Home > Opposition > Organizations > PUBCO


The Pub and Bar Coalition of Ontario (PUBCO) originally formed during the City of Ottawa's 100% smoke-free workplace and public place bylaw campaign. Since the passage of the bylaws in August 2001, PUBCO has expanded its membership and lobbying efforts outside of Ottawa, and is now the most aggressive organization in Ontario opposing municipal regulation of smoking in hospitality establishments. Over the past year, PUBCO has regularly appeared at municipal and regional public consultations on proposed smoking bylaws, and has circulated memos to councils outlining their positions on the "questionable" scientific evidence of second-hand smoke, ventilation technology, and economic impact on the bar industry. (For a discussion on the problems of ventilation technology and the links between Canadian tobacco companies and particular hospitality organizations that support ventilation compliance options in smoking bylaws, please refer to the section on ventilation).


·  HAC

PUBCO has circulated beer sales numbers to Ontario municipal and regional councils which they claim show that beer sales are down in Ottawa in comparison to the provincial average (they compare Ottawa to thirteen of the 447 municipalities in Ontario)due to smoking bans. OCAT sent a memorandum to public health units and municipal councils in September 2002 which questioned the validity of PUBCO's analysis. In response, PUBCO General Manager Barry McKay sent out a rebuttal. OCAT issued a response to McKay's rebuttal on November 13, 2002. On May 26, 2003, PUBCO again issued a news release that claimed smoke-free bylaws as the cause for continuing declines in beer sales. OCAT responded to these allegations in its own news release.

The related documents are below:

It is interesting to note that Jeff Newton, Executive Director of the Brewers of Ontario, stated in a May 27th, 2003 story in the Record ("Smoking ban lowers beer sales; Barkeepers' study doesn't tell entire story, health experts say") that "'Probably the biggest impact on beer sales has been demographics'". This assessment of market conditions affecting beer sales comes from the association that supplied PUBCO its beer sales data.

Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilizing Corporation v. EPA

PUBCO frequently cites Judge William L. Osteen’s decision in Flue-Cured Tobacco Cooperative Stabilizing Corporation v. EPA to “strike down” the findings of the 1993 US Environmental Protection Agency report,Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking, as evidence that second-hand smoke does not cause lung cancer, heart disease and other smoking-related illnesses. Judge Osteen of the Middle District of North Carolina struck down the findings in a July 1998 decision, ruling in the tobacco industry lawsuit that the EPA had used inaccurate science in classifying second-hand smoke as a class “A“ (human) carcinogen. PUBCO not only references the Osteen decision on their website, but representatives often raise the ruling during smoking bylaw public consultations and in memos circulated to council members.

The decision was appealed and on 11 December 2002, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously decided to uphold the EPA report and reject the tobacco industry’s claim. The Court ruled that the EPA report was not subject to court review because it was advisory and not a final agency action. The ruling decisively affirms the EPA's authority to make scientific judgments and issue them without political, legal, or industry interference.

Tobacco giant, Philip Morris decided in January 2003 not to appeal the decision to the US Supreme Court. Tom Ryan, spokesperson for the tobacco company, said Philip Morris's position on second-hand smoke has "evolved" since the EPA report was issued. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. has not decided whether to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

PUBCO misinformation about compliance with California smoke-free law

Statements from PUBCO representatives that compliance with California's statewide smoke-free law is less than 60%, have recently surfaced in a bylaw debate in Huron County (the statement comes from an unattributed "rant" on the PUBCO website). This is typical misinformation from PUBCO and can be easily corrected by the following:

  • A November 2002 release from California Governor Gray Davis' office reports the results of two Field Research polls for the Department of Health Services, which show overwhelming support for smoke-free bars throughout California.

    According to the polls, 75% of bar owners and employees in California prefer to work in smoke-free environments. Nearly 80% of bar patrons agree that smoke-free dining and drinking establishments are important to their health

  • The majority of bar managers and employees surveyed (77%) said complying with the law has been "very" or "fairly" easy.

  • The majority of bar patrons (87%) including smokers (71%), said they are more likely to visit bars, or have not changed their bar-going behaviour as a result of the law.

A November 2001 case study entitled, "Eliminating Smoking in Bars, Taverns and Gaming Clubs: The California Smoke-free Workplace Act" by the California Department of Health Services' Tobacco Control Section states that:

"Estimates by BREATH (Bar and Restaurant Employees Against Tobacco Hazards) in 2001, based upon on-site bar surveys and LLA (Local Lead Agencies - City and County Health Departments) interviews with law enforcers, place statewide compliance with Labor Code 6404.5 at an unprecedented 90% for bars attached to restaurants, statewide. Heavily visited areas, such as Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco, Monterey's Cannery Row, Carmel-by-the-Sea, the Gaslamp District in San Diego, Santa Monica Pier, Mammoth Lakes ski resort and other tourist and resort areas reported even higher compliance rates of 95% or more."

PUBCO Distortion of Facts and Misstatements

In addition to PUBCO's many distortions of fact and misstatements, its representatives have sometimes told outright whoppers or demonstrated complete ignorance of the issues they address in their presentations. This section is designed to highlight some of the more absurd examples of this tendency among PUBCO representatives.

  • On April 3rd, Dan Taite told the Huron County Council that PUBCO had "400 members" and was launching a "$400,000 constitutional challenge" to smoking bylaws elsewhere in Ontario.

    In a May 15, 2003 letter to the Daily Press in Timmins, PUBCO General Manager Barry F. McKay said "as to the figure of $400,000 legal costs, I have no idea from where (Michael Perley) conjured up these figures, but I would emphasize the fact that PUBCO members and no-one else are contributing to a legal fund to help defray the actual cost."

    On May 21st, Dan Taite included a copy of the PUBCO membership contract in his presentation to Callander Town Council. That contract states in part that a member "hereby agree(s) to enter into a 24 month contract with the Pub and Bar Coalition of Canada (the Coalition). I agree to pay an annual membership of $300 together with a $62.50 monthly charge. $12.50 of which is for second year membership and $50 to be applied to the "Smoking Ban Fund"... The $50 monthly charge will be credited to the Pub and Bar Coalition of Canada and applied for its expenses occurred in challenging municipal non-smoking by-laws in the province of Ontario and in the pursuit and development of alternative arrangements to smoking bans. All surcharge revenues shall be paid into a general "Smoking Ban Fund" to be administered and allocated as considered necessary and appropriate by the Board of Directors."

    At the same meeting in Callander, Dan Taite also said that PUBCO "went $96,000 into debt" from the Waterloo legal challenge they launched, and mentioned that the Ottawa legal challenge they launched cost PUBCO "over $100,000".

    So let's see, the constitutional challenge now underway costs $400,000. PUBCO says Ottawa and Waterloo cost PUBCO nearly $200,000. Yet PUBCO says its smoking ban revenue from membership as stated by Dan Taite produces $20,000 (400 members x $50 = $20,000).

    Can anyone make this add up?

  • At the May 21st Council meeting in Callander, Dan Taite also said that "I know Heather Crowe. She has stated that if ventilation had been place in Ottawa, then she wouldn't in the position she is in today."

    In a May 22, 2003 to Mayor Hector Lavigne and other Callander councillors, Heather Crowe said in part that "I was disturbed to learn that Mr. Dan Tait (sic) appeared at your May 21st Council meeting and claimed that he knew me and further claimed that if ventilation had been in place, I would not be in the position I am today. I do not know Mr. Tait and I have never made the claim about ventilation that he attributed to me."

    Well, maybe there are two Heather Crowes.

  • The Callander meeting also heard Mr. Taite claim PUBCO has "launched legal challenges before, but we've been unsuccessful because we ran out of money."

    No, Dan, actually, your challenges were thrown out of court. See Thirsty's Bar and Grill et al. and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo 2000; Pub and Bar Coalition of Ontario and Rideau Carleton Raceway v. City of Ottawa 2001. Also, see Her Majesty the Queen v. 519653 Ontario Inc., c.o.b. as Puzzles, January 2002; Her Majesty the Queen v. Ample Annie's Itty Bitty Roadhouse et al., 2001; Cambridge Bingo et al. and the Regional Municipality of Waterloo 2000; and Ontario Restaurant Association et al. and City of Toronto (1996) (unreported).

    Smoke-free: 6, Smoking: 0, and it's nothing to do with money.

  • In a further demonstration of mathematical aptitude, Dan Taite told the Callander Council that smoking provides a "$10 million revenue for the government".

    Dan may have forgotten a few zeros. Last year, tobacco tax revenue to the Ontario government was well over $1 billion. The federal government took in $2.1 billion during the same period.

    In contrast in Ontario, the most recent figures show direct health care costs exceeded $1 billion annually, with another $2.6 billion down the drain in foregone income and lost productivity.

    If PUBCO's this far off on basic tax data, think about the validity of the rest of their numbers.


| Health Effects | Ventilation | Smoke-Free Legislation | Economic Impact | Legal Issues | Opposition |
| Taxation | Smuggling | Youth Marketing | Retail Display Bans | Prevalence & Consumption |
| Links | Media | The Smoke-Free Lobby | What's New | Contact Us | Site Map | OCAT Home |