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.