By Keith Capstick
With a new municipal bylaw prohibiting smoking within nine metres of the doors of public buildings, Ryerson students can now be fined by a new Toronto Public Health enforcement unit created to crack down on smoking.
The new unit has opened up 20 new jobs that will see officers specifically targeting high-density smoking areas and handing out fines. This new unit, not yet mobilized, could be patrolling the city as early as this summer. Chris White, Ryerson’s assistant director of risk management and prevention, predicts they’ll be bringing their patrol to Ryerson’s campus in September.
“They’re going to start doing targeted enforcement of the bylaw and will be issuing tickets,” White said.
According to David Jensen, a media representative from the Ministry of Public Health and Long-Term Care, the fine for smoking in restricted areas is $250.
Even with Toronto Public Health clamping down, Ryerson security still won’t be able to enforce the new policy. According to White, only this health unit will be able to hand out fi nes, and Ryerson security will merely suggest that students stay away from doors to avoid getting fi ned. Ryerson will also be putting up stickers on doors all over campus to inform students and warn them of this new legislation.
“Nothing in terms of security is going to change,” said White. “They have bigger fish to fry.”
White said that these new inspectors will be cracking down hard all over the city.
“No one hires 20 inspectors, whether it be the Ministry of Labour or Toronto Public Health, without some expectation of recouping the costs of their salaries,” said White.
In addition to the provincial bylaw, the province has also implemented a bylaw that bans smoking on patios. So if you’re a smoker and a regular at the Ram in the Rye, you’ll have to walk up to Church Street to light up.
The issue of smoking on campus was brought up in the Ryerson Students’ Union’s (RSU) semi-annual general meeting in November, and since then amendments have been made by the RSU to petition the school to make Ryerson a “smoke-free campus.”
“We’re working to build a culture of support on campus. Like outlining where the nine metres is in comparison to the entrances and exits on campus,” said RSU President Rajean Hoilett.
Juannittah Kamera, Ryerson’s health promotions program coordinator, is working with White to implement an official smoking policy on campus, which currently doesn’t exist.
“On the website we have the statement from the city that prohibits students from smoking within the nine metre boundaries. [With the bylaw changing, we are] creating a draft smoking plan,” said Kamera.
Ryerson smokers are mostly worried about these new bylaws affecting their bar experience.
“Overall it’s a good thing, but the bar experience is totally different,” said Mackenzie Mclean, a fourth-year image arts student.
“It’s annoying because obviously drinking and smoking on the patio is a favourite pastime of many,” said Elizabeth Glassen, a fourth-year journalism student.