Smoking rooms in federal buildings to be closed
Ottawa, May 15, 2007—The Honourable Jean-Pierre Blackburn, Minister of Labour and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, today announced the Government’s intention to amend regulations under the Non-Smokers’ Health Act to ban smoking rooms in federally-regulated workplaces.
Today’s announcement follows a request by Minister Blackburn to Labour Program officials to conduct tests of the air quality in and outside smoking rooms found in federally-regulated workplaces.
Results from tests showed that while these facilities meet the legal requirements of the Act, the air quality in them is far from being acceptable and deteriorates significantly as smoking increases in the room, the results obtained from the interior of the rooms are worrying and show the urgent need for action.
“The air quality deteriorates considerably as tobacco use increases, to an unacceptable level,” Minister Blackburn pointed out.
According to, the study, levels of ultrafine particulates in smoking rooms were 27 times higher than in the air outside, when no smokers are in the room. Even worse, when smoking rooms are filled to capacity, the number of particulates rose to levels 245 times higher than outside. “A statistic that one can not ignore, we had to act,” stressed the Minister. The move to close these facilities will protect employees and maintenance staff, and end the increased exposure of smokers themselves to harmful carcinogens.
“The Government of Canada is taking action to improve air quality in the workplace today and for future generations,” said Minister Blackburn. “Smoking in the workplace is a clear and immediate threat to the health of Canadians workers and contributes to indoor air pollution and the failing health of Canadians.”
There are smoking rooms that are still opened in airports, CBC buildings, and other federally regulated workplaces across Canada.
“I am strongly encouraging employers to close their smoking rooms as soon as possible and not wait for the new regulations to take effect,” added Minister Blackburn.
Minister Blackburn will propose amendments to the Non-Smokers’ Health Regulations immediately.
The process for the coming into force of the amendments, expected to be about 6 months, will include an opportunity for comments from stakeholders before final publication in the Canada Gazette Part II. The Government of Canada will ensure that transitional measures are available to employers following the coming into force of the amendments.
The Non-Smokers’ Health Act, in effect since 1989, presently allows federally-regulated employers to have designated smoking rooms in their workplace.
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