In November, 2007 Wolfville, Nova Scotia, with a population of 3,600 residents, was the first municipality in Canada to ban smoking in cars, when a child under the age of 18 was present. The municipality was clear that the objective behind the bylaw was to educate the public and not to fine them. In December 2007, Liberal MPP David Orazietti moved a private members bill in the provincial legislature, calling for a ban on smoking in cars with children, which he defined in his bill as anyone under 16 years of age.
Nova Scotia, as a Province then passed a law, prohibiting any adult from smoking with a minor in the vehicle.
British Columbia has passed legislation, which prohibits smoking in a vehicle with a child under 16 years of age, although the law is not yet in force.
On Monday, January 19, 2009 all three parties in the provincial legislature voted in favour of a Liberal bill banning smoking in vehicles containing children. Once the legislation receives royal assent, Ontario will become the third province to adopt this type of anti-smoking ban.
This law is by no means a new concept. Several U.S. States, including Arkansas, California, Louisiana and Maine have already passed such laws, as has Puerto Rico.
Out of the three (3) Territories in Canada, the Yukon has passed the Smoke-Free Places Act, which, among other things, bans smoking in vehicles which contain children.
Prince Edward Island is expected to pass similar legislation in the spring and New Brunswick and Manitoba are considering passing similar or identical legislation.
This New Law in Ontario contains the following rules:
If you are smoking in the motor vehicle with a child under 16, either as a passenger or a driver, you
will be fined.
If you fail to comply with this law, you will be subjected to a fine of $ 250.00
This law applies equally to people smoking in a moving vehicle or a parked vehicle.
This law applies to all motor vehicles, irrespective of whether the windows are rolled up or down,
whether there is or is not a sunroof, rooftop or anything else which could be considered open.
Note: If you are sitting in a convertible, with the roof down, the windows down and you are parked or
moving and you light up a cigarette, as the driver or passenger and there is a child of 16 years of
age or younger in the car, you will be fined $250.00.
This is what the Ontario Government says about this recent law:
SMOKING IN CARS LEGISLATION
The Ontario government has passed legislation that bans smoking in motor vehicles while a person under 16 years old is present.
Second-hand smoke in motor vehicles can be up to 27 times more concentrated than in a smoker’s home.
Children who breathe second-hand smoke are more likely to suffer health problems such as sudden infant death syndrome, asthma, and cancer and cardiac disease later in life.
Second-hand smoke can also influence a child’s ability to reason and understand, and can negatively impact behaviour and attention span.
See the new law, contained in section 9.2 of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act. The Provincial Government has not applied this law to our homes yet, but the Municipal City of Toronto has now banned outdoor smoking within nine (9) metres (or 29.5272 feet, round it up to 30 feet) of the City of Toronto’s 833 playgrounds, City splash pads and wading pools, as well as Riverdale Farm and the High Park Zoo. See article Toronto Playgrounds.
The Toronto Transit Commission is jumping on the bandwagon and is considering creating a law which would not allow anyone to smoke within a nine (9) metre or approximately thirty (29.52) feet radius of any of Toronto’s 10,000 bus or streetcar stops. A person smoking within 30 feet or 9 metres of a bus stop or streetcar stop would be subjected to a stiff fine and be ticketed on the spot.
Read below how the Smoke-Free Ontario Act lays out the new law and new penalty :
Proof of age
(2) In a prosecution under this section, a court may find evidence that the person enforcing this section honestly and reasonably believed another person to be less than 16 years old to be sufficient proof of the other person’s age. 2008, c. 12, s. 1.
(3) Despite section 14, this section shall be enforced by police officers. 2008, c. 12, s. 1.
(4) In this section,
“motor vehicle” means, subject to the regulations, a motor vehicle as defined in subsection 1 (1) of the Highway Traffic Act. 2008, c. 12, s. 1. “motor vehicle” includes an automobile, motorcycle, motor assisted bicycle unless otherwise indicated in this Act, and any other vehicle propelled or driven otherwise than by muscular power, but does not include a street car, or other motor vehicles running only upon rails, or a motorized snow vehicle, traction engine, farm tractor, self-propelled implement of husbandry or road-building machine within the meaning of the Highway Traffic Act, R.S.O. 1990.
See: 2008, c. 12, ss. 1, 4.
If you are caught smoking in your Motor Vehicle, here is the Fine, under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act:
(6.1) A person who contravenes section 9.2 is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $250. 2008, c. 12, s. 2.
Update: January 22, 2009 – See recent newspaper article.
Update: February 16, 2009 – See recent newspaper article.
Update: February 17, 2009 – See recent newspaper article.
Update: March 12, 2009 – Electronic smokeless cigarettes
Update: March 19, 2009 – British Columbia joins Nova Scotia, Ontario and Yukon by introducing provincial legislation, effective April 7, 2009 which will give police the authority to pull over any vehicle that he/she believes smoking is taking place within, in the presence of a child under the age of sixteen (16) and to issue the smoker a fine of $109 (see Story). In the U.S several States have already considered this legislation, including Arkansas, California, Louisiana and Maine.
Update: June 8, 2009 – A Vaughan woman is believed to be the first person charged in the G.T.A. under this new law.
Update: June 12, 2009 – Manitoba joins B.C., N.S., Ont., and Yukon territory by implementing Bill 5 – The Highway Traffic Amendment Act (Promoting Safer and Healthier Conditions in Motor Vehicles) which received royal assent on June 11, 2009 and will come into force on a day to be fixed by proclamation. Anyone who smokes in a vehicle (even with the windows open, the doors open or an open sunroof or a convertible with the top down) is liable on summary conviction to a fine of not more than $1,000.