Scent Free Policy

Page header for the section on scent free policy


In support of the Society’s commitment to the provision of a healthy and safe environment for all employees, and to assume a leadership role in the promotion of workplace accommodation for employees with physical impairments, the Society will strive to provide an indoor air environment that reduces the risk of chemical hazards.  The Children’s Aid Society of Toronto will maintain a fragrance free policy, and wherever possible eliminate the use of certain building cleaning products and materials, where scent or other properties are known to cause health problems for staff.

The Society’s policy thereby minimizes exposure from scented products to clients, visitors, foster parents and volunteers who also have sensitivities or allergic reactions to chemicals in scented products.

Health problems caused by scents

Some people report mild irritation while others are "incapacitated" and/or must give up many 'normal' activities in order to avoid exposure (such as going to common areas).  Symptoms include headaches, migraines, dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, weakness, upper respiratory symptoms, asthma attacks and difficulty with concentration.


All employees of the Society shall not wear perfumed after shave lotions, perfumes or colognes while at work.  These products are the subject of immediate prohibition because their main function is to add scent to one’s own self. Employees are expected to be cognizant of any other scented personal products* worn at work, and wherever possible to substitute those products with unscented alternatives.

Each site shall display appropriate information and signage to encourage visitors, foster parents, volunteers, clients and employees to refrain from wearing scented products.

All employees have a responsibility to administer this policy.  In this regard, employees are expected to communicate CAST’s commitment to individuals who are using scented products; this should be done in a cordial and respectful manner.

All employees have a right to complain if another employee is not refraining from wearing the above prohibited scents.

Complaint Process:

The following process is to apply when an employee’s health is at risk due to others’ wearing of scented products.

An employee may proceed with any one or more of the following options. The options are not listed in any particular order.

OPTION A Ensuring Awareness

Ask the employee wearing the scent to stop. He or she may not realize that the added scent is detectable and having a detrimental effect on the employee(s).

OPTION B Report for Enforcement

Report the wearing of perfumed aftershave lotions, perfumes or colognes to one of the following:

  • His/her immediate supervisor;
  • His/her manager or director;
  • The Human Resources Manager, Wellness, Health & Safety;
  • Any violations of this policy will be handled through standard disciplinary procedures.

Request Medical Accommodation

*In addition to aftershaves, perfumes and colognes, scents are included in a very large range of products including scented hand cream, shampoo and conditioners, hairsprays, deodorants, lotions, soaps, cosmetics, air fresheners and deodorizers.

Where an employee finds that they have a medical condition that is exacerbated by products beyond the prohibited aftershave, perfume and cologne, please contact the Human Resources Department for further options under the Disability Accommodation and Return to Work policy. Decisions may need to be made on a case-by-case basis.

Application of Human Rights

CAST acknowledges that some individuals choose to practice the wearing of scented products with respect to their religious beliefs; however the agency’s responsibility to take every reasonable precaution for the protection of all workers by limiting use within the workplace must prevail in accordance with the Occupational Health & Safety Act.


Human Resources Manual policies

Discrimination and Harassment

Disability Accommodation and Return to Work

Date: March 9, 2011