On November 24, 2014 the Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care Associate Minister, Hon Dipika Damerla and Premier of Ontario, Hon Kathleen Wynne announced and introduced Bill 45 (Making Healthier Choices Act, 2014) in a News Release. In the news release, even though the Bill contains three different legislative Schedules, the Bill appears to be unreasonably focused on restrictions for Electronic Cigarettes.
When looking at the details of Bill 45, it contains three different schedules of legislative items:
- Schedule 1 - Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2014
- Schedule 2 - Smoke-Free Ontario Act
- Schedule 3 - Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2014
After a quick review, Schedule 3 appears to be a replica of existing Tobacco Legislation. At a high level, we have determined that the most significant impact on our industry includes (but is not limited to):
- No Sales to Under 19 (one agreeable point)
- No Displays of Electronic Cigarette hardware
- No Displays of E-Liquid (with or without nicotine)
- No Listing of flavours
- No Showing consumers how to use or troubleshoot the devices
- No Vaping in Vape Shops, thus no Vape Lounges
- No Ontario Based Online Sales (Questionable but it is Display and Promotion)
- No Indoor Vape Meets in Public Spaces (Even if private club, a paid venue or rented space)
- No Vaping in vehicle with persons under 16 years old
Nothing about this Act appears to be evidence or science based but rather a proposal of legislation based on emotion. It actually looks as if the Tobacco legislation was copied and a few words where added or changed. Looking like smoke is not a valid argument to propose legislation. It is completely inappropriate. We encourage anyone to read through the proposed bill, not just the bullet points of the news release, and ask questions.
What is even more confusing is why the Ontario Government is pushing to implement this legislation now when the Standing Committee on Health (HESA) is in the middle of conducting an E-Cigs study per Health Minister directive for the purpose of presenting a proposed federal regulatory framework. They are creating work for themselves that they may not need to do, depending on what comes out at the Federal level.
A couple of positive points that we see within this proposal are:
- No sales to those under 19 years of age. We have been calling for this since ECTAs foundation and it is already a requirement of our members
- Being placed within an act seperate from the Tobacco Act. Although it appears to be a Template of the Tobacco Act, it is not the tobacco act which will allow changes that will affect only Electronic Cigarettes. We are not subject to the ramifications of Tobacco Act changes.
Either way, we can (and will) not allow this Bill to go unchallenged. There is a procedure that the Ontario Government must abide by in order to implement this bill as law. One of those steps (Review by Committee) requires that they allow for public input and this is where we must ALL take action by actually speaking to the Review Committee. Review by Committee occurs after the Second Reading for which we are currently waiting for a schedule date.
In the meantime, we must use this time to educate the Provincial Representatives to the best of our abilities. We encourage everyone, in EVERY province, to please take the time sit down and speak with, write a letter or send an email to your local provincial representative. Educate them and/or tell your story in your own words as soon as possible. If you are unsure about who you should contact, you can find your provincial representative information here: Ontario by Postal Code | All Other Provinces
Facebook users, besides joining ECTA on Facebook, please join the Tobacco Harm Reduction of Canada group as well:
Contacts of Interest for Bill 45: