Restaurants Canada welcomes clarity in Ontario smoking rules

Published March 10, 2016

(TORONTO, March 10, 2016) Restaurants Canada welcomes the Ontario government’s proposal to clarify smoking regulations as they relate to medical marijuana. These proposed changes would prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and the smoking and vaping of medical marijuana in all enclosed public places.
“We were looking for consultation and clarity on this issue,” said James Rilett, Restaurants Canada’s Vice President, Ontario. “Minister Damerla’s proposal provides both, and we support the initiative.”

The issue came to light recently when Ontario introduced regulations to allow medical marijuana users to be exempt from public smoking bans. At the time, it was further revealed that medical marijuana users would be allowed to light up in restaurants. It was not clear if restaurant operators would have been able to prohibit a patron from doing so under current laws and Ontario Human Right Code rulings.

“This would have put our members in a difficult position,” explained Rilett. “Employees would have had to choose between conflicting rights of patrons. These changes recognize the conversations we had with government officials.”

Restaurants Canada consulted with the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and Associate Minister Damerla to address this issue prior to today’s announcement.

Ontario’s restaurant industry directly employs 458,100 Ontarians and serves 7.5 million customers every day.

Restaurants Canada is a growing community of 30,000 foodservice businesses, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and suppliers. We connect our members from coast to coast, through services, research and advocacy for a strong and vibrant restaurant industry. Canada’s restaurant industry directly employs 1.2 million Canadians, is the number one source of first jobs, and serves 18 million customers every day.

For further information: James Rilett, Vice President Ontario, cell 416-649-4241 or jrilett@restaurantscanada.org; Beth Pollock Communications Specialist, 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4254 or media@restaurantscanada.org

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