Smoking bylaw will save local businesses
The Sudbury Star
Tue 24 Jun 2003

Dear Editor:

Judging from their continuing struggle to overturn Sudbury's excellent smoke-free bylaw, Michael Hennessy and his colleagues should rename their group Bar owners United To Support Smoking (CABR Rattling: Local Group Challenges City's Smoke-Free Bylaw -- June 13).

Constant media attacks against the bylaw, and ongoing legal action to have it struck down, including a major court challenge, are a strange way of demonstrating Hennessy's claim that "CABR does not endorse smoking and does not encourage smoking."

I was struck by the fact that throughout his interview with The Sudbury Star, he made no mention of the health of workers in the establishments in which he would like to see smoking continue. Perhaps CABR hasn't heard of non-smoking Ottawa waitress Heather Crowe, whose life will shortly end due to the lung cancer she contracted while working in smoke-filled hospitality establishments. In his preoccupation with legal strategems, CABR doesn't seem to have given any thought to possible legal action he and his colleagues will face from employees who get sick from working in their establishments, if his strategy to overturn the bylaw works and these establishments continue to allow smoking.

CABR might also want to have a look at Bill C-45, which was introduced in the House of Commons on June 12 and which will place a "legal duty" on "everyone who undertakes, or has the authority, to direct how another person does work or performs a task ... to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task."

In other words, an employer who does not eliminate second-hand smoke or similar health hazards from his/her place of work may face criminal charges.

In light of the likely impact of this new federal statute when it is passed, CABR should thank the City of Greater Sudbury for having made all bars and restaurants in the city 100-per-cent smoke-free. Compliance with the bylaw will mean they can avoid serious criminal charges thanks to their smoke-free workplaces.

Michael Perley

- Michael Perley is director of the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco.

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