Make your Condo Building a Smoke Free Zone

April 2016

You understand not only the risks of smoking but the danger it poses to the safety of condo residents in the building. You are also aware of the liability it creates for the condo corporation.

While it is currently a requirement that condo common areas be smoke free, many condo corporations do allow smoking within suites. This can create problems for some condo residents and require costly efforts to protect against second hand smoke that migrates beyond the originating suite.

Condo corporations have two tools for making their properties smoke free zones and protecting condo residents from the risks, discomfort and inconvenience of second hand smoke.

Condo Rules

Condo corporations can pass a rule prohibiting smoking in all areas of the building. Such a rule is reasonable in that it promotes the welfare and safety of condo residents and property. It also eliminates tobacco smoke infiltration which can interfere with a condo owner’s use of their suite and common elements.

Grandfathering this rule can allow existing owners to continue smoking in their suite while ensuring that all new owners be required to comply thereby minimizing internal opposition.


Amending the corporation’s declaration to ban smoking in all suites and common areas is a more permanent approach that is more difficult to reverse. It does require approval of 80% of suite owners.

When smoking is allowed in condo suites, the condo corporation has an obligation to protect other residents from being negatively affected by this smoke. Condo residents affected by second hand smoke may rely on the Condo Act, Smoke Free Ontario Act or Ontario Human Rights Code to require the condo corporation to undertake potentially costly efforts to prevent smoke infiltration among condo suites.

Current provincial regulations do not prohibit e-cigarettes. Making Healthier Choices Act, 2015 – Bill 45 – will be in force as of January 1, 2017. It will restrict the use of e-cigarettes to the same places as regular cigarettes.