The policies found on the website of the Secretariat are compulsory rules for the University community. The authoritative copies of the policies are held by the Secretariat and bear the seal of the University. The online version accessible through the website of the Secretariat is available for information purposes only. In case of discrepancy between the online version and the authoritative copy held by the Secretariat , the authoritative copy shall prevail. Please contact the Secretariat for assistance if necessary.

Established: 22 August 1967
Revised: 1 September 2007
15 July 2016
15 October 2018
Mandatory Review Date: 15 July 2020
Supersedes: N/A
Class: Class G
Responsible/Originating Department: Safety Office
Executive Contact: University Secretary

Related Policies, Guidelines and Procedures:

  1. Policy 34 - Health, Safety and Environment
  2. Reference to: https://uwaterloo.ca/parking
  3. Q&A re: Approach to Cannabis Legalization

1. Introduction

Extensive research shows that tobacco use and smoking are harmful to the health of the user and to others through exposure to second-hand and side stream smoke. In recognition of that harm, there are laws, in particular, the Smoke Free Ontario Act (SFOA), and Ontario’s Cannabis Act, 2017 which impose restrictions on the use, sale and promotion of smoking products.

The University of Waterloo strives to provide and promote a healthy work and educational environment for its students, employees and visitors in compliance with provincial law. To those ends, the University controls the use, sale, distribution and promotion of smoking products as set out in this policy.

2. Scope

This policy applies to all University employees, students and visitors on University Property or in University owned or operated vehicles.

3. Definitions

“E-cigarette” means a vaporizer or inhalant-type device, whether called an electronic cigarette or any other name, that contains a power source and heating element designed to heat a substance and produce a vapour intended to be inhaled or consumed by the user of the device, whether or not the vapour contains nicotine or cannabis.

“Smoking” means the act of holding a smoking device, for the purpose of burning, vaporising, inhaling or exhaling any substance.

“Smoking Device” means a cigarette, cigar, pipe, hookah, or other apparatus used for smoking substances, including e-cigarettes.

“Smudging” means an Indigenous practice of the burning of certain herbs, including tobacco, in order to create a cleansing smoke, which is used to purify people as well as ceremonial and ritual spaces, tools and objects.

“Visitor” means anyone attending on University Property who is not a student or employee. For clarity, this includes independent contractors, as well as, individuals or groups renting or otherwise using University Property or University owned or operated vehicles.

“University” means the University of Waterloo.

“University Property” means all real property owned and/or under the operational control of the University.

4. Legal Framework

In addition to the abovementioned “Related Policies, Guidelines and Procedures”, the policy will be construed in accordance with applicable law, in particular:

  • Human Rights Code, R.S.O. 1990, c. H.19 (“OHRC”);
  • Smoke-Free Ontario Act, S.O. 1994, c. 10 (“SFOA”) and Regulation 48/06
  • Electronic Cigarettes Act, 2015, S.O. 2015, c. 7, Sched. 3
  • Cannabis Act, S.C. 2018, c.16 (Federal)
  • Cannabis Act, 2017, S.O. 2017, c. 26 (Ontario) and Regulation 325/18

If any of these legal provisions are modified, abrogated, superseded, or added to, the policy will be interpreted in accordance with the new legal framework.

5. Purpose

This Policy is intended to:

  • Encourage and support a smoke-free environment and lifestyle for all students, employees and visitors;
  • Protect non-smokers from second hand and side stream smoke by prohibiting smoking in prescribed areas; and
  • Ensure the University’s compliance with the SFOA and Cannabis Acts.

6. Principles

The University’s commitment to a healthy work and educational environment, and compliance with applicable laws are the primary guiding principles for this policy.

7. Prohibited Activities

The University prohibits the smoking or vaporizing of cannabis on University property, except for the purposes of medicinal use which may occur only with appropriate documentation provided to the University (AccessAbility Services for students and Occupational Health for employees). The location(s) at which medicinal use will be allowed will be determined in consultation with AccessAbility Services or Occupational Health on a case by case basis.

The University prohibits smoking of tobacco:

  • in any building, bus shelter or other enclosed area;
  • in University owned or operated vehicles;
  • within 10 meters of any building;
  • on or within 20 meters of sports playing fields, surfaces and spectator areas;
  • on or within 20 meters of children’s playgrounds;
  • on restaurant and bar patios.

Individuals engaging in smoking on University Property must dispose of all disposable components of a smoking device safely and in designated receptacles.

The sale, promotion, distribution or display of tobacco and cannabis products is strictly banned on University Property. Cultivation of tobacco or cannabis is prohibited on University Property except for research purposes and then, only with the proper approvals in place.

8. Exceptions

The University may grant an exception to the prohibition on smoking or cultivation in a building on University Property in certain limited circumstances, e.g. for research that has received all required clearances or for traditional Indigenous cultural or spiritual smudging ceremonies.

9. Enforcement and Violations

Department line management shall ensure compliance with respect to areas/individuals under their authority. However, in order to promote awareness and compliance with this policy, University Police Services will assist with education and enforcement through the use of pro-active and complaint-based notifications and warnings, and have the authority to ticket individuals found in violation. Fines will be assessed in accordance with the Appendix A of this policy.

In the event any individual is in serious or repeated violation of this policy, or fails to pay a ticket issued under this policy, the University may, without prejudice to any other right or remedy the University may have at law or under University policy, take further action in the form of discipline, withholding of student records, removal/ban from campus or referral of accounts to a collection agency.

10. Appeals

A person who has been issued a Notice of Violation and who has reason to object to such Notice may file an appeal. Appeals are handled by the University of Waterloo Property Infractions Committee and pursuant to regulations established thereby.

Smoking cessation support is available to University employees and students; further information and assistance can be obtained from Health Services.

Appendix A - Fines

Through enforcement of this policy, University Police Services have the authority to ticket individuals found in violation. Warnings issued under this policy will be recorded in the enforcement ticketing system. Fines will be assessed in accordance with the following schedule:

Violation Fine
Smoking Where Prohibited $50.00