CCLA Welcomes Announcement of Independent Review of Public Works Protection Act

September 23, 2010

CCLA Welcomes Announcement of Independent Review of Public Works Protection Act

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:
Penelope Chester
(416) 363-0321 ex. 225
pchester@ccla.org
www.ccla.org

Toronto, ON – September 23, 2010 – The CCLA welcomes the Ontario Government’s announcement that it has launched a review of the Public Works Protection Act (PWPA). The CCLA is further pleased that the government has appointed a well-respected senior lawyer and former jurist to lead this review. This choice sends a clear signal that the government is taking this matter seriously.

The CCLA has been calling for the repeal or significant amendment of the PWPA for several months. Since the G20 Summit was held in Toronto, serious questions have been raised about the powers the Act bestows upon police to stop and search members of the public and whether or not these powers are consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The CCLA has also expressed concern about the process through which a Regulation under the Act was adopted around the G20 Summit and the manner in which that Regulation was described to the public.

While the CCLA is pleased by the announcement of the PWPA review, it continues to believe that a broader public inquiry is needed to more fully probe what went wrong during the G20 Summit. There continues to be a need for answers regarding various aspects of government and police action during the Summit, including:

  • the dispersal of peaceful assemblies;
  • mass arrests of large groups of peaceful protesters, passer-bys, members of the media and human rights monitors;
  • the policing of lawful protesters rather than unlawful vandals;
  • the role of federal agencies, such as the RCMP and CSIS, in G20 security.

The CCLA has been urging the federal government to call a public inquiry to examine these issues and others that remain unaddressed in the wake of the G20 Summit. The public is entitled to information about what went wrong during the G20 Summit, throughout which more than 800 people were arrested without any subsequent charges being laid against them.

The CCLA continues to urge the federal government to call such an inquiry to promote greater accountability for what happened both before and during the G20 Summit. The CCLA’s General Counsel, Nathalie Des Rosiers, noted that, “the independent review of the Public Works Protection Act recently announced by the Ontario government is a welcome initiative. It does not, however, address the need for a more thorough public inquiry with a broader mandate to probe all aspects of police and government conduct during the G20 Summit. We continue to call on the federal government to initiate such an inquiry. This is an urgent matter of the utmost national importance.”

To date, the CCLA has not received a response from the federal government regarding its request for a public inquiry into the planning and policing of the G20 Summit.

For further information on this issue, please see CCLA’s reports on the G20: