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

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

Island Health enforces the CRD’s public health bylaws.

To make a complaint about the Clean Air Bylaw, please contact the Island Health Tobacco Control Program at 250-360-1450 or via email.

For other public health bylaws please call 250-519-3401.

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?

Neither the CRD nor its municipalities have the authority to control smoking in private residences. However, the Clean Air Bylaw does apply to common areas and common entrances of multi-unit dwellings. Smoking is prohibited in common rooms, on common patios, and within seven (7) metres of a common area entrance/exit, window or air intake.

Smoking in private residences 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.

Where does the seven (7) metre buffer zone apply?

Smoking is prohibited within seven (7) metres of bus stops as well as doorways, windows and air intakes of publicly accessible buildings. This includes businesses as well as common areas and entrances of multi-unit dwellings (such as apartment buildings).

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.

Are there signs to show me where smoking is not allowed?

Yes. ‘No Smoking’ signs are posted at bus shelters, parks, playgrounds, public squares and playing fields. Business owners and strata property managers are also required to post signage outside of their buildings to advise that the minimum smoking distance from doorways, windows and air intakes is seven metres.

How is the Bylaw enforced?

Encouraging compliance with the bylaw includes:
  1. Targeted education and awareness
  2. Sufficient and proper signage
  3. Voluntary compliance & peer pressure
  4. Rotation of physical presence and monitoring by Island Health enforcement officers
  5. Ticketing in specific situations

If you have a concern about compliance, please contact the Island Health Tobacco Control Program at 250-360-1450 or via email.

Does the Clean Air Bylaw also prohibit the burning of marijuana or use of e-cigarettes?

No. At this time the Bylaw only prohibits the burning of tobacco.