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Canada’s scent-free spaces

As a prospective newcomer to Canada you may not be aware that a growing number of workplaces, schools, hospitals, places of worship and other public spaces have adopted scent-free policies. It is not uncommon to see “No scent, please” signs in libraries, doctors’ and dentists’ offices, in theatres and other public places.

Perfumes, colognes, aftershave and air fresheners, as well as other strongly scented personal care products have been reported to trigger symptoms such as respiratory problems, skin irritation, headaches, nausea, seizures and muscle pain in people with environmental sensitivities.

Canadian Human Rights legislation requires that people with diagnosed environmental sensitivities must be accommodated in their workplaces. Consequently, scent-free workplace policies have been implemented to minimise allergic reactions to scented products.

For newcomers to Canada, I recommend you do not wear perfume, cologne or aftershave when going out to public places, attending interviews, or starting work at a new job.

If you wear scents on other occasions, a good rule of thumb is that your fragrance should be somewhat private. It should stay within your personal “scent circle” and should not be detectable at more than an arm’s length from your body.

Your consideration of the sensitive people around you will be greatly appreciated.

2 Responses to “Canada’s scent-free spaces”

  1. Kay McMahon

    It’s a pity that this had to be legislated for. If only people would be a bit considerate of others, there wouldn’t be any need for legislation like this.

    Some people seem to drench themselves in what Thelma described as “strongly scented personal care products”. I wouldn’t call myself overly sensitive but even I have wanted to run a mile at the pong of some people.

    When we lived on a compound in Delhi, the compound club had an outdoor bar a couple of hundred yards away from our house. I could open the back door of our house, sniff, and know whether a certain person was at the outdoor bar or not. Urk! The stink would just about knock you out.

    I like to use some scented personal care products, and I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment – keep them personal!

  2. Buddyboy

    Scent is a leftover habit from days when people used it instead of washing. Most people are now clean enough that body odours no longer cause offense. For the few remaining people, legislation is needed, sadly.

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