Smoke-Free Ontario Act

Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act (SFOA), 2017, effective October 17, 2018 repeals the existing Smoke-Free Ontario Act and the Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015, replacing them with one legislative framework.

The SFOA, 2017 regulates the sale, supply, use, display and promotion of both tobacco and vapour products while also regulating the smoking and vaping of cannabis. The SFOA, 2017 is enforced by Health Unit Tobacco Enforcement officers and protects and regulates smoking in public places. There are many benefits to smoke-free spaces, including:

  • Reducing the health risks of second-hand smoke exposure.
  • De-normalizing tobacco use.
  • Creating a healthier environment.

Places of Use

In addition to the below spaces where the smoking of tobacco was previously restricted under the former SFOA, this new Act prohibits both smoking of tobacco or cannabis as well as the vaping of any substance in/on:

  • Enclosed (indoor) public places
  • Enclosed work places such as office buildings, factories, vehicles
  • Common areas of multi-unit dwellings such as apartment buildings and condos
  • Playgrounds and sport fields- on and within 20 meters of any playground or municipal sports field.
  • Hospitals- includes inside of premise as well as entire hospital property.
  • Long-Term Care Homes- includes inside of premise as well as within 9 meters of any entrance or exit.
  • Motor Vehicles- while children under 16 years old is present.
  • Child care centres and home child care locations
  • Spectator areas of sport and entertainment venues
  • New under SFOA, 2017
  • Bar and Restaurant patios – on and within 9 metres of a restaurant or bar patio.


Help Prevent the Spread!

Rabies is a viral disease that affects the central nervous system of warm-blooded mammals, including humans.

Once symptoms appear, rabies is almost always fatal.

In Canada, bats, foxes, skunks and raccoons are the most common transmitters of the disease.

Health Unit Role

The Health Unit plays a role in helping to prevent the spread of rabies. Public Health Inspectors from the HKPR District Health Unit:

  • monitor reports of rabies cases in the area to keep informed of potential rabies threats
  • when notified, investigate potential human exposures to rabies
  • confine and visually inspect a dog, cat or ferret that bit or scratched a person for a 10-day observation period, from the date of exposure
  • make recommendations and deliver post-rabies treatment to physicians when vaccination required
  • assist participating veterinarians in the promotion of the low-cost rabies vaccination clinics

To learn more, call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.

My Community

Your health is important, as is the health of your friends and neighbours. The Health Unit works with various levels of government, as well as community partners and agencies to help protect the health of residents in your community.

Food Safety

Whether you are the person preparing the food or the one eating the items prepared at a food establishment, safe food handling practices are essential to ensure people do not become ill from improperly stored or prepared foods.

If you have questions about safe food handling practices, food handler training, food safety inspections, or special events call the HKPR District Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006 and speak to a Public Health Inspector.

Additional Resources:

Visit and look under the Food Safety tab for updates on the inspection results of food establishments in your community.

Blue Green Algae

If you’re out on the water this summer, be on the lookout for Blue-Green Algae.

What is Blue-Green Algae (BGA)?

BGA, also known as cyanobacteria, are primitive microscopic organisms that occur naturally in lakes, bays, ponds and inlets. Normally, the algae are barely visible. In warm weather when conditions are right, the algae can rapidly grow to form a large mass (or bloom).

Blooms most commonly occur in late summer and early fall. They thrive in areas where the water is shallow, slow moving and warm, but they may be present in deeper, cooler water. A common cause of BGA blooms is agricultural and stormwater runoff, as well as leaching from septic systems.

What to Look For

Dense blue-green algae blooms can make the water look like a bluish-green pea soup, or a shiny paint slick. Very dense blooms may form solid-looking clumps. Fresh blue-green algae blooms often smell like fresh cut grass, while older blooms can stink like rotten garbage.

Most algae blooms are short-lived and will break down in a few days or weeks.

What to do if you detect BGA?

While many forms of blue-green algae are harmless, some types produce toxins that can be harmful to humans and animals. The risk depends on the type and amount of exposure to the toxins.

If you suspect a BGA bloom:

  • Assume toxins are present
  • Avoid using, drinking, bathing or swimming in the water.
  • Restrict pets from getting into the water.

If you spot a bloom, report it to the Spills Action Centre at 1-800-268-6060.

For more information about BGA, call the Health Unit toll-free at 1-866-888-4577, ext. 5006.

« Go back