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Ontario proposes changes to second-hand smoke and vapour law


March 14, 2016
By Canadian Pizza

Toronto – Ontario is proposing to strengthen its smoking laws to better protect people from second-hand smoke, whether from a tobacco product or medical marijuana, and Restaurants Canada said it welcomes the clarification.

The province is also proposing changes to regulate the use, sale, display and promotion of electronic cigarettes.

Studies show young people are less likely to become regular smokers when living in areas with strong tobacco control regulations when compared to areas where regulations are weaker, the province said in a news release.

Last week, Ontario proposed amendments to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and its regulation, as well as to the regulation under the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015. If passed, these changes would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and the smoking and vaping of medical marijuana in all enclosed public places, enclosed workplaces, and other specified outdoor areas; expand the list of places where e-cigarettes are prohibited for sale; establish rules for the display and promotion of e-cigarettes in places where they are sold and prohibit the testing of e-cigarettes where they are sold.

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A summary of proposed changes can be found on the Regulatory Registry for public comment.

Restaurants Canada said it welcomes the Ontario government’s proposal to clarify smoking regulations as they relate to medical marijuana.

“We were looking for consultation and clarity on this issue,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada’s vice-president, Ontario, in a news release. “Minister Damerla’s proposal provides both, and we support the initiative.”

The issue came to light recently when Ontario introduced regulations to allow medical marijuana users to be exempt from public smoking bans. At the time, it was further revealed that medical marijuana users would be allowed to light up in restaurants. It was not clear if restaurant operators would have been able to prohibit a patron from doing so under current laws and Ontario Human Right Code rulings.

“This would have put our members in a difficult position,” Rilett said. “Employees would have had to choose between conflicting rights of patrons. These changes recognize the conversations we had with government officials.”

Restaurants Canada consulted with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Associate Minister Damerla to address this issue prior to the announcement of regulatory changes.