The Act in Brief

The Act in BriefSmoke-Free Ontario Act — Protecting Ontarians

All Enclosed Workplaces and Enclosed Public Places In Ontario To Be Smoke-Free 

May 2006

Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places across Ontario as of May 31, 2006.

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act:

  • Bans smoking in enclosed public places and all enclosed workplaces as of May 31, 2006, including restaurants, bars, schools, private clubs, sports arenas, work vehicles, offices and entertainment venues, including casinos, bingo halls, bowling and billiard establishments
  • Eliminate designated smoking rooms (DSRs) in restaurants and bars, permit residential care facilities to operate controlled smoking areas which are specially designed to ensure nobody outside the room is exposed to second-hand smoke. The law stipulates who may enter the area and under what conditions, as well as requirements for engineering design, function and maintenance of these areas
  • Protect home health care workers from second-hand smoke when offering services in private residences
  • Prohibit smoking on patios that have food and beverage service if they are either partially or completely covered by a roof
  • Toughen the rules prohibiting tobacco sales to minors
  • Prevent the promotion of tobacco products in entertainment venues
  • Immediately restrict the retail promotion of tobacco products and impose a complete ban on the display of tobacco products by May 31, 2008

“The legislation will protect workers and the public from exposure to second-hand smoke and it will help to ensure that young people don’t pick up this deadly addiction,” says Dr. Sheela Basrur, Ontario’s Chief Medical Officer of Health.

The government’s commitment to reducing tobacco consumption by 20 per cent before the end of 2007 was achieved ahead of schedule. Between 2003 and 2006, there was a 31.8 per cent decline in tobacco consumption indicating that approximately 4.6 billion fewer cigarettes were sold.

Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable disease and death in Ontario, killing over 13,000 Ontarians every year. Tobacco-related diseases have been estimated to account for:

  • $1.6 billion in direct healthcare costs;
  • At least 500,000 hospital days annually; and
  • $4.4 billion in productivity losses each year.

The public may also obtain information on the Smoke-Free Ontario Act by calling:

  • INFOline at 1-866-396-1760
  • TTY at 1-800-387-5559

Hours of operation: Monday to Friday, 8:30am - 5:00pm.


For further information:

Julie Rosenberg
Ministry of Health Promotion and Sport