The Smoke-Free Ontario Act and Schools: Cannabis, Tobacco and Vaping Use

The safety and well-being of students in Niagara Catholic schools is a priority for the Board of Trustees, Senior Staff, school administrators, teachers and all those who support them. The partnership between home and school is vital to the health, well-being and success of all students. We are committed to this partnership, to ensure all students reach their full potential and become living witnesses of Christ and discourage the use of cannabis, which is inconsistent with students reaching this goal.

Bill 36: Cannabis Statute Law Amendment Act 2018 came into effect at 12:01 a.m. October 17, 2018, legalizing the use of recreational marijuana for individuals who are 19 years of age or older. The Smoke Free Ontario Act, 2017 came into effect the same day. This Act governs the actions of all Niagara Catholic students, staff and members of the public, including parents, when on Board property.

Niagara Catholic’s Code of Conduct Policy prohibits students from using, possessing, or being under the influence of cannabis while at school or on Board property. This prohibition on the use or possession of alcohol or any drug not prescribed to the student extends beyond the school day to any school or Board event on school or Board property after regular school hours. Any student who is intoxicated, or found to be in possession of cannabis will be disciplined as described in the Code of Conduct Policy. Students of legal age who provide cannabis to a minor will face suspension or expulsion.

Niagara Region Public Health has useful information for students, parents and guardians about the effects of cannabis on youth. While Bill 36 decriminalizes the use of cannabis for individuals 19 years of age and older, it does not take into account the fact that brains develop until a person reaches the age of 25, or  research which shows that cannabis use can have a negative effect on a developing brain. The Ministry of Education website also has great resources for parents to access about cannabis use and youth, as does Drug Free Kids Canada. You can also read about how the Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 affects schools.

Information and links:

Niagara Catholic letter to families

Niagara Region Public Health information on the effect of cannabis use on youth

Ministry of Education Cannabis Resources for Parents

The Smoke-Free Ontario Act, 2017 – How the Act Affects Schools

Drug-Free Kids Canada (includes a link to download the Cannabis Talk Kit for Parents)