Smoke rises again in B.C. restaurants, bars, prisons

WCB failed to consult them re workplace ban
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Hard on the heels of an arbitrator’s decision that smoking is a disability, a judge has overturned a B.C. workers’ compensation regulation banning smoking in restaurants, bars, medical- care facilities and prisons.

In our last edition, we reported that an arbitrator struck down a smoking ban at the Cominco mine in Trail, B.C. Smoking amounted to a disability under the provincial human rights code, arbitrator Dalton Lawson ruled, and Cominco had failed to make sufficient efforts to accommodate the addicted.

Now, Justice Sunny Stromberg-Stein has ruled that the B.C. Workers’ Compensation Board acted unfairly in removing an exemption for the hospitality industry from its workplace smoking bans.