October 23, 2009 - Back on October 20th we reported that Peel's (Peel region is a regional municipality in Southern Ontario) top public health officials are lobbying to ban smoking from apartments and condos in an effort to limit second-hand smoke inhalation.
On Thursday, October 22nd the Peel Region's general committee rejected the idea of passing a bylaw banning smoking in such buildings because officials said restricting tenants' rights to do what they wish in their own homes wouldn't stand up in court. But the committee will ask the province for legislation that would protect residents of multi-unit buildings from second-hand smoke through various measures such as changes to the Ontario Building Code.
A decision by Waterloo to phase out smoking in social housing by requiring tenants after April 1 to sign leases with no-smoking provisions, and a similar proposal being considered in Hamilton, will have a "domino effect," predicts Pippa Beck, policy analyst for the non-smokers' group.
"Every day we're getting calls from tenants and condo owners who are desperate to escape the smoke," she said.
Building code changes that would require retrofitting ventilation systems in old buildings and ensure that new ones are capable of filtering out second-hand smoke are among the measures that could be taken, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion said.
Landlords can declare their buildings smoke-free, but don't have the legal right to evict someone for smoking, said Brad Butt, whose Greater Toronto Apartment Association represents 230 companies that own 160,000 units. Butt: "The rights of tenants within the sanctity of their own homes are supreme."
Pippa Beck disagrees, saying her own study of case law over the past five years shows landlords do have the right to enforce no-smoking provisions that are stated in leases.
Reference: Peel rejects proposal to ban smoking in tenants' homes, theStar.com, 10/23/2009.