Ottawa Community Housing to ban smoking in May

Ottawa Community Housing will ban smoking on its property in the spring of 2014, becoming the largest housing provider in the province to do so.

Current tenants will be only exception

Ottawa Community Housing will ban smoking on its property in the spring of 2014.

The OCH board of directors approved the plan to mark World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2014 by moving to a no-smoking policy for the majority of people.

Only current tenants will be allowed to continue smoking until they choose to move out of their current unit, according to a news release, and those tenants will be encouraged to stop smoking as well.

Staff will be banned from smoking starting March 17.

“We realize that it will take years to become fully smoke-free but we are pleased to advise our tenants that we are on our way to healthier living spaces,” said councillor Marianne Wilkinson, who is also the chair of OCH.

Ottawa councillor Marianne Wilkinson who chairs the OCH board said they've received several complaints about second-hand smoke. ((CBC))

“The adverse effects of second-hand smoke are well known (and) we have received many complaints regarding second-hand smoke from tenants.”

"We applaud Ottawa Community Housing for their work which will give many of their residents a healthier place to live,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa’s medical officer of health.

Largest housing provider in province to ban smoking

The news release also said the ban will hopefully reduce the risk of fire and cut down on the time it takes to repair smoke damaged units.

Tenants who refuse to stop smoking or put the safety of others in jeopardy by smoking may face eviction as a last resort, according to the OCH report.

OCH said in the news release it had been working on the policy for two years, with a recent survey showing 69 per cent support from the 21 per cent of tenants who answered.

It had been testing the ban as a pilot project in its two newest developments on Crichton Street and Carson’s Road.

With more than 32,000 residents, OCH said it will become the largest housing provider in Ontario to ban smoking on its property.

It said in its report 70 other social housing providers in the province already have similar smoking bans.