Truck driver fined for smoking behind the wheel

Ontario anti-smoking law considers commercial trucks workplaces; driver fined $305
|employmentlawtoday.com|Last Updated: 10/09/2009

An Ontario truck driver has found out the hard way how far the province’s workplace smoking ban extends.

The driver, a 48-year-old man from London, Ont., was spotted by an Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) officer lighting up while behind the wheel of his tractor trailor on Highway 401 near Windsor. The officer pulled the truck over and wrote him a ticket under the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, which bans smoking in enclosed workplaces. Since the driver was on the job, his truck was considered his workplace. Now the driver must pay a $305 fine.

When told of the incident, Ontario Labour Minister Peter Fonseca agreed the officer acted appropriately and in accord with the law.

“Work vehicles were deemed workplaces in that act, so that is a place of work,” Fonseca told The Globe and Mail.

An interesting element is that if the driver worked for a company that did business outside of Ontario, the law wouldn’t apply. Neither would it if he owned his own truck, but since the company owned it, it’s considered a workplace.

A spokesperson for the Essex County OPP told the Windsor Star police would enforce the law, regardless of whether it’s considered unfair. She also noted smoking while driving is unsafe anyway because the driver’s attention isn’t focused completely on driving, similar to using a cellphone or other device.

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