Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)


Constitutional context

In Canada, federal, provincial and municipal governments share legislative and regulatory authority over tobacco control, and each passes its own legislation and enforces it.

Tobacco control laws

The Tobacco Act, 1997 (as amended), provides for product standards, industry reporting, prohibits youth access to tobacco products, provides for health warnings and messages including graphic picture warnings, and bans misleading descriptors, among others.

Tobacco Act (Amendment) 1998, Bans tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship. A number of Provincial laws governing 63% of Canada's population address smoking in public places among others.

Enforcement structure and operations

Health Canada is the enforcement agency for the Federal tobacco control legislation. The Agency maintains a pool of Inspectors. Regional, municipal and territorial authorities are responsible for the enforcement of the respective laws, by assigning tasks to specific enforcement officers, other authorized officers

The Attorney General of Canada and Department of Justice has responsibility for all federal litigation including those regarding tobacco control. Any decision to prosecute as well as to recover damages on recommendation from enforcement officials rests with the Attorney-General.

Compliance promotion

Enforcement and other authorities have undertaken awareness raising activities among the public, regulated community and governmental agencies. They have also conducted training and developed educational materials, tobacco control information database and facilitated the work of NGOs and research institutions in tobacco control.

Enforcement tools

Commonly used enforcement tools in Canada include, inspections, penalties, litigations and reporting obligations.