The mask “from the beginning”

Le masque «dès le début»

Wearing a mask in public “at the beginning of a pandemic,” has been recommended by public health as early as 2007, according to a notice sent at the time of the Québec government. The organization was also a concern of a shortage due to the american production.

Quebec has been over a month and a half after the start of the pandemic, before recommending the wearing of mask in public.

However, in September 2007, the Institute of public health of Quebec (INSPQ) provided the government with scientific advice on the wearing of the mask in a pandemic influenza.

Contrary to the assertions of Dr. Horacio Arruda in march, “wearing a mask in the community from the beginning of a pandemic” was recommended. He should be regarded as a measure of voluntary protection ” to promote. ”

The comprehensive document of 52 pages, points out that wearing a mask does not offer absolute protection and is not unanimous. But, it is a simple intervention, without risk to the health and logic due to the transmission by droplets.

The INSPQ also considered:

– The contact of healthy persons with another asymptomatic, but contagious

– The impact in terms of morbidity and mortality during a pandemic

– That the mask can be a measure of protection, in a context where the antivirals and the vaccine is not available

– That the mask is already considered in the hospital environment as a means of protection

– That the population already purchases of the equipment in case of infectious diseases, such as condoms, to STI.

Reserve quebec

The INSPQ is also concern of the reserves and the production capacity of masks in Quebec. In 2003, during the SARS crisis, the supply of hard masks in Toronto has made it vulnerable to the other provinces.

“The masks in Quebec are all manufactured in the United States, which could compromise the supply to québec suppliers during a pandemic,” says the document.

In 2009, the ministry of Health had therefore made masks for all the families of Quebec. Warehouse 23 million masks had been put on foot. But, the reserves have been emptied since.

With the collaboration of Andrea Valeria


On the masks to use

The mask procedure is easier to put on and take off the surgical mask. It is thus indicated for the access of the public. If the accessibility of these masks is compromised, it would be necessary to consider the masks in paper or cloth for symptomatic persons and inform the public on ways to make masks in fabric.

On the supply of masks

That the authorities ensure that the population will have access to masks on sale free during the pandemic. Discussions with the manufacturers and distributors of masks to meet the demand. Make representations to the ministry of Economy in order that it offers assistance programs to enable industry to invest in Québec in the production of masks.


The government should have a communication plan to inform the public about protective measures during a pandemic, including the port of the mask. The population will want to be informed when the images transmitted by the media show of people wearing the mask in other affected countries. To say that wearing a mask may be effective to protect themselves.

The recommendations

  • Encourage mask-wearing by healthy individuals during activities, such as transit, public gatherings, etc
  • That the person with symptoms of influenza, wear a respiratory mask during care, travel or in the presence of other people.
  • That caregivers wear a mask.
  • Workers in contact with the public wear a mask.
  • Ensure access to masks fairly, to those most vulnerable and on lower incomes.
  • Prioritize the distribution of health care in the event of a pandemic.
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