Ontario Legislation & Regulations
Smoke-Free Ontario Act
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) came into effect on May 31, 2006.
The SFOA replaced the 1994 Tobacco Control Act and makes all enclosed public places and workplaces (such as restaurants, bars, private clubs, work vehicles and offices) 100% smoke-free. It also toughens laws on tobacco sales to minors and restricts the display of tobacco products in retail outlets with a complete ban on the display of tobacco products by May 31, 2008. The Act was further amended to include regulations making all vehicles carrying children under the age of 16 smoke-free (January 2009), the banning of flavourings in cigarillos, and requires cigarillos to be sold in packages of no less than 20 (2010).
Additional SFOA regulations have also been implemented (2015) which prohibits smoking on outdoor hospitality patios (Legions and other veteran organizations are exempted), hospital grounds (with the allowance for Board-approved designated smoking areas), and outdoor playgrounds and sports fields. The sale of tobacco products on post-secondary educational campuses are also prohibited under these regulations.
Making Healthier Choices Act (implementation dates to be determined)
In 2015, the Ontario Legislature passed the Making Healthier Choices Act. This Act amends the SFOA by banning the sale of all flavoured tobacco products, including menthol. The Act also includes the regulation of e-cigarettes through the Electronic Cigarettes Act, which bans the sale and supply of e-cigarettes to anyone under the age of 19, prohibits the use of e-cigarettes in certain places where the smoking of tobacco is prohibited, bans the sale of e-cigarettes in places where cigarette sales are also prohibited, and prohibits the display and promotion of e-cigarettes in places where e-cigarettes or tobacco products are sold or offered for sale.
Information about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Making Healthier Choices Act are available on the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care’s website.
Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (1979)
This Act lists known toxic agents and makes recommendations to control the use of such agents in the workplace. Certain carcinogens found in second-hand smoke are those named by the Act: seven of the listed toxic agents are found in second-hand smoke emitted from at least 33 cigarette brands available for sale in Canada. However, the Ministry of Labour maintains that the Act does not apply to second-hand smoke because it is generated as a result of a worker smoking, which is not a work related activity.
Health Protection and Promotion Act (1983)
This Act gives the Medical Officers of Health for Ontario broad discretionary powers to protect community health, which includes the power to investigate and take appropriate action on complaints of occupational and environmental health hazards. It is possible that Medical Officers of Health could use these enabling powers to declare tobacco smoke a health hazard and order its elimination from Ontario workplaces. For a more detailed discussion on how this Act could be used to regulate second-hand smoke in public places and workplaces, please refer to the Smoking and Health Action Foundation publication, Using Ontario's Health Protection and Promotion Act to Reduce Exposure to Environmental Tobacco Smoke