Policy and Political Action

Policy & Political Action

RNAO's Speaking Notes on Bill 174: Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act, 2017

Good afternoon. My name is Lisa Levin. I am the Director of Nursing and Health Policy with the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario. With me today is Nicole Jeffery, Implementation Specialist with RNAO's Tobacco Intervention Team.

Thank you for this opportunity to present the view of Ontario's registered nurses, nurse practitioners and nursing students to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy.

RNAO's written submission to this committee regarding the Cannabis, Smoke-Free Ontario and Road Safety Statute Law Amendment Act. Contains the following 16 recommendations: 

Recommendation 1. We recommend that the Ministry of Health be the lead agency to drive optimal public health outcomes through legislation, regulation, and public policies to reduce harm from alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, and other harmful substances.
Recommendation 2.  We support legalization of cannabis with strict regulation as the optimal approach to decrease health and social harms.
Recommendation 3.  We support the minimum age for non-medical cannabis purchase, possession, consumption, and distribution in Ontario of 19 years old.
Recommendation 4.  We recommend that public education strategies be developed that are broad-based and informed by evidence from the Lower-Risk Cannabis Use Guidelines.
Recommendation 5. We recommend that the province study and implement evidence-informed prevention and health promotion programs for cannabis use that are non-stigmatizing and include youth and young adults with lived experience in the planning, implementation, and evaluation of initiatives.
Recommendation 6.  We recommend creating an exemption for the consumption of cannabis in outdoor designated smoking areas on the properties of multi-unit housing, so long as there is proper signage and the activity occurs a regulated distance away from entrances/exits and outdoor playgrounds.
Recommendation 7.  We recommend providing specific regulatory authority for multi-unit housing decision-making bodies to create outdoor designated cannabis smoking areas on their properties.
Recommendation 8.   We recommend requiring signage warning of the risks of exposure to second-hand cannabis and tobacco smoke be posted in the common areas of all multi-unit housing in Ontario.
Recommendation 9.  We recommend providing a more seamless and effective approach to enforce the ban on smoking of both cannabis and tobacco in public places and workplaces by enabling tobacco enforcement officers to also enforce the restriction on consumption of non-medical cannabis in public places, in addition to police officers.
Recommendation 10. We recommend establishing requirements for equity training for the criminal justice system, including law enforcement, to ensure fair treatment of racialized and marginalized populations.
Recommendation 11. We welcome the creation of the Ontario Cannabis Retail Corporation and urge the province to:

  • Prohibit marketing, promotion, sponsorship, and advertising of cannabis.
  • Ensure products are sold in plain packaging with clear information about the characteristics of the product and warnings about health risks.
  • Curtail higher-risk products such as higher-potency formulations and products designed to appeal to youth;
  • Limit availability
  • Conduct Storefront sales from behind the counter by staff trained in challenge-and-refusal protocols.
  • Curb cannabis demand through an effective pricing and tax structure.

Recommendation 12. We also recommend that additional stand-alone cannabis stores be opened in Northern Ontario by July 2018.  
Recommendation 13.  We urge the province to Ontario to implement the comprehensive strategy outlined in the Smoke-Free Ontario Modernization Report.
Recommendation 14. We recommend ensuring that the use of heated tobacco products be prohibited
Recommendation 15.  We recommend broadening the definition of "tobacco product accessory" to include waterpipes and hookahs, rolling papers and any other accessory that is prescribed by regulation
Recommendation 16.  We support the zero tolerance approach to prohibiting driving after alcohol and/or drug use for: novice drivers with a graduated license; drivers age 21 years and under; and commercial drivers.

Resource Type: 
Speaking Notes