Happy Canada Day! I hope you had a safe, fun, and of course warm holiday.
Unbeknownst to most employers, there was a new law that came into effect while we were all melting outside. Ontario has a new smoking law that came into effect on July 1, 2018. So now that we are back in the office, it’s time to review and update your Office Policy Manual!
Importantly, the new law expands on the restrictions on the use of tobacco and electronic cigarettes in “prohibited places” to include medical cannabis.
The definition of “prohibited places” includes many public areas, including any enclosed public space and any enclosed workplace. Also, “enclosed workplace” means the inside of a building, structure or vehicle that an employee works in or frequents during the course of their employment whether or not they are acting in the course of the employment at the time, and all common areas such as washrooms, lobbies and parking garages.
The Act also requires employers to take specific actions in their workplaces:
- ensure that no person smokes or holds lighted tobacco, smokes or holds lighted medical cannabis, uses an electronic cigarette, or consumes a designated product or substance;
- give notice to each employee in the workplace of these prohibitions;
- post specific “no-smoking” signs respecting these prohibitions in the workplace (including in the washrooms) [you can order no smoking signs from your local public health department here];
- ensure no ashtrays or similar equipment remain in the workplace;
- ensure that any person (patient, employee, contractor, family member… anyone!) who refuses to comply with the prohibitions does not remain in the workplace;
- ensure compliance with any specific obligation under the new law; and
- do not take any disciplinary action against an employee because they have acted in accordance with the new law.
If your office does not have a no-smoking policy, now is the time to create it!
And if you have an existing policy manual, take some time to review it and make sure your office is up to date.
We are always here to help – contact us for more information or if you have any questions!