PUBCO hails new British Columbia legislation to accommodate smokers, non-smokers in bars and restaurants while protecting workers as "fair and reasonable"
Ottawa City Council urged to review by-law amendment based on BC solution

OTTAWA - January 17, 2002

The Pub and Bar Coalition of Ontario hailed yesterday's announcement by the British Columbia government of new smoking legislation as a major breakthrough. The legislation will initiate a compromise alternative to 100% smoking bans which the government considers a fair and reasonable solution. The proposal largely reflects a similar balanced by-law amendment that PUBCO has already proposed to the City of Ottawa.

Two years ago, a province-wide ban was introduced by the Workers Compensation Board only to be overturned by the BC Supreme Court. After months of evaluation, the provincial government has developed comprehensive new legislation that will:

  • Allow smoking in up to 45% of an establishment's area provided that:
  • The smoking area is a separate room (doors optional).
  • Workers are not stationed in the smoking area.
  • Workers cannot serve in the smoking area for more than 20% of their shifts.
  • Workers cannot be forced to enter the smoking areas at all should they not wish to.
  • Airflow equipment providing an air change of 30 CFM (cubic feet per minute) is installed.
  • An air-cleaning system operating to a minimum standard of 95% efficiency at a 0.3 micrometre particle size is also installed.

"BC tried a province-wide prohibition of smoking in bars and restaurants and it didn't work," said Barry McKay, General Manager of PUBCO. "Over a 1,000 people lost their jobs, businesses went bankrupt, charity bingos were devastated and the law was unenforceable - it created exactly the same chaotic situation as we now have in Ottawa.

"We congratulate the BC government for taking the time and having the fair mindedness to thoroughly investigate the alternatives. They have concluded, after a far more lengthy and detailed review than that undertaken in Ottawa, that the requirement for zero parts of second-hand smoke per trillion is unnecessary and unreasonable. They have recognized that affordable and effective ventilation technology exists that can effectively protect workers and non-smokers. They have also clearly understood that small business owners and their employees should not have to face financial hardship nor be mandated to become by-law enforcement officers. This rational approach basically reflects the position that PUBCO has maintained since the outset of the smoking ban.

"This is not a pro-smoking decision but a pro-business one. To see such reasonable and practical leadership displayed by elected officials comes as a breath of fresh air" said McKay.

PUBCO again urges City Council to review and institute the by-law amendments it put before City council in December. Such amendments were based on proposals developed by the Coalition of Hospitality Organizations (COHO) which have now been largely accepted by the BC government.

"It's time that the City of Ottawa abandon its draconian measures and adopt the reasonable, common sense approach being taken by BC and every major Canadian city including Toronto, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, and Edmonton. Tough air quality standards based on advanced technology can protect the interests of everybody - smoker, non-smoker and employee alike," concluded McKay.

For further information, contact: Barry McKay, PUBCO 613 851-1800 or visit the PUBCO website at