Proposed Ottawa Special Events By-law: CCLA Weighs In

CCLA has written to a Committee of Ottawa City Councillors considering a new special events bylaw.  The bylaw requires that individuals and groups wishing to have special events seek a permit from the City.  For large events of 300 people or more, a permit is required even when the event will take place on private property.  The CCLA is concerned about the impact that the requirements contained in the bylaw may have on expressive freedoms and the freedom to peacefully assemble.  The bylaw may have a particularly harsh impact on spontaneous demonstrations since, in most cases, the bylaw requires organizers to seek a permit at least 90 days in advance of the event.  The permit holder is also responsible for obtaining significant insurance coverage, paying for medical services, paid-duty officers, and a variety of other services at their own expense.  Policies and bylaws that require individuals to pay to exercise their fundamental rights have the effect of chilling expression and may discourage individuals from speaking out on matters of public importance.

Read the CCLA’s letter to the City of Ottawa here.