Wilfrid Laurier University will become smoke free at all its campuses and properties on July 1, 2019. The university’s smoke-free policy was established in an effort to support the health, wellness and safety of the university community and its visitors. The new smoke-free policy replaces Laurier’s existing smoking policy and interim cannabis policy.
Laurier’s smoke-free policy prohibits the smoking of tobacco and cannabis by all methods, and prohibits vaping of all substances in any form, including the use of vaporizer and inhalant devices such as vape pens and e-cigarettes at all buildings and grounds owned, leased or operated by the university, including outdoor play areas, athletic and recreational fields, university residences and housing. The policy also applies to vehicles or equipment rented, owned or leased by the university.
Laurier respects the sacred role of tobacco and other traditional medicines in Indigenous spiritual and cultural practices; approved religious and cultural exemptions will be made available under the policy. The medical use of cannabis, with proper documentation, is also permitted.
A smoke-free environment at Laurier directly benefits members of the university’s campus communities by reducing exposure to second-hand smoke, discouraging people from starting to smoke, and supporting those who decide to quit smoking.
The smoke-free policy was developed in consultation with Laurier faculty, staff and student committees and working groups and was approved by the university’s Board of Governors June 6.
Q: What does Laurier's smoke-free campus mean?
A: Laurier’s smoke-free policy eliminates smoking, which means inhaling, exhaling, burning, or carrying any lighted or heated cigar, cigarette, pipe, or any other lighted or heated smoking products intended for inhalation. Smoking also includes the use of an electronic smoking device, which creates an aerosol or vapour, in any manner or in any form, or the use of any oral smoking device. The smoke-free policy applies to all university locations, campuses and property, including university owned or leased vehicles.
Q: Who is affected by the smoke-free policy?
A: The smoke-free policy applies to all Laurier employees, students, visitors, contractors and volunteers while on or in university property or facilities, or in university owned or leased vehicles or equipment.
Q: Does this policy apply to football games, outdoor concerts, or other public events on campus?
A: All events occurring on university property are subject to the smoke-free policy. This includes, but is not limited to, athletic events, concerts, theatre, exhibitions, meetings, conferences, weddings, etc. The policy applies to anyone entering university property for any reason.
Q: How will the campus communities be advised that the university is smoke free?
A: There will be signage, communication and information available on the university’s websites.
Q: Where can I smoke?
A: The smoke-free policy covers all university locations, campuses and property. If you choose to smoke, consult a campus map to find the nearest property border adjacent to a street and smoke on the sidewalk. The university’s expectation is that Laurier community members will be respectful of others, will not contribute to second-hand smoke harming others, and will also properly dispose of their waste products.
Q: Why don’t we have designated smoking areas?
A: As a smoke-free campus, the university does not have designated smoking areas. Research shows that venues with designated smoking areas expose the community to markedly higher levels of second-hand smoke.
Q: Can I smoke anything in my residence room?
A: No. Laurier’s smoke-free policy prohibits smoking in any form at the university (indoors and outside) on university property and in university facilities, with a few exceptions. The Smoke Free Ontario Act also applies. Medical use of cannabis in residence buildings is accommodated through Residence Life policies; please contact Residence Life.
Q: Can I smoke in my car while on university property?
A: No. The smoke-free policy prohibits the act of smoking any substance on university property, which would include sitting in your car. In addition, the university discourages people from smoking in their vehicles in any location due to the inherent harm it would cause to yourself and your passengers.
Q: How is the university ensuring the safety of those who must leave campus at night to smoke?
A: The university has taken steps to ensure that our campuses and surrounding communities are safe places for all students, employees and visitors. Current physical safety measures include outdoor lighting and emergency poles that instantly connect users to the Special Constable Service. The SafeHawk app offers personal safety tools that are useful for everyone at all hours.
Q: Can I buy tobacco products on campus?
A: No. Tobacco and other smoking products are not available for purchase at university locations. The legal age for cannabis use and smoking is 19.
Q: Does the smoke-free policy allow for individual accommodations?
A: Yes. Accommodations for individuals may apply where the university has an obligation to provide medical accommodation under the Ontario Human Rights Code. Requests for accommodation will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Employees requesting accommodation can contact Human Resources. Students seeking academic accommodation can make requests through the Accessible Learning Centre; students seeking residence accommodation can contact Residence Life.
Q: Does the policy address Indigenous traditional and sacred medicines?
A: Yes, the university recognizes the unique relationship that many Indigenous cultures have with traditional and sacred medicines such as tobacco, sweet grass, sage, and cedar, among others. As such, exemptions to this policy will be granted to university community members, upon request, to burn these medicines as part of Indigenous cultural and spiritual practices. Requests can be sent to Laurier’s Safety, Health, Environment and Risk Management Office.
Q: How will the smoke-free policy be enforced?
A: The primary purpose of the smoke-free policy is to support the overall health and well-being of Laurier community members through education, awareness, and by establishing a smoke-free environment. The university has the right to enforce its policies. Laurier’s Special Constable Service will enforce the policy, and any infractions of the policy will be addressed through the Trespass to Property Act (Provincial Legislation) under the “Engage in Prohibited Activity” infraction. This legislation will require persons violating the act to produce identification to Special Constables upon request.
Q: If I see someone smoking, how do I report them?
A: The university hopes that its community members will recognize and respect the goals of the smoke-free policy. However, a learning period is expected as the policy is implemented and community members learn about its associated changes. Laurier’s Special Constable Service will enforce the policy. People can submit information to Special Constables by phone, email or the Safe Hawk mobile app.
Q: Does Laurier have a cannabis policy?
A: Yes, Laurier has an interim cannabis policy effective through June 30, 2019. On July 1, smoking cannabis will be covered under the smoke-free policy. Laurier is working on another policy to manage the impact of cannabis edibles once that framework is released later in 2019.
Q: Can I possess cannabis on campus if I’m not actually using it?
A: Yes. However, all cannabis brought onto university property or into university facilities must be legally obtained and possessed. Cannabis and cannabis accessories in university facilities or on university property must be stored in sealed, scent-proof containers.
Q: Is the medical use of cannabis permitted on campus?
A: Yes, as long as individuals have the proper medical documentation. Medical cannabis is subject to different rules than recreational cannabis and is regulated exclusively by the federal government. For more information about accommodations, staff and faculty can reference the university’s Employment Accommodation Policy or contact Human Resources. Students can seek information in the Health and Wellness section on students.wlu.ca on in person at Laurier’s campus wellness centres.
Q: Can I grow cannabis plants for recreational purposes on campus?
A: No. Laurier prohibits growing cannabis for recreational purposes on university property and in university buildings, including university residences and housing.
Q: Can I order cannabis through a licensed retailer and have it delivered to campus?
A: No. The university will not accept deliveries of any controlled substance, including cannabis, to its campuses.
Q: Can someone use recreational cannabis off-campus before attending class, participating in a lab, tutorial or other learning activity or before coming to work?
A: Students have a responsibility to come to campus prepared to learn and work safely and within acceptable standards. The university’s Non-Academic Student Code of Conduct and Residence Life Code of Conduct set out behaviour expectations for students.
All university employees are expected to adhere to the university's Fitness for Work Policy.
Q: Can I promote a legal cannabis-related product on campus?
A: No. The university prohibits selling, promoting and advertising of all smoking products. The university also has policies regarding advertising, promotion, sales and solicitation on campus.
Q: How does the policy affect tobacco or cannabis research on campus?
A: The policy is aimed at smoking; it does not apply to tobacco or cannabis used or grown in laboratories for teaching and research purposes where the research meets all regulatory and ethics approval requirements, and appropriate protections for environmental health and safety are in place.
Q: Where can I find support to manage my tobacco or cannabis use?
A: Students seeking support can consult with either a counsellor or a physician at the Student Wellness Centre on their campus. For employees, there are a variety of resources available through the EFAP program, public health programs or through other resources by consulting with human resources.
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