Council has acted to approve a Policy that defines what should be done about individuals on Municipal Property who have “unacceptable behaviour”. On Tuesday February 6, the Strategic Priorities and Policy Standing Committee reviewed a Policy written by staff – Keith Hearst and approved by Director Larmer and CAO Vaughan. “The purpose of the policy is to ensure an equitable and respectful environment in municipal facilities for staff and members of the public.” It was in response to “the increase in unacceptable behaviour at Town facilities and directed towards Town staff. There have been an increasing number of instances where Town staff are being harassed while doing their work, and upon entering and exiting municipal facilities.” Since all council members voted to approve it, it’s sure to be approved at the Regular Council Meeting on 28 February.
There are no examples given of this behaviour or where they occur but the most likely locations affected would be Victoria Hall and the Community Centre.
The Draft Policy provides a definition of unacceptable behaviour and specifies what can be done to counter it – primarily banning access to Municipal property but also limiting interactions with Town staff.
- Unpleasant, disrespectful, or demeaning comments made towards Town staff or other patrons.
- Treating other patrons, Town staff, or Members of Council in a threatening, intimidating, abusive, or violent manner.
- Engaging in a physical altercation with any other individual on Town property.
- Engaging in activities on Town property that are considered a crime under the Criminal Code of Canada
- Possessing a weapon or prohibited substance while on Town property.
- Engaging in sexual activity on Town property.
- Soliciting the sale of goods or services on Town property without permission.
- Violating other Town policies and Codes of Conduct that establish rules for expected behaviour at specific Town facilities and spaces.
- Non-peaceful protest that is disruptive to the common good administration of Town services including, but not limited to, disrupting, harassing, threatening, or intimidating other patrons or Town staff.
- Submitting inquiries or requests for service that are frivolous or vexatious in nature.
- Deliberately making false statements or submitting falsified documents when addressing a matter with the Town.
- Continually refusing to accept or acknowledge the decision of staff with respect to a matter under the Town’s jurisdiction.
- Knowingly violating the explicit or inferred privacy of other users, Town staff, Members of Council, or the conduct of a meeting that is properly closed to the public.
This is not an exhaustive list. Other activities and behaviours may be considered unacceptable at the discretion of the CAO or Division Directors.
Banning by the Town comes in 5 levels ranging from 7 days to a year.
Enforcement is primarily verbal and possibly by issuing a Notice of Trespass to Property. The Policy states that: “Should an individual refuse to cease unacceptable behavior or abide by any restrictions applied, CPS may be requested to assist where appropriate.”
The Policy includes a provision for appeal to a senior staff panel.
But there is an exception:
“Individuals that have been restricted from attending Town properties are permitted to attend public meetings, subject to the rules of participation for such public meetings and any conditions or restrictions assigned to the individual when attending Town property.”
This policy appears reasonable and no doubt all Staff will be briefed (trained) on how to apply it.