Ontario’s superior court upholds Toronto’s hookah ban bylaw

Ontario’s Superior Court has upheld a decision by the city to ban hookah smoking in Toronto bars and cafes, but says it is nevertheless “unfortunate” that the bylaw prohibits hookah use altogether rather than regulating it.  In a decision issued Friday, Justice R. F. Goldstein, while sympathetic to their plight, said the bylaw is in fact legally valid and must be seen in the broader context of the city’s anti-smoking campaign. The Canadian Cancer Society applauded the decision.

The bylaw took effect April 1 amid widespread complaints by hookah-lounge owners that the ban was discriminatory. Lawyer Ryan Zigler, who represented four such owners, argued that the city didn’t have the power to ban hookah smoking, saying the bylaw was “confiscatory” because it effectively prohibited a lawful business and would cost workers jobs.

As a result of Friday’s decision, Toronto now joins a handful of other municipalities in the province that have banned water-pipe smoking.


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