This month, an Ontario truck driver was fined $305 for smoking in his vehicle, because it is also considered his workplace. Under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, smoking is prohibited at all workplaces in the province, and this includes a vehicle that is deemed a place of work in the Act.
The Smoke-Free Ontario Act is designed to protect the health of all Ontarians by prohibiting smoking in all enclosed workplaces and enclosed public places in Ontario.
Specifically, the Act states (bold and italics added for emphasis):
1. “enclosed public place” means, (a) the inside of any place, building or structure or vehicle or conveyance or a part of any of them (i) that is covered by a roof, and (ii) to which the public is ordinarily invited or permitted access, either expressly or by implication, whether or not a fee is charged for entry, or (b) a prescribed place.
This makes me wonder… if a vehicle is also part of the definition of an enclosed public place, how come smokers who drive with passengers are not currently being fined for violating the law? I see them everyday on my commute to and from work, smoking away in their car with passengers in them. Please note that I am not talking about the prohibition to smoke or have lighted tobacco in a motor vehicle while another person who is less than 16 years old is present in the vehicle.
2. “enclosed workplace” means, (a) the inside of any place, building or structure or vehicle or conveyance or a part of any of them, i) that is covered by a roof, (ii) that employees work in or frequent during the course of their employment whether or not they are acting in the course of their employment at the time, and (iii) that is not primarily a private dwelling, or (b) a prescribed place.
“employee” means a person who performs any work for or supplies any services to an employer, or a person who receives any instruction or training in the activity, business, work, trade, occupation or profession of an employer.
In addition, the Ministry of Health Promotion indicates in its employer/employee guide that the ban on smoking in an enclosed workplace is in effect at all times, even during off-hours when people are not working.
This makes me wonder… route sales people who do not report to work at their employer’s place of business, who use their car to work on a daily basis to make sales call to customers, have their logs, laptop and paper work in their car, and smoke on the way—while working—how will the police know they are smoking in a vehicle that is also considered their workplace?
I find the Act very ambiguous and difficult to enforce. Your thoughts please!?
Human Resources and Compliance Managing Editor