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Child Care Providers

The Smoke–Free Ontario Act means specific obligations for employers and operators of licensed day care facilities.

What Changed on May 31, 2006?

  • Smoking is now prohibited within licensed private-home day cares (*) - whether or not children are present. (* As defined within the Day Nurseries Act)
  • Although smoking has been prohibited in day nurseries since 1994 by the Tobacco Control Act; licensed private-home day care facilities were not addressed through that legislation.

How does this Protect Children?

  • Mandatory protection is essential for children as they are not able to control their exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS)
  • Second-hand smoke (SHS) is more harmful for children because their lungs are smaller and they breathe more rapidly than adults
  • Second-hand smoke (SHS) is a serious health risk for growing children as evidence has demonstrated negative effects of SHS upon attention, cognition and behaviour

Employer/Operator Responsibilities

Employers and operators of day nurseries and licensed private-home day cares must ensure these environments remain smoke-free by enforcing the compliance of everyone within the enclosed area. This includes the following obligations;

  • To inform all employees and persons that smoking tobacco or holding lighted tobacco is prohibited within the enclosed area - whether or not children are present
  • To ensure that no one smokes within the enclosed area
  • To ensure that a person who refuses to comply with this restriction does not remain in the enclosed area
  • To remove ashtrays or similar equipment from the enclosed area
  • To post “No Smoking” at all entrances, exits, washrooms and other appropriate locations

Smoke-Free Ontario Act Signage

“No smoking” signs must be posted at all entrances, exits, washrooms and other appropriate locations in order to ensure that everyone knows that smoking is prohibited within an enclosed public place or enclosed workplace.

This page explains these signage requirements.

You can get these FREE signs here. To download these signs, please visit the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion website. You can also call the Region of Peel – Public Health at 905-799-7700 for more information.


  • Peel Health Public Health Inspectors are responsible for enforcing the legislation
  • Failure to comply with the requirements of the Smoke-Free Ontario Act may result in legal action (e.g. being charged and/or fined)
  • Employees who report non-compliant employers are legally protected from reprisal by their employers under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act


For more detailed information about the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, please refer to the following resources;

You can also visit the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion website for more information.


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