Step 5: Enforcing your smoke-free policy

Engaging and communicating with your stakeholders regarding your smoke-free policy will go a long way in facilitating enforcement. Likely, condo residents will be the biggest advocates of your policy and will readily tell you when someone is not following the rules. Most people comply with smoke-free policies when they are clearly and effectively communicated. Still, you should be prepared and know ahead of time how you will respond to any problems.

How to handle violations

Your enforcement plan will depend on your residents, their behaviour, the extent of second-hand smoke exposure to other residents and the sanctions that are written into your bylaws.

If there is evidence that a violation has occurred, follow the procedures as defined in your bylaws for imposing sanctions. Whether or not it is a stipulation in your bylaws, you may want to initiate enforcement with a warning letter to the resident. Even if sanctions are not imposed, document the process and get confirmation in writing that the letter was received. If an agreement is reached, it is helpful to put it in writing for future reference. Have the resident sign a copy of the dated letter from the board or property management corporation confirming the discussion and the resident’s agreement to abide by the smoke-free policy.

If the smoking continues and the resident refuses to comply with sanctions, the Condominium Property Act gives corporations the option of taking the owner to court to recover monetary sanctions or damages in the case of any other sanction.

Document all violations, and, if possible, get witnesses who would be able to testify to incidents of smoking by the resident if necessary. You will need to establish to the satisfaction of the court that the defendant contravened the bylaw.

Download a sample complaint flowchartcomplaint log and caution notice.

Issues while transitioning to smoke-free status

If your building is converting to smoke-free status either through a phased-in approach or due to exempted residents, it will continue to be important to address complaints of second-hand smoke migrating in smoke-free units from spaces where smoking is still allowed. If applicable, clarify with staff that while exempted or phased-in residents may be allowed to smoke in their units, complaints of second-hand smoke must still be addressed and documented.

Have you started implementing a smoke-free policy?

We want to hear from you! Contact us to tell us about your experience consulting stakeholders and drafting, implementing and enforcing your condominium's smoke-free policy.

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