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Federal Legislation & Regulations

The Non-Smokers Health Act (1985) is the major piece of federal legislation that regulates second-hand smoke exposure. The Federal Government has jurisdiction over several aspects of tobacco use:

  • Federally-regulated workplaces such as federal government offices and banks are smoke-free under federal legislation;
  • Various advertising bans or restrictions concerning television, radio, print and sponsorship advertising are in force under federal statutes;
  • Changes in tobacco tax are traditionally initiated by the federal Finance Minister with agreement from the provinces;
  • The regulation of nicotine as a drug and of tobacco products as hazardous products is a federal responsibility, as are new package health warnings.

The Act was amended in May 2018 to prohibit vaping in federally regulated workplaces and certain modes of transportation.

Other Federal Legislative Issues

  • The federal government has proposed a ban on smoking inside federal prisons. A copy of the news release can be found by clicking here .

  • The Government of Canada has proposed Bill C-45 which would amend the Criminal Code to include a new provision making it an offence for employers not to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to their employees that results from their work. This has clear implications for second-hand smoke in the workplace, and places a legal obligation on the proprietor to provide a smoke-free environment, or else be charged with an offence. To learn more, please read the Physicians for a Smoke-Free Canada's December 8, 2003 news release.

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