Smoking and vaping is not allowed in public and private schools, including the grounds associated with the school, and public areas within 20 metres of any point on the perimeter of the grounds of the school. Where a private school is not the only occupant of the premises, then the grounds designated for the school (e.g., a playground) and public areas within 20 metres of any point on the perimeter of those grounds are affected.

It is also illegal to sell tobacco and vapour products in public schools and private schools.

The Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017 (SFOA, 2017) requires that proprietors and employers of public and private schools make sure that smoking and vaping laws on school property are followed.

A proprietor includes the owner, operator or person in charge.

Every proprietor and employer of a school must:

  • give notice to staff, students and visitors that smoking and vaping is prohibited in the smoke-free and vape-free areas described above
  • post “No Smoking” and “No Vaping” signs, or a dual “No Smoking and No Vaping” sign at entrances, exits and washrooms of the smoke-free and vape-free areas, in appropriate locations and in sufficient numbers, to ensure that staff, students and visitors are aware that smoking and vaping is not allowed
  • ensure that no ashtrays or similar items remain in the smoke-free and vape-free areas
  • ensure that staff, students and visitors do not smoke or vape in the smoke-free and vape-free areas
  • ensure that someone who refuses to comply with Ontario’s smoking and vaping laws does not remain in the smoke-free and vape-free areas

Failing to comply with prohibition on smoking and vaping

An individual who violates the prohibition on smoking and vaping in schools or on and around school grounds may be charged and if convicted, face a maximum fine of $1,000 (for a first offence) or $5,000 (for any further offence).
An employer or proprietor of a school that fails to fulfill their responsibility under the law may be charged with an offence and if convicted, could face a maximum fine:

Signage responsibilities

  • For individuals:
    • $2,000 for a first offence
    • $5,000 for a second offence
    • $10,000 for a third offence
    • $50,000 for four or more offences
  • For corporations:
    • $5,000 for a first offence
    • $10,000 for a second offence
    • $25,000 for a third offence
    • $75,000 for four or more offences

Other responsibilities

  • For individuals:
    • $1,000 for a first offence
    • $5,000 for two or more offences
  • For corporations:
    • $100,000 for a first offence
    • $300,000 for two or more offences

Failing to comply with prohibition on selling tobacco or vapour products

Any individual convicted of selling tobacco or vapour products on school grounds could face a fine ranging from $2,000 to $50,000, depending on the individual’s number of prior convictions.

Any corporation convicted of selling tobacco or vapour products on school grounds could face a fine ranging from $5,000 to $75,000, depending on the corporation’s number of prior convictions.

Print the Schools Fact Sheet.