Man gets EI benefits after quitting smoky casino - Tuesday 12th of April 2005

An Orillia man has become the first person in Ontario to get employment insurance benefits after quitting a job because of second-hand smoke.

 

Robert Boshaw worked as a table games dealer at Casino Rama for six years.

 

Boshaw, 36, claimed that exposure to cigarette smoke at work gave him sinus and lung infections, pneumonia and asthma.

 

When he quit his job a month ago, Boshaw filed an Employment Insurance claim on the grounds that his workplace was hazardous to his health.

 

In his application, he cited the case of a Halifax casino worker who also quit over second-hand smoke and won benefits.

 

Boshaw says he hopes his case sets a precedent, and that smoking is ultimately banned from all workplaces in the province.

 

The Ontario government has introduced legislation that would ban smoking in all enclosed public spaces by May 2006.

 

That plan is opposed by the Ontario Restaurant Hotel and Motel Association, which wants the government to give its members until 2010 to phase out designated smoking rooms.

 

In the interim, says ORHMA spokesperson Terry Mundell, the government could set a limit on how much time workers have to spend in those rooms.

 

"We can protect the employees' health from that perspective and still maintain a sustainable industry," Mundell said.

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