Last night, Ottawa Community Housing’s (OCH) Board of Directors approved the organization’s No-Smoking Policy. On May 31, 2014, the organization will mark World No Tobacco Day by joining a growing number of housing providers who are adopting a no-smoking policy. The organization provides affordable housing to more than 32,000 residents. It is the largest affordable housing provider in Ottawa and the largest housing provider in Ontario implementing a no-smoking policy across its communities. The no-smoking policy will apply to all new residents and will prohibit smoking on OCH property.
Over the past two years, OCH conducted a comprehensive study and consultation program with tenants and partners that helped guide its course of action on the no-smoking policy in its buildings. Twenty-one per cent of OCH’s households responded to a smoking survey. It revealed that sixty-nine percent of the respondents supported a smoke-free living environment and seventy-eight per cent indicated that they do not smoke in their homes. OCH’s two newest communities, Crichton Street and Carson’s Road, were designated smoke-free, as a pilot.
Current tenants will be encouraged to voluntarily comply but will be ‘grandparented’ until they choose to move out of their current unit. New tenants will be required to sign a tenancy agreement that includes a no-smoking clause. The policy will not prevent smokers from living in OCH communities nor will it require smokers to quit although the organization will work closely with its partners to engage in successful strategies to assist smokers who wish to quit.
“The adverse effects of second-hand smoke are well known. We have received many complaints regarding second-hand smoke from tenants,” says Councillor Marianne Wilkinson, Chair of OCH. “We realize that it will take years to become fully smoke-free but we are pleased to advise our tenants that we are on our way to healthier living spaces.” In addition to the health benefits of a no-smoking policy, the organization hopes to reduce the risk of fires and expects it will cut the time and cost of renovating smoke damaged units upon turnover.
“We applaud Ottawa Community Housing for their work which will give many of their residents a healthier place to live,” said Dr. Isra Levy, Ottawa’s Medical Officer of Health at Ottawa Public Health. “We will continue to work with Ottawa Community Housing to support their implementation of the no-smoking policy, including offering cessation programs to people who want to quit smoking.”
OCH looks forward to working with its tenants and partners to provide safe and healthy homes.
Ottawa Community Housing Corporation is the largest social housing provider in Ottawa, and the second largest in Ontario. It provides almost 15,000 units to over 32,000, seniors, parents, children, singles and persons with special needs in more than 160 communities across the City.
For additional information please contact: Susan Therien
Manager, Corporate Communications