Federal inmates challenge smoking ban in Federal Court

In 2008, the Loi sur le système correctionnel et la mise en liberté sous condition, L.C. 1992, c. 20 was amended to prohibit smoking in federal prisons. Late last year, nineteen inmates serving lengthy sentences applied to the Federal Court of Canada challenging the validity and constitutionality of the law. They argued that such prohibitions are contrary to articles 7, 12 and 15 of the Charter because outright smoking bans without compromise leads to more aggressive behaviour, agitation as well as insomnia thereby depriving them of their rights to security of the person. These inmates are serving quite lengthy sentences, some even life sentences, and they therefore argue that such prohibitions constitute cruel and unusual punishment. 

Constitutional lawyer Julius Grey, who represented the inmates, suggested that an outright ban on smoking was wrong and that a compromise could have been enacted allowing inmates to smoke outdoors.