No Need For Nic-Fit: Federal carriers not governed by tough Ont anti-smoking law

TORONTO — Federally regulated trucking companies are not bound by Ontario’s controversial blanket smoking ban, which fines fleet owners for employees puffing in truck cabs.

As Today’s Trucking first reported when the Smoke Free Ontario Act took effect yesterday, there was some uncertainty as to whether the new law — which bans all smoking in enclosed public spaces and workplaces, including commercial trucks and taxis — would trump a separate, federal anti-smoking bill that governs federally-regulated carriers.

The Ontario Trucking Association, which had been seeking clarification of the Ontario rule, reports that in an “11th hour decision, the province has agreed with OTA that federally regulated carriers are not subject to the provisions of the Smoke Free Ontario Act.

Is this what Ontario drivers may
see on the side of their cabs?

“In a conversation late this afternoon with Ministry of Health Prevention officials, OTA was verbally informed that the government is in agreement with a legal opinion obtained by OTA that indicated the law does not apply to federally-regulated companies.”

Federally regulated carriers fall under Ottawa’s Non-smokers Health Act, which allows employers to designate smoking areas within the workplace.

Trucking companies that to not leave the province still have to abide by the Ontario regulation, which levies penalties averaging $10,000 per incident for allowing employees to smoke and not notifying them of the new rules. Some corporations can technically see fines as high as $300,000 in some cases.

“Our concern was over provincial incursion into an area of federal law and what precedent that might set in other statutes in future,” says OTA President David Bradley, adding the association doesn’t endorse smoking. “We are very pleased that we were able to work with the government on this issue and come to an understanding on how the law affects a major segment of the industry.”

Owner-operators for the most part are exempted from the rule. Independent truckers may light up in their own trucks as long as no one else — not even a part-time driver, spouse, or friend — enters the cab at any time, including off-duty hours.

To read more on the Smoke Free Ontario Act as it applies to trucking, read yesterday’s online story on the issue: (

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