Smoke-Free Ontario Act: legislation, inspections, and complaints

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act was introduced on May 31, 2006, as part of a broad strategy to reduce tobacco use and reduce second hand exposure to tobacco smoke in Ontario.

Tobacco enforcement by Public Health Sudbury & Districts focuses on preventing the display, promotion, and sale of tobacco products to individuals under 19 years of age, and protecting the public and employees from the harmful effects of second-hand smoke through enforcement of provincial legislation.

Legislation: Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA)

Under the SFOA, it is against the law to:

For more information on the law and how it applies to you, please read the Smoke-Free Ontario Act and Regulations (Government of Ontario).

Some municipalities have enacted more restrictive bylaws (for example, the City of Greater Sudbury Smoke-Free Public Places and Workplaces By-Law 2002-300).

Public places

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA) prohibits smoking in enclosed public places in Ontario to protect the public from the hazards of second-hand smoke. Smoking is prohibited in all enclosed public places including:

An enclosed public place is the inside area of any public place, building, or structure or vehicle or conveyance or a part of any of them that is covered by a roof, and to which the public has access.


The SFOA prohibits smoking in enclosed workplaces in Ontario to protect employees from exposure to second-hand smoke. In addition, the Act requires that all employees and employers ensure that their environments remain smoke-free.

We can assist with developing smoke-free policies.

Furthermore, the ban on smoking in the workplace  (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care) is in effect at all times even during off-hours.

An enclosed workplace is the inside of a building, structure or vehicle that an employee works in or frequents during the course of their employment.

Workplace vehicles

It is prohibited to smoke inside any workplace vehicle in the province of Ontario.


The Smoke-Free Ontario Act prohibits smoking in schools and on school property. All school property owned or leased by the school boards must be smoke-free at all times. In addition, schools must have signs posted at all entrances.

Anyone in contravention of either smoking on school property, or selling or supplying tobacco to a person under the age of 19 years can face a fine of up to $5,000.00. Public Health Sudbury & Districts tobacco enforcement officers conduct regular checks of school properties to ensure compliance with the SFOA.


Tobacco retailers (employers) must ensure that all staff are trained (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care) and understand the requirements of the Act (Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care).

Tobacco Inspections and Enforcement

Vendor Inspections

Public Health Sudbury & Districts conducts two types of inspections of vendors under the SFOA. The first is a compliance inspection, which is done once per year to ensure that display, marketing and product restrictions under the Act and Regulation are being met.

The second type of inspection is an Access to Minors or Test Shop. These inspections are conducted twice annually to verify that tobacco products are not being sold to individuals under the age of 19.

Infractions found during either of these inspections can lead to an offence notice (ticket). If a vendor is convicted 2 times within 5 years, they may be given a Prohibition Order, which means that they will not be able to sell tobacco products for a set period of time. An initial Prohibition Order lasts 6 months, but the time increases if the vendor receives additional orders.

Check Before You Go! Inspection and enforcement information

For inspection and enforcement information, visit Check Before You Go! or contact us at 705.522.9200 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200). Check Before You Go! has information about required and follow-up inspections, infractions, convictions, as well as orders imposed by Public Health Sudbury & Districts.

You can find information related to:

Tobacco complaints

If you see a retailer selling tobacco to a person who is less than 19 years of age or someone smoking in a prohibited place please report it to Public Health Sudbury & Districts. Our tobacco enforcement officers follow up on all complaints.

Complaint investigations can result in offence notices being issued to owners, operators, workers, clients, or members of the public based on the situation.

To make a complaint (2 options):

  1. Contact Public Health Sudbury & Districts by calling 705.522.9200, ext. 464 (toll-free 1.866.522.9200).
  2. Fill out and submit an online complaint form.


This item was last modified on April 20, 2018