Speaker Profiles

Michael Perley

Michael Perley


Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco

Michael Perley received his M.A. in French Language and literature from the University of Toronto in 1971.

Following his participation in successful campaigns to control the causes of acid rain in the United States and Canada in the 1980s, Michael Perley joined the Ontario Campaign for Action on Tobacco (OCAT) as Director in 1993. On behalf of the Ontario medical and public health communities, Mr. Perley led the Campaign’s efforts to help pass the 1994 Ontario Tobacco Control Act, which made tobacco sales to minors illegal and banned the sale of tobacco industry products in pharmacies and vending machines.

Following the Act’s passage, Mr. Perley led or worked with campaigns in support of smoke free workplace and public place bylaws and legislation in Ontario, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and Nova Scotia. During 2004-2005, the Ontario Campaign worked with the Ontario government to pass legislation mandating 100% smoke free workplaces and public places and a ban on retail displays of tobacco industry products province-wide. The Smoke-Free Ontario Act came into force on 31 May 2006.

Mr. Perley then helped lead a successful campaign to implement a ban on smoking in cars transporting children, implemented in January 2009, and worked to pass legislation enabling health care cost recovery litigation against the tobacco industry. Related litigation began in the fall of 2009.
His recent work has contributed to passage of the Supporting Smoke-Free Ontario By Reducing Contraband Tobacco Act, which received Royal Assent in June 2011, and to the 2015 Ontario Making Healthier Choices Act, which banned flavoured tobacco including menthol, and regulated the use and sale of e-cigarettes.

The Ontario Campaign's current objectives target expansion of the Smoke-Free Ontario Strategy to include further control of contraband tobacco products, tobacco tax increases, direct regulation of the tobacco industry and its retail partners, and protection from second-hand smoke in multi-unit dwellings.
In 2012, Mr. Perley was awarded the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal for his work on tobacco control. He has also received the Canadian Cancer Society’s 2015 National Impact Award for leadership in public policy.

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