Ontario and Quebec smoking bans include most trucks

| 5/31/2006

New laws in the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, prohibiting smoking in all enclosed public spaces and work zones, include most trucks.

The Ontario government Thursday, May 31, enacted the Smoke Free Ontario Act, which, among other things, calls for carriers to be strict with their employees and trucks to enforce the act. Quebec enacted a similar law with modifications not linked to trucking.

Most owner-operators will be exempt from the legislation, unless they have other people sharing their workspace.

Carriers whose employee drivers violate the ban could face fines ranging from $5,000 to $300,000, depending on factors including the number of violations.

Truckers could be pulled over if police spot a driver lighting up, but enforcement may be the biggest obstacle to the new law, according to the Canadian media and bloggers on the Web.

“I think it’s a little overboard now,” owner-operator Pierre Cinq-Mars of Ontario said, adding that he had already quit smoking several years ago.

Restaurants and bars already have a smoking ban in Ontario, he said, so people are not shocked to hear the news about trucks, even if they think the law is excessive.

“The ones who complain the most are the ones outside of the province,” Cinq-Mars said.

– By David Tanner, staff writer