The B.C. Supreme Court has declared part of the controversial Workers’ Compensation Board smoking regulation null and void on the application of the B.C. Liquor Licencees & Retailers Association representing the hospitality sector. The regulation had prohibited environmental tobacco smoke in any workplace effective January 1, 2000. The WCB had undertaken extensive public consultation prior to enactment of the regulation. However, draft regulations made available during this process exempted “areas in public entertainment facilities and long term residential facilites that are used by the public if the exposure of workers to environmental tobacco smoke is minimized by the use of all reasonable and practicable controls, including administrative and engineering controls.” As a result of the consultation process, the regulations as enacted contained a sunset clause removing the exemption effective January 1, 2000. The court held that this change was sufficiently significant that the employers in the hospitality industry that were affected by this regulation were entitled to and did not receive proper notice or a public hearing as required by the Workers Compensation Act. The sunset clause therefore was null and void and the exemption is restored.
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