Smokefree legislation

Most of Canada’s 13 provinces and territories have comprehensive smokefree legislation. For an overview see NSRA at

Alberta – The Tobacco Reduction Act took effect on 1 January 2008. It prohibits smoking in public places, workplaces, on public transport and within 5m of doorways, windows and air intake systems of any public place or workplace. Separate smoking rooms are permitted in nursing homes and mental health care facilities; hotel guest rooms can be designated as smoking rooms. Enoch Cree and Tsuu T’ina First Nations passed bylaws allowing smoking in gaming facilities located on reserves.



British Columbia – On 31 March 2008, revised smokefree legislation took effect, making all indoor public places and workplaces, including bars and restaurants smokefree. Smoking rooms are not permitted. From 7 April 2009 smoking is banned in cars carrying passengers under 16 years of age. (GL NIM 20 March 2009). There are proposals to extend the ban to outdoor patios (see

Manitoba – The Non-Smokers Health Protection Act took effect in 1 October 2004. Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public places and indoor workplaces, including bars and restaurants. The legislation does not apply to federal workplaces or reserve lands. Municipalities can pass their own by-laws but the Provincial law takes precedent unless the municipality restriction is more stringent. See

New Brunswick – Under the Smoke-free Places Act (which took effect on 1 October 2004) smoking is not allowed any enclosed public place or indoor workplace. However, smoking is permitted in designated hotel rooms and in designated smoking rooms in group living facilities. An amendment to the Smoke-free Places Act was announced on 30 March 2009 which will prohibit smoking in a car carrying people under the age of 16 (GL NIMI 1 April 2009).

Newfoundland and Labrador – Under the Smoke-Free Environment Act, smoking has been prohibited in day-care centres, schools, retail stores, acute health facilities, buses, taxis and recreational facilities since 1993. Amendments to the Smoke-Free Environment Act in 2002 required that restaurants frequented by children became smoke-free. From 1 July 2005, all workplaces and enclosed public places were required to prohibit smoking. Smoking is banned in all outdoor patios. DSRs are allowed in workplaces that the public is not admitted to.

Northwest Territories – Smoking is prohibited in all workplaces, and most public places, under section 25 of the Safety Act – Environmental Tobacco Smoke Work Site Regulations which took effect in May 2004. Smoking is also prohibited in a 3m radius of entrances to workplaces. Designated smoking areas are allowed in workplaces that the public is not admitted to.

Nova Scotia – Amendments to the 2003 Smoke-Free Places Act took effect on 1 December 2006. Smoking is prohibited in all indoor public spaces and workplaces, as well as outdoor bar and restaurant patios. Smoking is only permitted in nursing homes and residential care facilities. Nova Scotia became Canada’s first province to ban smoking in private vehicles with minors present on 1 April 2008. The smokefree laws are considered to be the most comprehensive in Canada.

Nunavut Territory – The Tobacco Control Act, which took effect on 1 February 2004 prohibits smoking in all workplaces and within a 3m radius of entrances. Municipalities can pass by-laws to further restrict smoking.

Ontario – The Smoke-Free Ontario Act took effect on 31 May 2006. It prohibits smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public places. Smoking is also prohibited in common areas of condominiums, apartment buildings and college residences. Controlled smoking areas are permitted at long-term care homes and designated smoking bedrooms at hotels are allowed. Aboriginal persons have the right to use tobacco if it is being used for traditional cultural or spiritual purposes. A ban on smoking in cars carrying children under 16 took effect on 21 January 2009. For more information on the legislation see

Prince Edward Island – Since 2003 smoking is banned in all public places and workplaces but smoking areas are allowed in several places. In restaurants, separate ventilation DSRs are allowed, with no service. The government has announced it will draft legislation on banning smoking in cars carrying children, after public consultation.

Quebec – Amendments to the Tobacco Act took effect on May 31, 2006. Smoking is prohibited in all workplaces and all enclosed public places, and within a 9m radius outside of health and social services institutions, post-secondary educational institutions and facilities where activities for minors are provided. A maximum of 40% of rooms in residential psychiatric institutions, residential and long-term care centres, rehabilitation centres and shelters for the indignant or those in distress can be designated smoking, as can 40% of rooms in a tourist accommodation facility. Cigar lounges which were open before 10th May 2005 are also exempt from being smoke-free. From 30 May 2008 DSRs were banned in all workplaces. For more information see The Quebec government is considering bringing in a ban on smoking in cars carrying children aged 16 and under (ASH Scotland 15 April 09).

Saskatchewan – Under the Tobacco Control Act smoking was prohibited in all enclosed public places, including bars, restaurants and private clubs on 1 January 2005. The Act gives municipalities the jurisdiction to enact stricter bylaws which could be used to ban smoking in outdoor areas. The law does not apply to reserve land. DSRs are allowed in workplaces that the public is not admitted to. See for more information.

Yukon – Smokefree legislation was introduced on 15 May 2008 which bans smoking in public places, including outdoor decks and patios of bars and restaurants. It will also cover cars carrying children under 18 years. Smoking will be banned in vehicles used for business purposes if they are carrying two or more people

Smokefree resources available in 2009

Non-smokers’ Rights Association (NSRA)

Preparation for smokefree legislation

Canada’s first 100% smokefree laws took effect in Victoria, BC in 1999. In 2004 two provinces and two territories became 100% smokefree. Each province used individual campaigns to achieve their goals, but the key factors in their success were:

* Strongly and clearly written legislation that does not allow exemptions
* Strong media strategies
* High profile people to champion the law
* Awareness of tobacco industry tactics to stop or delay laws and strategies to counter these tactics
* Strict enforcement of the laws

Campaigners used region-specific studies to provide evidence of the benefits of smokefree legislation. These surveys also helped encourage municipalities to adopt smokefree bylaws before the province went smokefree. Campaigners did not compromise on issues such as allowing designated smoking rooms. For more information on the campaign visit The Global Smokefree Partnership at

Enforcement and compliance

Compliance appears to be high, especially in the provinces and territories that have had smokefree laws for a few years. An example of an enforcement document: Ottawa County Smokefree Air Regulation Enforcement Protocol (Canada):

First, say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do. Health Service Food and Human Resources: – Duty free cigarette store

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