All of Laurier’s campuses are now smoke-free

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Photo by Emily Waitson

On Monday, July 1, Wilfrid Laurier University implemented their new smoke-free policy across all campuses, replacing the interim cannabis policy that was instituted when cannabis was legalized in Canada, as well as replacing the existing smoking policy.

The new policy prohibits smoking of all types across Laurier campuses, including smoking cigarettes, vaping or using electronic cigarettes and other inhalant devices as well as smoking cannabis, with the exception of those needing it for medical reasons.

What we are really concerned about is the wellness and healthy environments we want to create for students, faculty, staff and visitors.

— Tony Araujo acting vice-president of finance and administration at WLU

This applies to all buildings owned, leased or operated by the university including housing, residences, restaurants, outdoor recreation areas and athletic fields and stadiums. This also applies to any vehicles owned, leased or rented by the university.

“The interim cannabis policy was put in place very quickly to respond to the legislation last fall, we created the work group to look at it for a number of months to see if we should turn that into a permanent policy,” said Tony Araujo, acting vice president of finance & administration for Wilfrid Laurier University.

“It became clearer to us that it was better to really adjust the current smoking policy that was in place, it really encompasses that regardless of the type of smoking happening, what we are really concerned about is the wellness and healthy environments we want to create for students, faculty, staff and visitors.”

This policy will apply to all Laurier campuses, although more integrated downtown campuses like Brantford and Toronto will be monitored by the Ontario smoking laws that prohibit users from smoking within nine metres of any building.

“City by-laws are what take care of smoking when you’ve got an integrated campus like Brantford and Toronto, or even some examples in Waterloo, our policy does not apply in public spaces, it is only on the campus buildings that are owned, leased and operated by us that our policy applies.”

This policy was reviewed by the board of governors, replacing a policy that was previously written in July of 2002. The vice president of finance and administration’s office is the office of accountability for the policy, and Safety, Health, Environment & Risk Management (SHERM) is the administrative responsibility for the policy.

“It’s also a much cleaner approach so instead of having multiple policies that we have to refer to trying to manage it, we can just look at one policy, that’s really how the process happened, that’s the direction the university has gone,” Araujo said.

In Ontario, it is not a law that universities must be smoke free, and in September 2018 only four schools in Ontario had adopted becoming smoke-free campuses, with only two schools banning all four of cannabis, cigarettes, hookah and all inhalant devices.

“In the university environment, you want to be a leader and take care of the environment, and the other part of it is that there are individuals who are allergic to many of the particles from all these different types of items that are smoked, so for us to try and ensure we have a healthy and accessible campus, we have to consider that there is a part of our campus population whose health is in danger,” Araujo said.

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