Smoking in Canada

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Smoking in Canada is banned in indoor public spaces and workplaces (including restaurants, bars, and casinos), by all territories and provinces, and by the federal government. As of 2010, legislation banning smoking within each of these jurisdictions is mostly consistent, despite the separate development of legislation by each jurisdiction. Notable variations between the jurisdictions include: whether or not, and in what circumstances ventilated smoking rooms are permitted; whether or not, and up to what distance away from a building is smoking banned outside of a building; and, whether or not smoking is banned in private vehicles occupied by children.

Some municipalities have bylaws restricting smoking further than the applicable national legislation.

The federal government's smoking ban in workplaces and on common carriers applies only to the federal government and to federally regulated businesses, such as airports. Smoking rooms are not permitted.

Smoking bans[edit]


Alberta banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces, including within 5 metres of doors, windows, and intakes, on 1 January 2008.[1] A "shower curtain" (or "powerwall") law requiring shop owners to keep tobacco sales out of sight was implemented 1 July 2008.[2] As of 1 January 2009, cigarette sales in Alberta have been banned in all stores containing a pharmacy as well as post-secondary institutions.[3] It is an offence for a minor to possess or consume tobacco products with fines starting at $100. It is also illegal to sell to minors, retailers who sell tobacco products to minors are subject to a fine of $3,000 for the individual sales person (plus an additional fine of $50,000 for the business).[4]

British Columbia[edit]

British Columbia banned smoking in all public spaces and workplaces including, as of March 2008,[5] within a 3 metre radius of doors, open windows and air intakes, 6 metres.[6] Additionally, all commercial displays of tobacco visible to people under the age of 19 was banned in public areas under the same legislation. As of March 2008, ventilated smoking rooms are only permitted in nursing homes and care facilities. Smoking in a motor vehicle is prohibited by section 231.1 of the Motor Vehicle Act, where there is a person 16 years or under in the vehicle, regardless of the use of windows/doors/sunroof. The smoking ban does not apply to hotel rooms.


Manitoba banned smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public spaces on October 1, 2004. Specially ventilated rooms are not allowed in bars and restaurants.[7] A law banning retail displays of tobacco and heavily restricting promotion and advertising of tobacco and tobacco-related products came into effect on October 15, 2005.[8] An act banning smoking in vehicles when children under 16 are present became law July 15, 2010 and applies to all lighted tobacco products.[9]

New Brunswick[edit]

New Brunswick banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces in October 2004. Ventilated smoking rooms are not permitted. Since 1 January 2009, tobacco products cannot be displayed prominently in stores. Since 1 January 2010. the ban was expanded to include vehicles with children under 16 present.

Newfoundland and Labrador[edit]

Newfoundland and Labrador banned smoking within public places such as day cares, schools, taxis, hospitals, retail stores, and recreational facilities in 1994. From 1994 to 2002 public places, such as food establishments, bars and bingo halls, and workplaces could allow smoking in designated smoking areas or rooms. In 2002, through an amendment to the Smoke-free Environment Act, smoking was banned in food establishments, shopping malls, transportation terminals, hotel/motel common areas, games arcades, public libraries and boys and girls clubs. In 2005, smoking was banned in all public spaces and workplaces, under the province's Smoke-Free Environment Act, including licensed liquor establishments and bingo halls. Enclosed, ventilated smoking rooms are permitted only in psychiatric facilities and long term care facilities.[10] Sales of tobacco are prohibited in places such as in retail stores that have a pharmacy, on university and college campuses, or recreational facilities.[11] Smoking in a motor vehicle, when a person under the age of 16 is present, became illegal in 2011.[12]

Nova Scotia[edit]

Nova Scotia banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces on 1 December 2006. Ventilated smoking rooms are permitted in nursing homes and care facilities. Tobacco products cannot be displayed prominently in stores.[13] On 1 April 2008, smoking in a car with passengers under 9 inside became illegal.[14] Minors are prohibited from possessing tobacco products.[4]


Ontario banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces in 2006 under the Smoke Free Ontario Act.[13] In 2008, a ban on retail displays of tobacco was implemented. Since January 21, 2009, smoking is banned in all vehicles if anyone under the age of 16 is present. As of January 1, 2015, smoking is prohibited province-wide on all bar and restaurant patios and within a 20 meter radius of all playgrounds and sports fields. Tobacco sales are prohibited on college and university campuses.[15][16]

Many Ontario municipalities (cities, counties and regions) have passed smoke-free bylaws that are stricter than the provincial Smoke Free Ontario Act, such as City of Toronto, City of Ottawa, Region of Niagara, Region of Peel, City of Hamilton, and City of Barrie.

For example, as of April 2, 2012 in Ottawa, smoke free regulations prohibit smoking on all municipal properties, including parks, playgrounds, beaches, sports fields, fruit and vegetable markets and outdoor areas around City facilities. Outdoor restaurant and bar patios and terraces are also smoke free.[17] Smoking has also been prohibited on all public transit (OC Transpo) properties including station platforms, since 2007. Fines for non-compliance range from $305 to $5000 as per the Provincial Offences Act.

Hamilton banned smoking on all municipal properties, including parks, playgrounds, beaches, sports fields on May 31, 2012. Any person who contravenes a provision of this By-law is guilty of an offence and upon conviction is liable to a maximum fine of $10,000.00.

In Toronto, Municipal Code prohibits smoking within 9 meters of an entrance or exit of any building used by the public. Smoking is also prohibited in all public squares and within 9 meters of park amenities such as playgrounds, sports fields, skate parks, ski hills, picnic areas, swimming pools, theatre space, splash pads, washrooms, beaches, park zoos and farms, and service waiting lines.[18]

In Ontario, where more than one regulation, act or bylaw exists, the one that is the most restrictive of smoking prevails.

Prince Edward Island[edit]

Prince Edward Island banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces in 2003. Ventilated smoking rooms are only allowed in long-term care facilities.


Quebec banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces on 31 May 2006.[13] The province eliminated designated smoking rooms in 2008.[19]


Saskatchewan banned smoking in public places on 1 January 2005 and banned smoking in workplaces on 31 May 2009. The province reinstated 'shower curtain law' (2005) requires shop owners to keep tobacco sales out of sight. There are fines of up to $10 000 for violation of the Tobacco Control Act which bans smoking in all public areas, indoor and outdoor, including clubs for veterans.[13] Since 1 October 2010, smoking is prohibited if there are children under 16 years of age in the vehicle.[20]

Northwest Territories[edit]

The Northwest Territories banned smoking in public places and workplaces on 1 May 2004.[21]


Nunavut banned smoking in public spaces and workplace, including within three metres of entrances and exits to those buildings, on 1 May 2004.[22]


The Yukon banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces on 15 May 2008. It was the last of the provinces and territories to implement a ban.

See also[edit]