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Hastings and Prince Edward Public Health
no smoking sign on brick wall

Tobacco Laws and Enforcement

Smoke-Free Ontario Act

Public Health is mandated to enforce the Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA), 2017, within its jurisdiction of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties. The Act is the legislative core of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy, with the central aim of lowering the provincial smoking rate to the lowest in the country.

Public Smoking and Vaping Restrictions

Under the Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017, you are not permitted to smoke or hold lighted tobacco, cannabis, or use e-cigarettes in any of the following:

  • enclosed workplaces (including work vehicles and trucks)
  • enclosed public places
  • motor vehicles with children under the age of 16
  • common areas of apartment buildings (e.g. hallways, staircases, etc.)
  • designated outdoor spaces, including:
    • schools and children’s playgrounds
    • community recreational centres
    • hospital properties
  • publicly owned sporting/spectator areas
  • restaurant and bar patios, and public areas within 9-metres of a patio
  • within 9 metres of entrances/exits of long-term care homes
  • public areas that fall within 20 metres of:
    • playgrounds
    • sporting/spectator areas
    • schools
    • community recreation centres

To ensure that everyone is informed of, and compliant with, these prohibitions, the Act states that every employer/owner of an enclosed workplace/public place must:

  • ensure compliance of the legislation
  • notify employees that smoking is not allowed
  • post signs (including in washrooms)
  • remove all ashtrays or similar equipment
  • ensure employees who do not comply leave the enclosed workplace

Furthermore, if an employee seeks enforcement of this Act, no employer/owner can:

  • dismiss or threaten the employee
  • discipline or suspend the employee or threaten to do so
  • impose a penalty on the employee
  • intimidate or coerce the employee

You can find more information from the Ministry of Ontario about where you can’t smoke or vape in Ontario.

Tobacco and Vapour Retail

The Act also bans the promotion of tobacco products, and the public display of tobacco and vapour products, in corner stores and gas stations.

The sale of tobacco and vapour products is restricted to persons 19 years of age and over. Retailers who are convicted twice of selling to an underage person, within a 5-year period, are subject to an automatic sales prohibition of 6 months.

Public Health posts a list of current retailer convictions that may qualify a location for sales prohibition.

Would You Like to Request Resources or Make a Complaint?

If you have a question about the Act, require no smoking or retailer signs, or would like to forward information regarding an offence under the Act, please complete our Smoke Free Ontario Complaint and Request Form

School Complaint

For incidences of smoking/vaping tobacco, E-cigarettes, or cannabis on school property, or within 20 metres of school property, please complete the School Incident Report form to report the occurrence to our enforcement officers. This report also applies to witnessing the sale of tobacco, cannabis or E-cigarettes on, or near, school property to those under 19 years of age.

Need More Information About Tobacco Laws and Enforcement?

Call 613-966-5513 or 1-800-267-2803, ext. 600 or email the Tobacco Talk Line.

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We are gradually resuming in-person services at HPEPH by appointment only at this time.  Please review our Service Interruptions page for more information.

All program lines and the COVID-19 information line operate Monday to Friday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (excluding statutory holidays).

To assist us with our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, we ask anyone visiting the office for an appointment to:

  • bring a non-medical mask, physical distancing may not be possible during your appointment
  • maintain physical distance of at least 2 metres, both inside and outside the office
  • review symptoms of COVID-19, and reschedule your appointment if you have symptoms of the virus, or any other illness
  • reschedule your appointment if a family member or other close contact is ill
  • use accessible buttons to open doors, instead of handles
  • use hand sanitizer when entering and exiting the building

We have made additional changes to prevent the spread of COVID-19. If you are visiting our office for an appointment, you can be confident that we are:

  • increasing our cleaning, in alignment with heightened infection control protocols
  • considering alternatives to in-person appointments and meetings when possible
  • screening staff and visitors for symptoms of COVID-19
  • offering in-person services by appointment only to reduce traffic in office
  • ensuring staff wear masks and/or other protective equipment when seeing clients

Please continue to our website for more information about our programs and services.