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ORHMA

In late 1999, the Ontario Restaurant Association (ORA) and the Ontario Hotel and Motel Association (OHMA) combined to form the Ontario Restaurant, Hotel and Motel Association (ORHMA). Prior to amalgamation, the ORA had been active in opposing smoke-free bylaw proposals in the Greater Toronto Area, Sault Ste. Marie and other parts of the province. The ORA led the campaign in opposition to the 1996 City of Toronto bylaw, opposition which helped result in Council's decision not to make bars and restaurants 100% smoke-free by allowing a small increment of smoke-free space in an amended version of the bylaw implemented in 1997.

 


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In 1998, the then-ORA began a project which the ORHMA continued, namely the promotion of unenclosed ventilation as an alternative to 100% smoke-free policies. The ORA's first attempt to prove that ventilation technology could substitute for smoke-free involved set-up of a demonstration project at the Black Dog Pub in Scarborough, Ontario. The results of the demonstration project were announced at a June 8, 1999 news conference, at which ORA/Greater Toronto Hotel Association (GTHA) officials and their technical consultants claimed that the ventilation technology in the pub cut ETS levels in the non-smoking area of the pub to levels comparable to a publicly-regulated smoke-free foodcourt in the City of Toronto. Subsequent to the ORA/GTHA announcement, City of Toronto staff visited the comparison site in the foodcourt and found it to be contaminated with second-hand smoke from adjacent restaurants. Numerous analyses and reviews of the technical documents presented at the June 8th news conference were carried out by analysts in both Canada and the United States. All concluded that pilot project and a subsequent series of tests at the same site which were written up and published in 1999, failed to prove that ventilation technology could effectively eliminate second-hand smoke from indoor premises.

What was not widely known at the time of the Black Dog Pub demonstration was that ORA President Terry Mundell and his technical consultant, Derrick Finn, (click here to view a memo naming Finn as a "technical advisor" to the CTMC), were collaborating with the Canadian Tobacco Manufacturers' Council (CTMC) in promoting ventilation and in taking other steps to attempt to prevent the City of Toronto from passing a 100% smoke-free bylaw. Mundell's actions and the ORA's collaboration with the CTMC are described in a July 15, 1998 CTMC memorandum. Click here to view the memo.

Another excellent source of information on the ORA/ORHMA promotion of ventilation and collaboration with the tobacco industry can be found in a recent publication of Physicians for a Smoke-free Canada titled "Behind the Scenes: How the Canadian Tobacco Companies promoted 'ventilation' solutions to avoid restrictions on second-hand smoke"

 

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