Transport Canada has fined two airline passengers for refusing to wear face masks on board.
The department says the travellers were fined $1,000 each after ignoring repeated directions from cabin crew to put on their face coverings.
The first incident occurred on a WestJet flight from Calgary to Waterloo, Ont., in June and the second on a WestJet trip from Vancouver to Calgary in July.
Masks or face coverings have been mandatory on flights since April 20 in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Under the federal order, all travellers must have face masks and wear them while boarding, during the flight and when leaving the aircraft.
In addition, travellers must comply with any instructions given by a gate agent or a crew member with respect to wearing a face covering.
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Transport Canada says the fines mark the first time passengers have received a financial penalty for refusing to don a mask.
The announcement comes three days after WestJet announced a strict new policy to ensure passengers wear face coverings, with consequences for non-compliers that include a year-long travel ban.
Since March, at least 973 flights have carried passengers with confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 in Canada, according to figures provided by the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Some 378 domestic and 595 international flights between March 2 and Aug. 24 flew travellers who “may have been exposed to COVID-19” on board, the agency said in an email.
Some flights may have had more than one positive case reported and a given case may have travelled on more than one flight, the agency said.
The figures, gathered through reports from provincial and territorial health authorities, are not exhaustive.
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