Stay up to date on the latest news related to smoke-free housing policies and second-hand smoke in Alberta and across the country.

Saskatchewan Housing Corporation introduces smoke-free policy

Jun 21, 2018

On June 20, 2018, the Saskatchewan Government, through its agency Saskatchewan Housing Corporation, announced that all social housing in the province will be 100% smoke-free as of August 1, 2018.  Saskatchewan becomes the second province/territory to require all social housing units to be 100% smoke-free.  The Yukon has had such a policy since Jan. 1, 2012. The city of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador also has such a requirement, since the summer of 2017.  For more information you can read the Corporation's Q&A for Tenants, or our joint media releases below:


Released on June 20, 2018

On August 1, 2018, Saskatchewan Housing Corporation (SHC) will implement a provincial no-smoking policy in all SHC-owned or leased properties.

Smoking and vaping (including cannabis) will not be permitted except in designated smoking areas located outside.  Local housing authorities will work with tenants to implement the no-smoking policy.

Saskatchewan will be the second province or territory to implement a province-wide no-smoking policy in government-owned housing.  Yukon was the first.

“The health and safety of tenants is of utmost importance to us,” Social Services Minister and Minister Responsible for Saskatchewan Housing Corporation Paul Merriman said.  “Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable disease, disability and death in Canada and the dangers of second-hand smoke are widely documented.  A no-smoking policy will provide tenants in SHC units with safer and healthier living environments.”

“We applaud the provincial government for protecting the health of children, seniors and other vulnerable populations who are especially sensitive to the respiratory effects of second-hand smoke,” Canadian Cancer Society Tobacco Control Manager Donna Pasiechnik said.  “For many of these people, social housing is their only affordable or practical option.  This much-needed measure will improve the health and well-being of thousands of people in this province.”

Smoking negatively affects indoor air quality for smokers and non-smokers alike.  Smoke is particularly harmful to children and people living with respiratory illnesses, heart disease, cancer, and other conditions that compromise overall health.

SHC’s no-smoking policy will provide benefits that include:

  • improved and safer air quality;
  • reduced risk of fires;
  • reduced maintenance, cleaning, and recovery costs; and
  • reduced complaints of second-hand smoke.

SHC understands that this new policy will pose challenges for some tenants.  Tenants will not be required to quit smoking.  However, they will be required to smoke in designated outdoor smoking areas only.

Implementing a no-smoking policy in SHC units aligns with other initiatives and strategies, such as the provincial Tobacco Reduction Strategy and bylaws to protect children from exposure to second-hand smoke.  This policy also aligns with provincial legislation which bans smoking in enclosed public places, in cars with passengers under the age of 16, and on school grounds.

SHC is committed to supporting and educating tenants and helping them comply with this new policy.  On request, SHC will provide tenants and personnel with information on a variety of free programs and resources to help quit smoking.

For more information, visit  Other resources include: Smoker’s Helpline at and Partnership to Assist with Cessation of Tobacco (PACT):



Saskatchewan health groups applaud smoke-free social housing policy

20 June 2018


The Saskatchewan Housing Corporation’s announcement today to make all social housing units smoke-free later this summer is being praised by health organizations including The Lung Association and the Canadian Cancer Society. Drifting smoke in multi-unit dwellings is a significant problem and health concern for many people in Saskatchewan.

“This is the right thing to do. Children whose lungs are still developing are especially susceptible to second-hand smoke. Women who are pregnant, people who have health issues and seniors deserve protection,” says Jennifer May, Vice-President of Community Engagement with The Lung Association.

The Canadian Cancer Society and The Lung Association receive calls regularly from people suffering health consequences from second-hand smoke in their dwellings but are not able to get landlords to address their concerns.

“Many people fear retaliation or being without housing if they speak out or complain. Their housing options are limited, which is why this smoke-free policy is so important. Every child should have the right to live in a healthy smoke-free environment,” says Donna Pasiechnik, manager of tobacco control for the Canadian Cancer Society in Saskatchewan.

In a precedent-setting Saskatchewan case last year, the Office of Residential Tenancies (ORT) ordered a social housing landlord to compensate tenants of three different Regina apartment buildings for failing to address the problem of second-hand smoke infiltrating their units and the health issues they suffered as a result. The Regina Housing Authority was ordered to compensate the tenants a portion of their rent, moving and other expenses. The policy announced today is in part a response to that ruling.

The trend towards smoke-free social housing is growing. Provincial and municipal governments responsible for social housing are requiring an increasing proportion of social housing units to be 100% smoke-free. In the Yukon Territory and in the city of St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador, all social housing units are 100% smoke-free. In October 2018 most social housing units in the United States will become smoke-free. University dormitories, hospitals, prisons, seniors’ homes, and many hotels are now smoke-free.

Second-hand smoke contains hundreds of toxic chemicals, more than 70 of which can cause cancer. Second hand smoke is a cause of heart disease and lung cancer in otherwise healthy non-smoking individuals.

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer May
The Lung Association, Saskatchewan

Donna Pasiechnik
Canadian Cancer Society

Rob Cunningham
Canadian Cancer Society
613-565-2522 ext 4981

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

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