Toronto City Council approved a plan yesterday to make changes to the Municipal Code, Chapter 608, Parks, to prohibit smoking at playgrounds and other child-centred areas in City of Toronto parks.
“The health and well-being of children in our public spaces is a priority for the City,” said Councillor Paula Fletcher (Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth), Chair of the Parks and Environment Committee. “Banning smoking in playgrounds ensures that children have healthy environments in which to play.”
The proposed changes to the Municipal Code will prohibit smoking and the holding of lighted tobacco in Toronto Parks, Forestry and Recreation zoos, farms and within a nine-metre radius of playground safety surfaces or any playground equipment in City of Toronto parks, including wading pools and splash pads.
Second-hand smoke is a Class A carcinogen linked to cancer, increased risk of heart disease and respiratory illness. Outdoor concentrations of second-hand smoke have been found to rival those of indoor second-hand smoke during periods of active smoking (depending on the direction of the wind and the distance from the smoker).
“There is simply no reason to subject children, who are in our parks getting fresh air and exercise, to the harmful effects of second-hand smoke,” said Dr. David McKeown, Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health. “This is also a good time to remind the public that children are influenced by the behaviour of others around them, and we should all work to be healthy role models for the next generation.”
The City Solicitor will apply to the Province for the set fines to be imposed for the new offences created by the bylaw. It is expected that the bylaw will come into effect sometime this spring, after the set fines have been approved. Enforcement will be managed through Parks, Forestry and Recreation, with an initial focus on public awareness and education.
Toronto is Canada’s largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. In the past three years, Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. Toronto’s government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.