April 12, 2006

Protecting the health of all Ontarians


Understanding the Smoke-Free Ontario Act


NEWMARKET York Region, with all other communities across Ontario, will welcome the Smoke-Free Ontario Act which comes into force on May 31, 2006.


The Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) is designed to protect the health of all Ontarians by prohibiting smoking in all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places. The Act will rename and amend the Tobacco Control Act, 1994, repeal the Smoking in the Workplace Act, and supersede the Regional Municipality of York No-Smoking Bylaw A-0285-2000-105.  

York Region residents have been protected from second-hand smoke under the Regional Municipality of York No-Smoking Bylaw.  The new SFO provincial legislation addresses many of the same issues as the local bylaw but is more restrictive.  Some of the main improvements in this legislation surround the issues of designated smoking rooms, smoking in licensed home day cares and outdoor patios and the retail promotion of tobacco products. Specifically:

         Designated smoking rooms are no longer permitted in public places including restaurants, bars, casinos, bingo halls, bowling alleys and billiard halls.  There will be no exemptions for private clubs such as legions and social clubs

         Smoking is prohibited on any outdoor patio that is partially or completely covered by a roof

         Retail vendors of tobacco products will need to immediately restrict the retail promotion of tobacco products and a complete ban on the display of tobacco products will be imposed by May 31, 2008

         All licensed private home day care, as defined under the Day Nurseries Act, must be smoke-free at all times, whether or not children are present


The SFOA was created to protect Ontario residents from exposure to second-hand smoke and the subsequent related diseases which claim approximately 1,000 lives each year in Canada.  Second-hand smoke is a mixture of the smoke exhaled from a smoker and the fumes that are expelled from the burning end of a cigarette, cigar or pipe.  It contains higher concentrations of the same 4000 toxic chemicals found in first-hand smoke and causes the same smoking-related illnesses including cancers, heart and respiratory diseases.

For a complete overview of the SFOA, please see the attached backgrounder.


For more information on health-related questions, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca.                                                                           

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For more information on the Regional Municipality of York and the services our Region offers, please visit our Web site at: www.york.ca


Media Contact:            Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, York Region Health Services

905-830-4444 Ext. 4016 or after-hours pager (905) 830-3302

Email: jennifer.mitchellemmerson@york.ca

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