Community Counselling & Resource Centre

Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation implements smoke-free policy

March 15th, 2018

Tenants signing a new lease with the Windsor Essex Community Housing Corporation will not be allowed to smoke in their unit or within nine metres of any window or door.

The smoke-free policy came into effect January 1. Residents with standing leases prior to the implementation date are able to continue to smoke in their units.

"Within community housing we see some of our most vulnerable populations and some of our worst health outcomes, so it becomes important to protect residents in those buildings from environmental tobacco smoke," said Eric Nadalin, manager of chronic disease and injury prevention for the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit.

The health unit passed a resolution in January 2015 to implement actions of Smoke-Free Housing Ontario, a provincial initiative to get people to stop smoking.

The community housing corporation worked with the health unit to develop and define a smoke-free policy, which both parties thought would reflect the needs of the organization and the tenants.

"We have heard some positive feedback from residents who are happy to see that policy in place," said Nadalin.

Nadalin says administering this policy does come with some "challenges," just like a noise policy or pet policy would, but he says it's nothing enforcement hasn't seen before.

There are currently 12,000 low income residents living in 4,708 units across the city and county.

Five hundred people sit on the wait list. Prior to the policy change, notices went out to all of those people.

"While there are benefits on [community housing's] end, like return on investment, there are certainly benefits to residents and to the health of the community to have more smoke free places," Nadalin said.