Smoke-free Ontario Act, 2017 (Bill 174, Schedule 3) Proposed Regulation

Smoke-free Ontario Act, 2017 (Bill 174, Schedule 3) Proposed Regulation

On December 12, 2017, the omnibus Ontario bill, Bill 174An Act to enact the Cannabis Act, 2017, the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation Act, 2017 and the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, to repeal two Acts and to make amendments to the Highway Traffic Act respecting alcohol, drugs and other matters received Royal Assent.

On January 18th, the Ontario Government released their summary of the proposed Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA), 2017 Regulations ( en | fr ) for public consultation.

When it comes into force, the SFOA, 2017 will repeal the existing Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) and Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015 (ECA) and replace them with a single legislative framework.

What does this mean?

Prohibited use

General vaping will be prohibited in the following locations:

  • Enclosed public places
  • Enclosed workplaces
  • Primary and secondary schools and their grounds
  • Indoor common areas in condominiums, apartment buildings and university/college residences
  • Child care centres
  • Places where home child care is provided
  • Places where an early years program or service is provided
  • Reserved seating areas of outdoor sports or entertainment venues
  • Restaurant and bar patios
  • Sheltered areas with a roof and more than two walls
  • Within 20 metres of children’s playgrounds and public areas
  • Within 20 metres of sporting areas owned by the Province, a municipality or post-secondary campus (excluding golf courses)
  • Within 9 meters of any entry of a hospital, psychiatric facility, long-term care home, and independent health facility
  • Anywhere on the grounds of public hospitals, private hospitals and psychiatric facilities
  • Anywhere on the grounds of certain Ontario government office buildings
  • Within 20 metres from the perimeter of the grounds of a school or a youth and/or children’s recreation centre during the designated hours that children and youth are allowed to use the facility
  • Within 9 metres of a restaurant or bar patio

Exemptions for use

With the SFOA, 2017, the government has provided for exemptions, but only for smoking of tobacco, and the smoking and vaping of medical cannabis in:

  • Controlled rooms in residential care facilities, designated psychiatric facilities and designated veterans’ facilities.
  • Guest rooms in hotels, motels and inns that have been designated by the proprietor or employer to accommodate tobacco smoking or medical cannabis smoking/vaping.
  • Scientific research and testing facilities, if the smoking or vaping is for the purpose of conducting research or testing concerning tobacco, vapour products or cannabis
  • Residential hospices

An exemption is also available for the use of tobacco for traditional Indigenous cultural and spiritual purposes.

The only exemptions for vapour product not used for medical marijuana are:

  • An actor in a stage production, if certain conditions are met (e.g., e-cigarette cannot contain a controlled substance or cannabis, vapour must be unscented, and no consideration can be provided for the depiction of the e-cigarette in the production)
  • Retailers operating under the proposed display exemption to activate an e-cigarette for the purposes of testing a vapour product or demonstrating to a customer how to operate a vapour product, provided that no vapour is inhaled or exhaled from the product.

One of the bullets states, “Expand the exemptions for the smoking of tobacco and the smoking and vaping of medical cannabis in designated guest rooms of hotels, motels and inns, and in controlled rooms of residential care facilities, designated veterans’ facilities and designated psychiatric facilities, to include all ecigarette use.”

Though we have not seen the actual regulations, the assumption is that general vaping will be included in the above exemptions.

Limits points of sale

These are no surprise and we thing would be expected. Products cannot be sold in: public hospitals, long-term care homes, pharmacies, grocery stores that contain pharmacies, post-secondary education campuses, certain Ontario government office buildings, primary and secondary schools and their grounds, child care centres, places where home child care is provided.

Prohibited Flavoured Vapour Products

While provisions for these exist, no flavours are restricted at this time.

Sale and Supply to Minors and Signage

This remains the same as it was with the Electronic Cigarette Act (ECA), 2015.

Display and Promotion

The SFOA, 2017 prohibits Display and Promotion but the regulations have defined an exemption for “Specialty vape stores” as follows:

  • registered with the local board of health
  • minimum 85% of the store’s revenues or inventory is dedicated to vapour products
  • would not be permitted to sell tobacco products.
  • remaining up to 15% of the store’s revenues or inventory would be dedicated to other items associated or branded with the name of the vape store or a brand of vapour product.

This means that if vape shops wish to qualify for the exemption as a specialty vape store, they cannot sell the heat-not-burn tobacco products, products that are not vape related/branded for vaping (i.e. no “unbranded” cell phone cases, clothing, etc.).

Addition requirements for the exemptions are:

  • Entry into the place of business must be restricted to persons who are 19 years of age or older
  • The products displayed inside the place of business and any promotional material cannot be visible from outside the place at any time of day
  • The place of business must be located in a building
  • The place of business must not be a thoroughfare

For those selling vaping product that do not qualify under the above exemption (i.e. C-stores), promotion and display will be limited to:

  • Signs: no more than three (3) signs, not exceeding 968 square centimetres, with white background and black text or graphics that do not identify or reflect a brand of tobacco product or vapour product, or any element of such a brand
  • Product informational document: only available for viewing inside the establishment by persons over 19; cannot be removed from the establishment.

The full Summary of Proposed Regulation can be seen at the bottom of this article or online here: en | fr

What happens now?

Public consultation begins now and extends through March 3, 2018.

After reading their summary and assessment, we encourage everyone (business owners and vapers or even friends of vapers) to submit your comments to the Government of Ontario.


Mailing Address:

Health Protection Policy and Programs Branch
Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
393 University Avenue, Suite 2100
Toronto, ON
M7A 2S1

Silence is consent…

 Summary of Proposed Regulation


SFOA 2017 Regulatory Registry Posting



SFOA 2017 RR Posting FR


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