The City of Edmonton has until October 17, 2018 to finalize the smoking in public By-Law regarding changes to smoking in public places.
The new by-law is currently under review by city councilors, as there are many factors that must be considered prior to the passing the by-law.
Council initially decided to ban tobacco and cannabis smoking in Edmonton:
- Within 10 meters of any bus stop
- By any entrance/exit, window, air intake system
- On a patio
- In a park that has children’s amenities like playgrounds, outdoor pools, sports fields or off-leash areas
- Churchill Square
- The Edmonton Valley Zoo, Muttart Conservatory, John Janzen Nature Centre
- Any city-owned golf course
In the City of Edmonton, you would be able to smoke on sidewalks but only if you are 10 meters away from any entrance, exit, window or patio. The City currently Under the Provincial Tobacco Act requires no smoking within 5 meters of any entrance, exit, window or patio.
The changes have sparked lots of public interest. Many areas in the province have taken the matter either further:
How will the smoking ban effect business/restaurants and bars that cannot provide the 10 meter buffer zone for smoking? (Areas such as Jasper Ave and Whyte Avenue have businesses in close proximity to one another. 10 meter zones may be unrealistic.)
If “smokers” are required to smoke at least 10 meters away from doors, it many cases it may push them back onto the streets or lanes posing a serious safety concern in high traffic areas.
Some areas in the province have taken the “smoking” ban even further, in Wood Buffalo, the Regional municipality of Wood Buffalo which oversees Fort McMurray and surrounding area, passed a new by law on Monday July 9, 2018 to ban all forms of smoking- including tobacco and vaping in all public places. Sources say they have now pushed back their decision and are reviewing the effect on local business.
Now what does this mean for Work Sites? As safety professionals there are many other things we need to take into consideration when establishing “smoking” areas. Naturally, many employers will adhere to Canadian Model Standards and enforce zero tolerance for smoking of Cannabis on the job site. But for smoking and vaping pushing smoking pits 10 meters away from entrances, and windows or intake systems may be difficult as we must consider other fire hazards on the job site such as compressed gas cylinders, flammable and combustible items, smoking near moving equipment etc.
So what do we do next? Take a look at the current smoking area on your worksite, and make preparations for changes in legislation. Ensure all “Site Rules” are communicated to all workers, contractors and suppliers.
We will keep you all posted as the new by-laws come into effect as well as the final decisions!!!