The Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) came into effect in Ontario on May 31, 2006. In order to protect all people from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke, the Act prohibits smoking in all enclosed public places including workplaces, restaurants and bars as well as on school property. In 2009, an amendment to the Act was made which banned smoking in motor vehicles when children under 16 are present. The SFOA also bans the public display of tobacco products prior to purchase and prohibits the sale or provision of tobacco products to anyone under the age of 19.
Starting January 1, 2015, the SFOA also prohibits:
- Smoking on bar and restaurant patios.
- Smoking within 20m from the perimeter of playgrounds and public sports fields and surfaces
- Selling tobacco on university and college campuses.
These changes to the Smoke-Free Ontario Act are part of the government's plan to limit smoking in public places, reduce exposure to smoking and make it more difficult for young people to buy tobacco.
The outdoor regulations of the Act are enforced on a complaint basis. Our Tobacco Enforcement Officers will respond to all complaints received regarding smoking on playgrounds, public sports fields and on patios. Complaints can be made any time of day by calling the NWHU information line at 1-800-830-5978.
The SFOA is enforced by Tobacco Enforcement Officers who are employed by the Northwestern Health Unit. Officers enforce the SFOA by regularly visiting and partnering with tobacco vendors, schools, restaurants, hospitals and workplaces. Tobacco vendors are also provided with education and signage for their premises to assist them in complying with the Act.
Smoke-Free Outdoor Space By-laws and Smoke-Free Housing
Under the SFOA we are protected from second-hand smoke in many places but there are still places where exposure can happen. Policies and by-laws can help to reduce exposure in places such as parks, beaches and multi-unit housing. Contact your local health unit office for more information on ways to protect yourself and others from exposure to second-hand smoke.