Rescinded [2009-04-01] - Smoking in the workplace

To promote a safe and healthful working environment free, to the extent possible, of tobacco smoke.
Date modified: 1999-12-01

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Policy objective

To promote a safe and healthful working environment free, to the extent possible, of tobacco smoke.

Policy statement

In the light of evidence on the health hazards of tobacco smoke and the employer's responsibility under the Non-smokers' Health Act, smoking is prohibited in Public Service workplaces.


This policy applies to all departments and other portions of the Public Service listed in Part I of Schedule I of the Public Service Staff Relations Act.

Policy requirements

1. Departments must ensure that:

  • no person smokes in the workplace (as defined in appendix A);
  • all employees and the public are informed about the smoking prohibition in all parts of the workplace;
  • appropriate signage, which meets legislative requirements (available from Public Works and Government Services Canada), is visibly displayed;
  • reasonable measures are taken to minimize the effects of tobacco smoke coming from locations controlled by other employers or individuals who are not subject to this policy or the Non-smokers' Health Act;
  • non-smoking employees are protected from exposure to tobacco smoke in residential training centres and other situations where the employer provides living accommodation or recreational facilities;
  • consultation takes place with employees, through safety and health committees or safety and health representatives, if any, before designating smoking rooms in the limited situations described in the Guidelines.

2. Employees must:

  • refrain from smoking in any part of the workplace, including hospitality rooms, except in smoking rooms designated by departments in accordance with this policy and the Non-smokers' Health Act; and
  • request visitors and clients who are smoking to refrain from doing so in the workplace.


Departments and employees, in addition to the Treasury Board as employer, are subject to legal sanctions for failure to comply with the Non-smokers' Health Act.

Human Resources Development Canada - Labour Program and, in the case of transportation services, Transport Canada are responsible for enforcing the legislation.


The Treasury Board Secretariat will assess departmental performance based on the results of investigations of complaints related to departmental application of this policy.


  • Financial Administration Act, Section 7
  • Non-smokers' Health Act
  • An Act to amend the Non-smokers' Health Act
  • Non-smokers' Health Regulations


Enquiries about this policy should be directed to the responsible officers in departmental headquarters who, in turn, may seek interpretations from:

On safety and health issues

Safety, Health, Employee Benefits and Services Group
Human Resources Management Division
Human Resources Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat

On staff relations issues

Employer Representation
Labour Relations Division
Human Resources Branch
Treasury Board Secretariat

On smoking cessation programs

Tobacco Programs Unit
Health Promotion and Programs Branch
Health Canada

Appendix A - Definitions

Smoking (fumer) - to smoke, hold or otherwise have control over an ignited product manufactured from tobacco and intended for use by smoking

Smoking room (fumoir) - a room or area that is designated as a smoking room by the department (excluding areas specified in the definition of workplace) in consultation with the safety and health committee or representative and is:

  1. enclosed by walls, a ceiling and floor:
  2. clearly identified as a smoking room;
  3. equipped with ashtrays or non-combustible covered receptacles for waste disposal;
  4. independently ventilated unless it is reasonably impractical to do so. In buildings constructed after December 31, 1989, designated smoking rooms must be separately ventilated with the air exhausted to the outside without being re-circulated within any workspace.

(b) and (d) do not apply to ships and motor vehicles.

Workplace (lieu de travail) - any indoor or enclosed space, under the employer's control, in which employees perform the duties of their employment. This includes any adjacent corridor, lobby, stairwell, elevator, cafeteria, washroom or other common area frequented by such employees during the course of their employment

Commercially-leased space for cafeterias is not considered to be under the employer's control. However, where the employer enters into a management contract with a person to operate a cafeteria on the employer's behalf, the cafeteria is deemed to be under the employer's control.

Appendix B - Guidelines

Smoking rooms

Departments may designate the following as smoking rooms:

  • motor vehicles or separate Buildings that are normally occupied by one person and that do not share the ventilation system with any other workspace, e.g. lighthouses;
  • a proportion of living accommodations or recreational facilities that are provided by the department for employees;
  • hospitality rooms where official functions for non-employees are being held.

Departments may require employees to work in a designated smoking room if this is part of their duties;

Smoking cessation courses

Departments may provide for interested employees smoking cessation programs that are acceptable to Health Canada.

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