requirements, although it encourages people to get vaccinated.

"Receiving your vaccination and booster doses continues to be the best approach to protecting yourself and those around you," Laurentian said in its Aug. 25 update.

"We strongly encourage you to receive your vaccinations either through our health services team, or your local public health unit."

The region's other colleges and universities have dropped all mandates, although many have said that could change depending on recommendations from public health authorities.

"Proof of vaccination, physical distancing, and wearing of a mask are not required to access campus or to live in student residence," said Dan Lessard, a spokesperson for Cambrian College in Sudbury. 

"These are matters of personal choice, and we would ask people to respect each other's choices."

Cambrian College spokesperson Dan Lessard says the Sudbury college has dropped masking and vaccine mandates, but continues to follow advice from public health authorities. (Submitted by Dan Lessard)

Lessard said the college would re-examine its policies if the situation changes and there "is a massive wave of COVID."

Michel Doucet, the vice-president of corporate services at Collège Boréal in Sudbury, said the fall term will be a return to a new normal for students, staff and faculty at the college.

"People are excited to get back to the new normal, let's call it the new normal," he said.

"I think that COVID is far from being over. It's still among us. We have to learn to live with it. We will continue to mitigate the risk. We'll continue to follow all the guidelines that are brought to us by public health."

Doucet said Boréal's position on masking and vaccine requirements is based on recommendations from public health authorities.

"There will be no mandatory mask policy in place unless we have further information from the department of health, and there will not be any mandatory vaccine requirements as well," he said.

All post-secondary institutions in Sault Ste. Marie, North Bay and Timmins have policies similar to Cambrian and Boréal.


  • A previous version of this story said NOSM University in Sudbury and Thunder Bay would require masking. They updated the policy on their website to reflect that won't be the case for this academic year.
    Sep 07, 2022 9:47 AM ET


Jonathan Migneault

Digital reporter/editor

Jonathan Migneault is a CBC digital reporter/editor based in Sudbury. He is always looking for good stories about northeastern Ontario. Send story ideas to


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