What is the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017?

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA, 2017) regulates the sale, supply, display, promotion and smoking of tobacco and cannabis, as well the vaping of any substance.

The Act prohibits the smoking of tobacco or cannabis (medical and recreational) as well as the vaping of any substance in all the areas where tobacco use was previously prohibited, including:

  • enclosed public places (businesses, hospitals, restaurants, etcetera)
  • enclosed workplaces such as office buildings, factories, and vehicles used for work purposes
  • motor vehicles where children under the age of 16 are present for tobacco and vaping, but never for cannabis
  • common areas of apartments and condos (examples are hallways, laundry)
  • child care centres, and places where home child care and early years programs are provided
  • playgrounds, public outdoor sporting areas and public areas (within 20 metres)
  • public outdoor sporting areas and public areas within 20 metres
  • the outdoor grounds of hospitals and psychiatric facilities, and within 9 metres from their entrances or exits
  • long-term care homes including inside and within 9 metres of any entrance or exit.

New Areas!

Under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017, smoking tobacco or cannabis and vaping of any substance is also now prohibited on:

  • All restaurant and bar patios and public places and within 9 metres of a restaurant or bar patio
  • School property and within 20 metres of school property
  • Community recreational facility property and within 20 metres of the facility grounds

Signage Requirements

Employers or owners (proprietor) of an enclosed workplace, an enclosed public place or other smoke-free and vape-free places as described in the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 must post individual ‘No Smoking” or ‘No Vaping’ signs or the combined ‘No Smoking/No Vaping’ signs at each entrance, exit and washroom to ensure that employees and the public know that they cannot smoke tobacco or cannabis (medical or recreational) or vape anything there.

Employers or owners (proprietor) of a hotel, motel or inn, must post the individual ‘No Smoking’ and ‘No Vaping’ signs or the combined ‘No Smoking/No Vaping’ signs in every “non-smoking” or “non-vaping” guest room.

Signs may be obtained from the health unit.

Additional Responsibilities for Owners and Proprietors

  • Give notice to the public that smoking and vaping is not allowed in the prohibited places
  • Ensure there are no ashtrays or similar items
  • Ensure no one smokes or vapes in smoke-free and vape-free areas
  • Ensure that someone who refuses to comply with Ontario’s smoking and vaping laws does not remain in the prohibited area.


The law is enforced by Tobacco Enforcement Officers who conduct inspections of public places and workplaces to ensure compliance with the law, respond to complaints about offences and lay charges when necessary. All complaints are kept confidential.

If you have a question or complaint about smoking tobacco/cannabis or vaping, contact a Tobacco Enforcement Officer 519-271-7600 extension 730.

Where to Get More Information

Smoke-Free Ontario, “How the Smoke-Free Ontario Act Affects You” provides information on:

  • bars and restaurants
  • home health care
  • hospitals
  • schools
  • playgrounds
  • apartment buildings
  • and more

Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 Fact Sheets containing information on how the Act affects the above settings may be obtained by containing the Health Unit at 519-271-7600 extension 730.

Are you organizing a special event? Smoke-Free Ontario Act: Checklist for Outdoor Event Organizers provides information and a checklist on requirements.

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