Strata non-smoking bylaws
Most British Columbians do not smoke. Strata owners and residents can ensure smoke-free environments in strata housing by passing strata bylaws or rules to restrict or ban smoking.
Strata corporations (or sections) can create a bylaw, by a 3/4 vote of owners, or create a rule to limit or ban smoking.
- A non-smoking bylaw can ban smoking in the strata lot as well as on common property and limited common property.
- However, a rule can only limit or prohibit smoking on common property.
Even if a strata doesn’t have a bylaw that specifically addresses smoking, almost all stratas have bylaws ensuring owners, strata residents and visitors cannot cause a nuisance or hazard to another person or unreasonably interfere with the rights of other persons to use and enjoy the common property, common assets or another strata lot. These bylaws can be used to address second-hand smoke issues.
Many strata corporations use the Standard Bylaws in the Strata Property Act. Standard Bylaw 3 addresses owners, tenants, occupants or visitors creating a nuisance or unreasonably interfering with the rights of other persons to use and enjoy the common property, common assets or a strata lot.
If a strata corporation and its owners are considering adopting a bylaw to explicitly limit or ban smoking it is helpful to consult with a knowledgeable strata lawyer.
Access to cannabis for medical purposes has been legal in Canada since 2001 under federal government legislation and it continues to fall within the responsibility of the federal government.
Medical cannabis consumers must comply with Health Canada regulations governing medical cannabis consumption and access. There are also some provincial regulations governing medical consumption, cultivation and public possession however provincial legislation does not apply to the production or sale of medical cannabis.
Please learn more at Health Canada's medical cannabis webpages:
- An overview of the updated federal legislation governing medical cannabis
- How to comply with federal regulations and access cannabis for medical purposes and the process for applying to be a licensed producer.
Information about provincial regulations governing cannabis use, including medical cannabis use, is available at the Province's Get Cannabis Clarity website.
Under Human Rights legislation, strata corporations have a duty to accommodate strata residents, owners and tenants who are using medical cannabis. Strata associations and strata lawyers can provide more information on this topic and what factors strata corporations need to consider when administering their bylaws.
On October 17, 2018 the federal government legalized non-medical cannabis in Canada under the federal Cannabis Act. As a consequence, each province and territory also has passed their own legislation specific to their province or territory governing non-medical cannabis.
With public health and safety top of mind, the Province of B.C. passed legislation to provide British Columbians with legal, controlled access to non-medical cannabis.
- Learn more about B.C.'s legislation, regulations and policies governing non-medical cannabis use.
- Additional information about non-medical cannabis in B.C. is also available at Get Cannabis Clarity.
Strata owners, visitors and renters in stratas who are non-medical cannabis users must still comply with any strata bylaws including strata bylaws banning or limiting smoking.
With the legalization of non-medical cannabis, British Columbia changed the provincial Residential Tenancy Act so that:
- for leases signed before October 17, 2018:
- cannabis smoking is prohibited for non-medical purposes (but not vaping) under existing leases that already prohibit smoking tobacco and
- the personal cultivation of non-medical cannabis is prohibited.
- for leases entered into after October 17, 2018 landlords and tenants can negotiate the terms of leases with respect to cannabis smoking, vaping and cultivation of non-medical cannabis (subject to a strata's bylaws and rules).
For more information about renting and cannabis please see the rental housing (residential tenancies) web page on cannabis.
For more information about renting in a strata please see tenants in a strata.
In addition to strata bylaws there is also provincial legislation and local government bylaws that govern smoking.
- The Province's Tobacco and Vapour Products Control Act and Regulation. This legislation bans smoking in common enclosed areas of apartment buildings or condominiums (e.g. hallways and laundry rooms) and within six metres of a doorway, open windows or air intake of common enclosed areas.
- The Province's Cannabis Control and Licensing Act and regulations
- Human Rights Code, and the duty to accommodate,
- the common law of nuisance
- many local governments (e.g. Campbell River, Penticton, Prince George, Vancouver, Victoria, Whistler, Williams Lake) have bylaws to restrict smoking in public places.
There is additional helpful information available at Smoke-Free Housing BC for strata owners and residents. Smoke-Free Housing BC is an organization that provides information for British Columbians on living in smoke-free housing.
Find it fast: a site map listing all the strata housing pages and subpages.
The information on this website about strata housing is provided for the user’s convenience as a basic starting point; it is not a substitute for getting legal advice. Learn more about the site’s purpose and limits. The content on this website is periodically reviewed and updated by the Province of British Columbia as per the date noted on each page: January 5, 2021.