Town Council reaffirms municipal policy on Workplace Fragrance Awareness Campaign

February 2, 2017   ·   0 Comments

Orangeville Council reaffirmed the Town’s  commitment to a nearly 15-year-old Workplace Fragrance Awareness Campaign on Monday.

In what must go down as one of the shortest regularly scheduled council meetings in recent memory, lasting slightly over 20 minutes, the four councillors in attendance (Deputy Mayor Warren Maycock and councillors Don Kidd, Sylvia Bradley and Gail Campbell) agreed that it was important for the municipality to both embrace and promote an initiative launched in July 2002.

While there is no official definition of what constitutes as scent or fragrance free provided in any municipal documents, the initiative was designed to deter local residents from wearing heavily scented products such as perfume, cologne, aftershave, body spray, hair and beauty items and hand and body lotions when visiting a municipal building. Chemicals used to make these fragrances can trigger serious health conditions such as asthma, lung irritation, headaches and other potentially serious allergic reactions.

Coun. Kidd has long championed the need for a permanent policy prohibiting the use of all fragrances and scented products in the workplace, having brought the issue before council in November of last year only to see a motion calling for scent-free Town facilities defeated. He was passionate in discussing the need for a bylaw that would potentially make all municipal buildings scent-free zones, stating it could be a matter of life and death for some people, himself included.

“This is a big, big problem for a lot of people,” Coun. Kidd said. “Everyone in our community should feel safe and comfortable whenever they’re visiting one of our awesome Town facilities. I’d like to see Council take action and protect those that suffer when they’re exposed to different scents and fragrances.”

But some councillors have contended that Coun. Kidd’s motion, which specifically mentioned different soaps, shampoos and deodorants alongside other heavily scented products he’d like to see prohibited, went a little too far.

Coun. Campbell felt the municipality didn’t have a right to tell the public what type of hygienic products they can and cannot use, while Coun. Bradley suggested she’d like to see a full report carried out by Town staff before supporting such a motion. In the end, the motion was defeated in a tie vote.

In November, Coun. Kidd maintained that he would not simply allow this issue to die and even threatened immediately following the vote to lodge a health and safety complaint with the Town’s Human Resources department.

He said Monday, “I was shocked the motion was turned down. I figured it was a simple vote. … I’ve had a lot of people ask me what the heck happened that night, how this motion didn’t come to pass. We had a paramedic in the audience on the night of the initial vote and he told me, in his opinion, the initial proposal didn’t go far enough.”

He added, “He told me that fragrances can have a lot of adverse effects on a person and, something I didn’t realize, is they can actually be fatal for some people. So clearly this isn’t a joke, it isn’t something we should be playing around with. It’s a serious matter that needs to be addressed.”

Council Monday voted unanimously to once again promote its Workplace Fragrance Awareness Campaign, with a variety of signs and posters expected to be put up in all municipal buildings in the near future. In addition, as per a request from Coun. Kidd, all municipal phone lines will promote the awareness campaign in its welcome message.

Readers Comments (0)

Please note: Comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.