Heather Crowe Congratulates Manitobans For Smoke-Free Legislation
(Winnipeg - March 2, 2004) – Heather Crowe, an Ottawa waitress suffering from lung cancer caused from exposure to second-hand smoke, today congratulated the Manitoba government for introducing the first law providing comprehensive protection for workers from second-hand smoke.
“I am delighted that the Manitoba government has delivered on its Throne Speech promise to protect workers from second-hand smoke, and that they have given such priority to this important issue,” she said.
“Since my first visit here 14 months ago, both municipal and provincial governments have worked steadily to transform Manitoba into one of the world’s healthiest places for hospitality workers.”
Heather Crowe has been campaigning for better laws to protect workers from cigarette smoke since she was diagnosed, in the summer of 2002, with inoperable lung cancer resulting from working for many years in smoke-filled bars and restaurants. Heather’s claim with the Ontario Workers Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) for 'worker's compensation' was accepted in October 2002.
Her first visit to Winnipeg to promote smoke-free workplaces was in January 2003, when she met with the Mayor of Winnipeg and with the then Minister of Labour. At that time, smoking was permitted in all bars and adult venues in Manitoba.
“Two years, Manitoba hospitality workers had almost no protection from second-hand smoke. Today, workers in Brandon and Winnipeg are protected. By next fall, all Manitoba workers should be protected,” said Heather. “I wish governments in other jurisdictions were as responsive and as responsible as those in Manitoba.”
“I know this law was introduced today because of the leadership and commitment of politicians from every party,” said Heather. “I am particularly grateful to the members of the all-party task force which worked so hard to hear from the public, and to the many, many individual Manitobans and Manitoban agencies who showed their support for improving the law.”
Heather cautioned Manitobans that they should be vigilant against the efforts of those who want to undermine this initiative. “The British Columbia Workers Compensation Board regulations which protected workers were overturned twice – once, temporarily, by a court order to hold more hearings and the second time, permanently, by a newly-elected government which did not agree with the regulation.”
The only other Canadian jurisdictions to have passed measures as strong as those introduced today in Manitoba are Nunavut and Northwest Territories, whose Workers Compensation Board regulations banning smoking in all workplaces come into effect on May 1 this year.