Definitions of “smoking” and “vaping”

Under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, you cannot smoke or vape in any enclosed workplace, any enclosed public place and other places designated as smoke-free and vape-free on this page.

If you smoke or vape where it is not allowed, you may be charged with an offence and subject to a fine ($1,000 for a first offence, $5,000 for any further offence) if convicted.

For the purposes of this page:

  • “smoking” means smoking (inhaling and exhaling) or holding lighted tobacco or cannabis (medical or recreational)
  • “vaping” means inhaling or exhaling vapour from an electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) or holding an activated e-cigarette, whether or not the vapour contains nicotine

Restaurant and bar patios

You cannot smoke or vape on a patio of any bar or restaurant, including the public areas within 9 metres of the patio.

The only exception is any branch of the Royal Canadian Legion or veterans’ organization that established an uncovered patio before November 18, 2013. There, you:

  • can smoke tobacco and vape
  • cannot smoke cannabis or vape cannabis or a controlled substance

Restaurant and bar owners, get the signs you need to post

Vehicles and boats

Drivers and their passengers cannot smoke tobacco or vape anything in a car or other motor vehicle if anyone inside is age 15 years or younger.

No one in a motor vehicle (including motorized snow vehicles such as snowmobiles) or boat that is being driven, or is at risk of being put into motion, can consume cannabis in any manner (smoking, vaping, eating). There are exceptions, including for:

  • a passenger who is a medical cannabis user and consumes medical cannabis without smoking or vaping (edible medical cannabis is okay)
  • certain residential vehicles and boats, specifically a:
    • motor vehicle that has permanent sleeping accommodations and permanent cooking facilities, is parked somewhere that is not a highway, road or driveway, and is being used as a residence
  • a boat that has permanent sleeping accommodations and permanent cooking and sanitary facilities (other than a boat used to carry passengers for hire), is anchored or secured to a dock or land, and is being used as a residence

Child care facilities and related places

You cannot smoke or vape in the entire premise of any child care centre or place that provides an early years program or service.

Places providing home child care must be smoke-free and vape-free at all times, even if children are not present. This includes any outdoor spaces that children use.

Schools

You cannot smoke or vape in any public or private school’s:

  • indoor space
  • outdoor grounds, including playgrounds and sports fields
  • public areas within 20 metres of the school’s grounds

Playgrounds and publicly owned sports areas

You cannot smoke or vape on children’s playgrounds or public areas within 20 metres of children’s playgrounds.

You also cannot smoke or vape on publicly owned sporting areas, their fan/viewing areas, and public areas within 20 metres of these places.

“Publicly owned” means that the sporting area is owned by a municipality, the province or a post-secondary education institution. Golf courses are excluded from this restriction.

Reserved outdoor seating venues

You cannot smoke or vape in the reserved seating area of outdoor sports arenas or entertainment venues. The legislation does not address general admission areas.

Community recreational facilities

You cannot smoke or vape on the outdoor grounds of a community recreational facility and any public areas within 20 metres of its grounds.

A community recreational facility is an enclosed public place or enclosed workplace that offers athletic and recreational programs to the local community and is owned or operated by:

  • a not-for-profit corporation
  • an organization registered as a charity
  • the province
  • a municipality

Enclosed workplaces

You cannot smoke or vape in an enclosed workplace, even when the workplace is closed.

An enclosed workplace means any part of a building, structure or vehicle with a roof that an employee works in or visits, even during off-hours, including:

  • an office building
  • a trailer office on a construction site
  • a delivery truck

An employer may not fire, threaten to fire, discipline, suspend, penalize, intimidate or coerce an employee who follows the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017.

If your employer does any of this, you can complain to the Ontario Labour Relations Board by calling toll-free: 1-877-339-3335.

Business owners, get the signs you need to post

Enclosed public places

You cannot smoke or vape in an enclosed public place.

An enclosed public place means any part of a building, structure or vehicle that is covered by a roof and where the public is invited or has access. It doesn’t matter if there is a fee to get in or not.

Government office buildings

You cannot smoke or vape on the outdoor grounds of specific office buildings owned by the province.

Sheltered areas

You cannot smoke or vape in an outdoor shelter that has more than two walls and a roof if the public or employees are invited to use it (for example, a bus shelter).

Where health or long-term care services are provided

Hospitals and other health care facilities

You cannot smoke or vape within 9 metres of any entrance or exit of a public or private hospital, psychiatric facility, long-term care home or independent health facility.

You cannot smoke or vape on any outdoor hospital grounds or psychiatric facility grounds.

Exemption: Traditional or cultural smoking

If you are an Indigenous person and live in a hospital, psychiatric facility, long-term care home, home for special care, community home for opportunity, or independent health facility, you may request an indoor area to use tobacco for traditional Indigenous cultural or spiritual purposes. This area must be separate from any controlled area.

Where home health care workers work

A home health care worker is a person who provides health care services in private homes that are provided or arranged by either:

Home health care workers have the right to:

  • ask someone not to smoke or vape around them when they are working
  • leave the home if the person smokes or vapes anyway, as long as leaving will not put anyone’s health in immediate serious danger

If you are a home health care worker and need to leave the home, you must:

  • tell your employer within 30 minutes, or as soon as reasonably possible:
    • that you have left
    • if someone is with the client who can take care of them
    • if the client needs care within the next 24 hours
    • the client’s situation when you left
    • if there are any unusual circumstances and, if so, what they are
  • follow any guidelines from your employer that aim to ensure that the client is kept safe and has a reasonable level of care

Residential care facilities

You cannot smoke or vape in enclosed workplaces, including:

  • residential care facilities, including:
    • long-term care homes
    • retirement homes that provide care
    • provincially funded supportive housing residences
  • certain veterans’ facilities
  • certain psychiatric facilities
  • residential hospices

Some of these facilities may choose to construct and operate a controlled area for residents to smoke or vape.

Special notes for residential hospices:

A controlled area must be approved by and registered with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. If you are interested in constructing a controlled area in your facility, please submit a letter of intent to SFOApplications@ontario.ca.

Multi-unit residences

Common indoor areas

You cannot smoke or vape in any common indoor areas of condos, apartment buildings or college and university residences. Examples of indoor common areas include:

  • elevators
  • stairwells
  • hallways
  • parking garages
  • laundry facilities
  • lobbies
  • exercise areas
  • party or entertainment rooms

Second-hand smoke or vapour in rental units

Unless you have signed an agreement or lease or are in a condominium with bylaws that say otherwise, you are allowed to smoke or vape in your private home.

If you live in a building where smoking is allowed, and second-hand smoke or vapour from another unit is interfering with the reasonable enjoyment of your home, speak to your landlord. They may be able to fix the problem with a simple conversation or repair to your unit.

If your landlord does not resolve the issue, contact the Landlord and Tenant Board. You will be asked to show how the other tenant’s smoking or vaping is interfering with your reasonable enjoyment. Each application is determined by the Board on a case-by-case basis.

Landlords

Under the Residential Tenancies Act, 2006 a landlord may apply to evict a tenant if their smoking:

  • interferes with the reasonable enjoyment of other tenants
  • seriously impairs safety

Hotels, motels and inns

The only places you can smoke or vape in hotels, motels and inns is in fully enclosed guest rooms that the management has designated for smoking and/or vaping. Only registered guests and their invited guests can smoke or vape in these rooms.

Smoking or vaping is not allowed on or around playgrounds at hotels, motels and inns.

Owners, get the signs you need to post

Updated: September 23, 2021
Published: October 16, 2018