On September 10th, 2014 the Capital Regional District Board adopted Clean Air Bylaw No. 3962, increasing the scope of the ban on tobacco smoking within the Capital Regional District. This Bylaw makes all parks, playgrounds, playing fields, public squares and bus stops smoke-free and extends the smoke-free buffer zone outside of doorways, windows and air intakes from three metres to seven metres. Enforcement of the new Bylaw began April 1st, 2015, following an extensive public education and awareness campaign. 

The first Clean Air Bylaw for the Capital Regional District was implemented on January 1st, 1999. This Bylaw made all indoor public spaces 100% smoke-free. On July 1st, 2007 the Bylaw was amended and all businesses were required to make patios where food and beverages are served and/or consumed 100% smoke-free. The new Bylaw, with the inclusion of parks, playgrounds, playing fields, public squares and bus stops as smoke-free spaces, is consistent with smoking bans in other jurisdictions on Vancouver Island, throughout British Columbia and across Canada.

The CRD has the exclusive authority under its Health Letters Patent powers and the Local Government Act to enact and enforce public health bylaws governing activities within the entire region, such as smoking. Staff are working closely with Island Health, municipal partners and community stakeholder groups to ensure effective implementation of this Bylaw. The focus is on increased public awareness and education about the Bylaw and the health issues associated with exposure to second-hand smoke. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered a park?

A park means land acquired, reserved or dedicated as a regional park or community park in accordance with the Local Government Act or Community Charter.

What is considered a public square?

A public square is land that is acquired, reserved or dedicated as a public square in accordance with the Local Government Act or Community Charter. Examples include Centennial Square and Bastion Square in downtown Victoria.

What is considered a public playground?

A public playground is any land held, occupied, zoned or regulated for use by the public as an outdoor area containing playground equipment.

What is considered a public playing field?

A public playing field is any land held, occupied, zoned or regulated for use by the public as an outdoor area for sporting activities.

Am I allowed to smoke in the parking lot of a park?

No. However, you are permitted to smoke inside your vehicle in a parking lot unless you have a youth under the age of 16 in the vehicle with you. (see Bill 36)

Does the Bylaw include private residences or rental housing?

No. The Bylaw does not apply to strata buildings or any private residences. Neither the CRD nor its municipalities have the authority to control smoking in these spaces. This is something that can only be controlled through the strata council for your building (under the provisions of the strata corporation bylaws) or by a property management company/building owner (under each residents tenancy agreement). Please see Smoke-Free Apartments/Condos for more information.

Will there be signs to show me where smoking is not allowed?

Yes. There will be ‘No Smoking’ signs (see picture) at all bus shelters, parks, playgrounds and playing fields. Business owners will also be required to post signs outside of their buildings to advise that the minimum smoking distance from any doorway, window or air intake is seven meters.

Are there resources available to me if I want to quit smoking?

Yes. Please visit the Tobacco Cessation – Island Health for more information.

What about the burning of tobacco during traditional Aboriginal ceremonies?

The ceremonial burning of tobacco as part of an Aboriginal cultural activity is exempt from the Bylaw.

Will there be warnings issued first to allow people time to adjust to the new Bylaw?

Yes. Warnings will be issued until April 1st 2015. After that time fines will be issued at the discretion of enforcement officers.

How will the Bylaw be enforced?

Encouraging compliance with the bylaw will include:
  1. Targeted education and awareness leading up to implementation
  2. Sufficient and proper signage
  3. Voluntary compliance & peer pressure
  4. Rotation of physical presence and monitoring by Island Health enforcement officers

Who do I contact if I want to make a complaint?

To make a complaint, contact the Island Health Tobacco Control Program at 250.519.3401 or via email.

Does the Bylaw also prohibit the use of e-cigarettes and marijuana?

The Bylaw only prohibits the burning of tobacco products.