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, and in what circumstances ventilated smoking rooms are permitted; whether, and up to what distance away from a building is smoking banned outside of a building; and, whether smoking is banned in private vehicles occupied by children.

Some municipalities have bylaws restricting smoking further than the applicable national/provincial/territorial 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. As of 2015, 13% of Canadians smoke. [1]

Smoking bans[edit]


Alberta banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces, including within 5 metres of doors, windows, and intakes, on 1 January 2008.[2] A tobacco display ban (or "powerwall") law requiring shop owners to keep tobacco sales out of sight was implemented 1 July 2008.[3] As of 1 January 2009, cigarette sales in Alberta have been banned in all stores containing a pharmacy as well as post-secondary institutions.[4] 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).[5] As of 2015, 15.8% of Alberta residents smoke.[6] As of November 14, 2014 it has been illegal to smoke in a vehicle with children under the age of 16.

British Columbia[edit]

British Columbia banned smoking in all public spaces and workplaces including, as of March 2008,[7] within a 6-metre radius of doors, open windows and air intakes.[8] 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 when a passenger is 16 years or under, regardless of the use of windows or sunroofs to vent smoke, is prohibited by section 231.1 of the Motor Vehicle Act. The smoking ban does not apply to hotel rooms, though many have private bans on the practice.[citation needed] As of 2015, 10.2% of British Columbia residents smoke, the lowest of any province. [9]


Manitoba banned smoking in all workplaces and enclosed public spaces on October 1, 2004. Specially ventilated rooms are not allowed in bars and restaurants.[10] A law banning retail displays of tobacco and heavily restricting promotion and advertising of tobacco and tobacco-related products came into effect on 15 October 2005.[11] An act banning smoking in vehicles when children under 16 are present became law July 15, 2010 and applies to all lighted tobacco products.[12] As of 2015, 14.8% of Manitoba residents smoke.[13]

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.[citation needed] As of 2015, 14.2% of New Brunswick residents smoke.[14]

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.[15] Sales of tobacco are prohibited in places such as in retail stores that have a pharmacy, on university and college campuses, or recreational facilities.[16] Smoking in a motor vehicle, when a person under the age of 16 is present, became illegal in 2011.[17] As of 2015, 18.5% of Newfoundland and Labrador residents smoke, the highest of any province.[18]

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.[19] On 1 April 2008, smoking in a car with passengers under 19 inside became illegal.[20] Minors are prohibited from possessing tobacco products.[5] As of 2015, 17.8% of Nova Scotia residents smoke.[21]


Ontario banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces in 2006 under the Smoke Free Ontario Act.[19] In 2008, a ban on retail displays of tobacco was implemented. Since 21 January 2009, smoking is banned in all vehicles if anyone under the age of 16 is present. As of 1 January 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.[22][23] As of January 1 2018, hospital properties must be 100% smoke-free [24]

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 2 April 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.[25] 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 31 May 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.[26]

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

As of 2015, 11.3% of Ontario residents smoke.[27]

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. As of 2015, 12.9% of Prince Edward Island residents smoke.[28]


Quebec banned smoking in public spaces and workplaces, such as offices, hospitals, restaurants and bars on 31 May 2006.[19] Smoking is banned within a 9m radius of the entrances of social services institutions such as hospitals, community centres, CEGEP, colleges and universities. Smoking is banned on the properties of elementary and high schools.[29] The province eliminated designated smoking rooms in 2008.[30] The law was amended by Bill 44 in November 2015. The sale of electronic cigarettes is regulated like tobacco, including restrictions on advertising. ID requirements for tobacco sales are stricter and fines are increased. It is prohibited to sell flavoured tobacco products, including menthol. All public organizations, such as hospitals and post-secondary education institutions, must adopt a smoke-free and smoking cessation policy and report to the government. Since May 26, 2016, smoking and e-cigarettes are banned on restaurant and bar patios and terraces, playgrounds and sports fields, including a 9 m (30 ft) radius. Smoking in a vehicle with children under 16 is also prohibited. As of November 2016, smoking was banned within a 9 m (30 ft) radius of all doors, windows and air intakes of any building open to the public. Standardized warning label sizes was applied to all tobacco packages.[31] As of 2015, 14.2% of Quebec residents smoke.[32]


Saskatchewan banned smoking in public places on 1 January 2005 and banned smoking in workplaces on 31 May 2009. The province reinstated tobacco display ban (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.[19] Since 1 October 2010, smoking is prohibited if there are children under 16 years of age in the vehicle.[33] As of 2015, 16.9% of Saskatchewan residents smoke.[34]

Northwest Territories[edit]

The Northwest Territories banned smoking in public places and workplaces on 1 May 2004.[35]


Nunavut banned smoking in public spaces and workplace, including within three metres of entrances and exits to those buildings, on 1 May 2004.[36] As of 2014, 62% of Nunavut residents smoke, the highest of any territory.[37]


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]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Smoke Free Alberta | News & Information Archived 2010-08-09 at the Wayback Machine.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2010-08-06. 
  4. ^
  5. ^ a b Barbara von Tigerstrom, "Public Health" in Jocelyn Downie et al., eds., Canadian Health Law and Policy (Canada: LexisNexis, 2007 - updated 2014) at 502.
  6. ^
  7. ^ "Health – Province of British Columbia" (PDF). Retrieved 30 September 2016. 
  8. ^ "Tobacco Control Program". Ministry of Health, Province of British Columbia. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Non-Smokers Health Protection Act". Manitoba. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  11. ^ "Tobacco Control & Cessation – Questions & Answers for Retailers". Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  12. ^ "The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Promoting Safer and Healthier Conditions in Motor Vehicles)". Manitoba. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Department of Health and Community Services - Smoke-Free Environments Frequently Asked Questions Archived 2014-11-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  17. ^ Changes to the Smoke-Free Environment Act 2005 Archived 2014-11-10 at the Wayback Machine.
  18. ^
  19. ^ a b c d In Depth: Smoking CBC News
  20. ^ Nova Scotia bans smoking in cars with children as of April 1 21 March 2008
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Smoke-Free Ontario". Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  26. ^ "Legislation – Live Tobacco-Free – Healthy Lifestyle — City of Toronto". Retrieved 30 September 2015. 
  27. ^
  28. ^
  29. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  30. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-03-01. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
  31. ^ Assemblee nationale du Quebec  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^
  33. ^ [1] CBC News
  34. ^
  35. ^ Canada -
  36. ^ Public Smoking Bans by Province and Territory - Factsheets Archived 2011-03-01 at the Wayback Machine.
  37. ^ "Smokers, by sex, provinces and territories (Percent)". Statistics Canada. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 6 September 2015.