Today’s Poll

New legislation looks to get public to 'butt out' while in all public spaces

Timothy Schafer
By Timothy Schafer
June 28th, 2017

City council has finally decided to clear the air.

The city voted in new legislation Monday that will take the anti-smoking regulations put in place by the provincial government one step further.

The newly minted Clean Air and Smoking Regulation bylaw will promote clean air throughout the city of Nelson by making all public buildings and city parks — including playgrounds, beaches playing fields, parks and trails and community facilities — smoke free places. 

No person will be allowed to smoke in any building, structure, vehicle and partially or fully enclosed place to which the “public is ordinarily invited, permitted” or has access.

“These restrictions are essentially the same as stated in provincial legislation (Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act),” read a city staff report to council.

As well there will be a ban on smoking in the city’s cemetery, workplaces, transit shelters and bus stops, and the proposed bylaw would provide a seven-metre (7) buffer zone perimeter around many places as recommended by the Interior Health Authority. 

The new bylaw also adds cannabis (as defined in the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act) and products containing cannabis or any other weed or substance to the city’s definition of “smoke” or “smoking,” meaning smoking cannabis will also not be allowed. 

And the bylaw will carry some teeth. Enforceable by the city’s bylaw officers, any person who contravenes the provisions of the bylaw is guilty of an offence and, on summary conviction, is liable to a fine of up to $2,000 for the first offence (not less than $50), and not less than $150 and not more than $2,000 for the second offence and $50 per day for a continuing offences. 

City administration staff was directed by council to conduct a review of the relevant legislation and policy options related to clean air and smoking regulations in the province.

After review of various other municipal bylaws — including Interior Health Authority information and current legislation — smoking regulations varied among municipalities in the province. 

The new bylaw complies with the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act (enacted in 2015 and updated in 2016) which outlines prohibitions for e-cigarettes; activated e-cigarettes; e-substances, tobacco and vapour products in the province. 

The proposed new bylaw would replace two almost 30-year old bylaws — being the Nelson Clean Indoor Air Bylaw and City Premises Smoking Regulation Bylaw — and puts them into one bylaw.

Prohibitions – Public Buildings and City Parks 

No person shall Smoke:

  • inside a Public Building – including within 7 meters of an Entranceway to a Public Building; 
  • in a Park – including within a 7 meter buffer zone surrounding the Park; 
  •  in a Public Municipal Open Space – including within a 7 meter buffer zone surrounding the Public Municipal Open Space; 
  • in a City cemetery – including a 7 meter buffer zone surrounding the Cemetery; 
  • in a Transit Shelter or a Bus Stop – including a 7 metre buffer zone surrounding the Transit Shelter or Bus Stop; 
  • inside a motor vehicle or equipment owned or leased by the City. 

Prohibitions – General 

No person shall smoke:

  • in any building, structure, vehicle or any other place that is fully or substantially enclosed, including within 7 meters of an entrance to such building, structure or other enclosed place; and 
  • is a place to which the public is ordinarily invited or permitted access, either expressly or by implication; whether or not a fee is charged for entry;
  • is a workplace; 
  • is a transit shelter or bus stop; or 
  • is a school property as prescribed under the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act
  • is a health board property as prescribed under the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act;
  • is any other entity or property that may be prescribed under the Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act

And no person shall smoke:

  • in an elevator, on an escalator, an inside stairway, stairwell or landing or a washroom in any premises generally opened to and accessible to the public; 
  • in any taxicab while operating within the city of Nelson except with the consent of all passengers and the driver (in the event that a minor is a passenger, then smoking shall be prohibited); 
  • on any school bus, public bus, streetcar or other form of public transportation; 
  • in or in proximity to any service line or a service counter in any building generally open to and accessible to the public; 
  • in any part of a retail shop generally open to and accessible to the public; 
  • in a shopping mall concourse; 
  • in any reception area; 
  • in any acute care hospital, health clinic, medical or dental office, public health unit or any other similar place of professional helping service; 
  • in a concert hall, indoor sporting area, library, lecture hall, theatre or motion picture house, music hall, display area in a museum, art gallery, a school, a university, a college or a church; in an entrance way to any premises where smoking is prohibited; 
  • in a personal service establishment; in a laundromat. 

— Source: City of Nelson

In the workplace

Any employee may object to his or her employer about smoke in his or her workplace. 

Using already available means of ventilation or separation or partitions of workspace, the employer shall attempt to reach as reasonable accommodation as possible between the preference of non-smoking and smoking employees. 

However, an employer is not required by this bylaw to make any expenditures or structural changes to accommodate the preference of non-smoking or smoking employees. 

If an accommodation which is satisfactory to all affected non-smoking employees cannot be reached in any given workplace, the preference of non-smoking employees shall prevail and the employer shall prohibit smoking in that workplace. Where an employer prohibits smoking in any workplace, the area in which smoking is prohibited shall be clearly marked with signs. 

— Source: City of Nelson

Categories: General

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