FTR Now

Employers Take Note: Provincial Cannabis Legislation and Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (Including New Poster Requirements) Now in Force

FTR Now

Employers Take Note: Provincial Cannabis Legislation and Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (Including New Poster Requirements) Now in Force

Date: October 18, 2018

Provincial cannabis legislation and the new Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA) are now in force and will impact your workplace. Also in force is the requirement to post new signs under the SFOA. Learn more in this FTR Now.

On October 17, 2018, Bill 36, the Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act, 2018, received Royal Assent and came into force. On the same date, the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA) was also proclaimed into force, effective October 17, 2018.

Bill 36 – The Cannabis Legislation

As we previously reported, Bill 36 creates the new Cannabis Licence Act, 2018 and amends various provincial legislation to adjust for the legalization of recreational cannabis on October 17, 2018.

Among other things, Bill 36:

  • significantly broadens the scope of places where recreational cannabis can be consumed. Previously under the Cannabis Act, 2017, consumption was generally limited to private residences. Consumption in the workplace, as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, was specifically prohibited. Subject to any restrictions placed on consumption in public places by municipalities, Bill 36 permits the consumption of medical and recreational cannabis in locations where smoking tobacco is permitted under the SFOA including many public outdoor spaces, like sidewalks and parks
  • amends the SFOA to include both recreational and medical cannabis – now simply referred to as cannabis. In its original form, the SFOA included reference to only medical cannabis as public consumption of recreational cannabis was prohibited
  • prohibits smoking or vaping of cannabis in enclosed public spaces or enclosed workplaces, the indoor areas in condos, apartment buildings and university/college residences, or non-designated rooms in hotels, motels or inns. Cannabis consumption is also prohibited in schools, hospitals, publicly-owned spaces and other areas as prescribed within the SFOA.
  • renames the Cannabis Act, 2017 the Cannabis Control Act, 2017.

Bill 36 also creates the Cannabis Licence Act, 2018, which outlines a licensing scheme for private retail cannabis stores in Ontario.

Municipalities will have until January 22, 2019 to decide whether or not to ban cannabis retailers within their community.

On October 17, 2018, various cannabis-related regulations were filed and came into force. Of significance, O. Reg. 325/18 (Places of Consumption), which set out the restrictions on various places of cannabis consumption, has been revoked by O. Reg. 441/18. Those restrictions are now contained in the legislation.

O. Reg. 442/18 amends O. Reg. 30/198 (General) to make housekeeping amendments and to include a specific exemption with respect to government laboratories. Amendments are also made to the cannabis-related regulation made under the Long-Term Care Homes Act, 2007 (O. Reg. 440/18, amending O. Reg. 79/10).

New Employer Posting Requirements under the SFOA

In addition to the amendments to the SFOA noted above, employers should be aware that there are new posting requirements in place.

O. Reg. 268/18, as amended by O. Reg. 439/18, is now in force. Of note, it requires employers, proprietors and others to post mandatory signs in a conspicuous manner and unobstructed from view, and as well sets out updated posting requirements.

Employers will be required to post both of the signs described in paragraphs 1 and 2 below, or the sign described in paragraph 3. The signs must be posted “at each entrance and exit of the enclosed workplace, place or area in appropriate locations and in sufficient numbers to ensure that employees and the public are aware that smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes is prohibited in the enclosed workplace, place or area.”

Paragraph 1. A sign that is at least 10 centimetres in height and at least 10 centimetres in width, and a copy of the sign entitled “Tobacco Sign for Employers”, dated January 1, 2018 and located on the government of Ontario website; and

Paragraph 2. A sign that is at least 10 centimetres in height and at least 10 centimetres in width, and a copy of the sign entitled “Electronic Cigarette Sign for Employers”, dated January 1, 2018 and located on the government of Ontario website.

or

Paragraph 3. A sign that is at least 15 centimetres in height and at least 20 centimetres in width, and a copy of the sign entitled “Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sign for Employers”, dated January 1, 2018 and located on the government of Ontario website.

Proprietors will also be required to post both of the signs described in paragraphs 1 and 2 below, or the sign described in paragraph 3. The signs must be posted “at each entrance and exit of the enclosed public place, place or area in appropriate locations and in sufficient numbers to ensure that the public are aware that smoking and the use of electronic cigarettes is prohibited in the enclosed public place, place or area.”

Paragraph 1. A sign that is at least 10 centimetres in height and at least 10 centimetres in width, and a copy of the sign entitled “Tobacco Sign for Proprietors”, dated January 1, 2018 and located on the government of Ontario website; and

Paragraph 2. A sign that is at least 10 centimetres in height and at least 10 centimetres in width, and a copy of the sign entitled “Electronic Cigarette Sign for Proprietors”, dated January 1, 2018 and located on the government of Ontario website.

or

Paragraph 3. A sign that is at least 15 centimetres in height and at least 20 centimetres in width, and a copy of the sign entitled “Tobacco and Electronic Cigarette Sign for Proprietors”, dated January 1, 2018 and located on the government of Ontario website.

Specific posting requirements also exist for retail, and for hotels, motels and inns employers/proprietors.

The signs are not yet available on the Ontario government website . We will be monitoring that website and once the signs are posted, we will notify you through our Human Resources Legislative Update blog.

In addition, O. Reg. 268/18 as amended contains provisions relating to packaging requirements, display and promotion, testing and sampling as well as various exemptions, among other things.

Editor’s Note: Updated October 19, 2018

Should you require further information on the new legislation, or require assistance with cannabis-related issues in your workplace, please contact Maureen M. Quinlan at 416.864.7036, Jacqui J. Luksha at 416.864.7531 or your regular Hicks Morley lawyer.


The article in this client update provides general information and should not be relied on as legal advice or opinion. This publication is copyrighted by Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP and may not be photocopied or reproduced in any form, in whole or in part, without the express permission of Hicks Morley Hamilton Stewart Storie LLP. ©