To create a policy that works for your building, consider who the policy will apply to, where it will apply, what will be regulated, when it will come into effect and how it will be enforced.

Who will the policy apply to?

No-smoking policies should apply to residents, visitors, invited guests, staff, service providers and contractors, as well as managers. Usually tenants are responsible for advising guests and visitors about where they can and cannot smoke.

In Ontario, a no-smoking policy can easily be applied to new tenants when they sign a standard lease. For current tenants, they would have to be grandfathered and their lease wouldn’t contain a no-smoking clause; therefore they would not have to abide by a no-smoking policy while they reside in their current unit.

Where will the policy apply?

No-smoking options include:

  • One building out of a complex
  • All units
  • All units including balconies and patios
  • All units including balconies and patios, as well as outdoor smoke-free buffer zones around doorways, operable windows and air intakes. Distance is at your discretion, but a 9-metre rule is consistent with provincial legislation (for certain buildings like hospitals)
  • All units including balconies and patios, as well as the entire property. This is the easiest policy to enforce.
  • All units including balconies and patios, as well as entire property, with an exemption for an outdoor designated smoking area away from doorways, operable windows, air intakes and common areas. Such an area would ideally have a roof, a place to sit and somewhere to safely dispose of butts.

What will be regulated?

Think about what substances you want to include in your policy and provide a clear definition. The Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibits smoking of tobacco and cannabis and vaping of any substances in common areas of multi-unit housing. You may want to consider the same substances.

When would the policy apply?

Decide on a start date. Six months to a year should be enough time to gather required information and prepare for the policy. Spring and summer are ideal times to launch a new policy–that gives people enough time to get used to stepping outside for a cigarette before the snow flies!