Scent Free Policy

Policy No.:P-CS-17-003Approved on:December 11, 2017
By-Law No.:5023-17Effective on:December 11, 2017

Report To:Corporate Services Advisory Committee


The Corporation of the Town of Niagara-on-the-Lake ("Town"), has adopted this policy to address health concerns related to the use of synthetic fragrances. The Town is a scent-free environment and prohibits the use of synthetic fragrance at any time, as it may cause adverse physical effects that threaten the ongoing health and safety of our employees, residents, and visitors.


This policy applies to all Town employees, residents and visitors entering Town-owned buildings.


The Town supports an environment within all Town-owned buildings that are free from overt synthetic fragrances.


Synthetic fragrance: A synthetic fragrance is any chemical product that emits a distinctly noticeable scent strong enough to be perceived by others.


We understand that for some individuals with pre-existing conditions such as chemical sensitivities, asthma or allergies, exposure to some odours may cause a range of ill health effects. We also understand that in most cases, it is not the scent itself that is cause for concern, rather the chemicals derived from it. Some reported symptoms include headaches, dizziness, light-headedness, nausea, fatigue, weakness, insomnia, malaise, confusion, loss of appetite, depression, anxiety, numbness, upper respiratory symptoms, shortness of breath, difficulty with concentration, and skin irritation.

    1. Employees
    1.1 The Town will train and educate employees on the importance of this policy.
    1.2 If a Town employee reports to work wearing an overtly synthetic fragrance, they may be asked to make every reasonable attempt to remove the scent or fragrance.
    1.3 As similar to other policies, employees with scent sensitivities will advise their manager of their particular sensitivity to ensure that proper precautions and accommodations are made to reduce the likelihood of exposure.
    1.4 Whenever possible, the source of a synthetic fragrance used in the workplace will be removed. If the source cannot be removed, an affected employee may have to be accommodated.
    1.5 An employee who experiences a reaction from a synthetic product worn by another employee should attempt to resolve the issue by respectfully communicating their concern directly to the employee. If the problem cannot be resolved, employees may report the issue to their manager/supervisor.
    1.6 When a product cannot be removed, or an employee refuses to remove it, his/her manager/supervisor may follow up with the employee to advise on this policy.

    2. Visitors/Users
    2.1 When a Town employee becomes aware that a visitor/user is wearing an overtly synthetic fragrance while in a Town-owned building, the employee may approach the visitor/user and direct their attention to the Scent Free signs, posted at the entrance of all Town-owned buildings, and advise them of this policy.

    3. Non-Compliance
    3.1 If a Town employee and/or visitor/user is non-compliant with this policy, he or she may be reported to the manager/supervisor of the area and the manager/supervisor may speak to the individual and deal with the non-compliance in a cordial and respectful manner.
    3.2. Every effort must be made not to offend any parties involved while referring to this policy.

    4. Awareness
    4.1 All Town employees and visitors/users will be informed of this policy by way of "Scent Free" signs posted at the main entrances of all Town-owned buildings.
    4.3 This policy will be posted on the Town's website.
    4.4 The policy statement, as outlined above, will appear on all booking confirmations, gym application forms and within the Town's Community Guide.
    4.5 Town employees will work with individuals renting space within Town-owned buildings to ensure appropriate communication measures are taken to advise all those in attendance of this policy.

    5. Products
    5.1 Wherever practical and feasible in a Town building, synthetic fragrance-free products will be used, and in general, the purchase and use of such products will be preferred over scented substitutes. This will require a review of the SDS (Safety Data Sheet) for products currently being used and those intended for use as well as an examination of product samples.
    5.2. Cleaning, maintenance, renovations, etc. with which "atypical" odour is associated should be scheduled to occur at times of reduced occupancy, wherever possible and practical.

    6. Changes to the Policy
    6.1 This policy will be reviewed from time to time and can be altered as a result of experience or new knowledge.

    7. Disclaimer
    7.1 The Town will make every reasonable effort to ensure that this policy is adhered to as much as possible under the circumstances. However, concerns may still arise as the Town cannot monitor and police all members of the general public when entering Town buildings.