Toronto Public Health Charges Rothmans, Benson and Hedges for Workplace Smoking Violations |
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Toronto Public Health -- Toronto Public Health will charge the
cigarette manufacturer Rothmans, Benson & Hedges Inc., for failure to comply
with the City's smoking by-law.
Yesterday Toronto Public Health inspected the head office of Rothmans, Benson &
Hedges at 1500 Don Mills Road, and their sales office and testing lab at 64
Samor Road. At both facilities, inspectors found numerous by-law infractions,
including employees smoking at their workstations.
Under the by-law, smoking is prohibited in the workplace unless there are
designated smoking rooms that are fully enclosed, separately ventilated, and
used for no other purpose than smoking. There are no designated smoking rooms
at either of the Rothmans, Benson & Hedges facilities inspected yesterday.
Rothmans has also failed to post signs at workplace entrances indicating that
smoking is prohibited.
During yesterday's inspection, inspectors also found that the cafeteria at
Rothmans failed to restrict smoking areas to a maximum of 25 percent of the
public space, as stipulated in the by-law. The cafeteria did not post signs to
clearly identify the designated smoking area. Charges are also pending against
the operator of the cafeteria, Canada Catering Company Limited.
"Toronto Public Health has a mandate to enforce this municipal by-law. We must
create a level playing field for all businesses in Toronto. We cannot protect
the health of individuals in one company, and turn a blind eye to employees in
another, regardless of whether or not those companies manufacture cigarettes.
No company will be granted an exemption," said Dr. Sheela Basrur, Medical
Officer of Health, City of Toronto.
Toronto Public Health is aware that the company may challenge the by-law, or
request an exemption. However, a similar smoking by-law was unsuccessfully
challenged in December 1996, and the by-law was upheld by the court. At that
time, the court noted that the by-law was enacted only after considerable
debate and public discussion, and that it is intended to protect the health of
all members of the public, including those in the workplace.
The charges pending against Rothmans, Benson & Hedges and Canada Catering carry
a fine of up to $5000.
"We hope that Rothmans, Benson & Hedges will act as a good corporate citizen
and abide by the same rules that apply to thousands of other workplaces and
public spaces. We hope they move to prohibit smoking in the workplace, or to
construct designated smoking rooms. If they select either option, Toronto
Public Health will re-inspect both premises to ensure full compliance," said