Burlington steps up punishment for bad behaviour on City property

Published July 11, 2023 at 4:27 pm

Those who misbehave on City property can now face bans or other penalties.

Burlington councillors today (July 11) approved new guidelines that could see restrictions placed on those who are abusive or trespassing.

Specifically, those who would fall under the new policies could face restricted access to City services or be given a trespass notice that could ban them from City property for up to two years.

The move follows inconsistent policies that have been in place in Burlington over the years when dealing with people behaving badly.

Those in attendance at any City property or who interact with City staff or others by phone, email, or other forms of communication will fall under the new proposed rules.

The new policy defines misconduct as behaviour that is likely to cause or has caused, an unjustified disruption or distress to staff, volunteers, members of council, or members of the public. Examples of misconduct would include using hostile, abusive or offensive language, causing property damage, or engaging in or inciting violence.

Those who break the could face limiting an individual’s contact with staff to regulating or restricting the individual’s use of City facilities, services or programs.

As well, a trespass notice could be issued to an individual stating that, as a result of their conduct, not only can they not attend on all or some City properties, but if they do so, they will be trespassing and could be subject to charges under the Trespass to Property Act. This would be the most severe form of restriction that the City would impose.

Authorized City personnel would be able to issue a trespass notice for up to seven days in a quick response to a situation, but longer trespass notices of up to two years may be issued.

In a report prepared for council it points out that “while the City can rely upon its rights as a property owner to prohibit access to its property or to regulate behaviour on its property, the courts and ombudsman have found that doing so in the absence of clear policies or by-laws increases the risk of arbitrary or unfair action.”

 

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