Federally regulated carriers exempt from Ontario smoking ban

| 6/1/2006

The Ontario Trucking Association struck an 11th-hour agreement with the provincial government to exempt trucks that operate outside of Ontario from a workplace smoking ban.

The Smoke Free Ontario Act went into effect June 1 to ban smoking from enclosed public spaces and workplaces, and the measure was rumored to have included all trucks.

OTA and Ministry of Health Prevention officials met Wednesday, according to OTA, to clarify an exemption for federally regulated carriers.

“Our concern was over provincial incursion into an area of federal law and what precedent that might set in other statutes in the future,” OTA President David Bradley said in a statement.

Federal carriers in Canada will still be governed under the federal government’s Non-Smokers Health Act, which respects the rights of non-smokers in the workplace.

Provincially regulated carriers in Ontario must now follow the Smoke Free Ontario Act, which has strict penalties for violating certain sections, including fines up to $300,000.

OTA made it clear in its statement that the association does not challenge or dispute the health risks associated with smoking, only that the exemption for federally regulated carriers be clarified.

 – By David Tanner, staff writer