Amended by-laws allow for stricter enforcement of unsanctioned gatherings
A joint statement from the City of Kingston, Kingston Police, and KFL&A Pulic Health regarding the enforcement of local public gathering restrictions was released on Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020.
“COVID-19 rates remain low in KFL&A, and all members of the community must stay vigilant in the collective fight against this disease,” the statement read. “The community’s ability to contain disease spread depends on our commitment to following Public Health’s requirements and guidance.”
As fall approaches, residents are encouraged to protect and respect each other by avoiding large gatherings. Reports of surges of positive COVID-19 cases among young adults across Canada associated with social activities such as parties and other large social gatherings can serve as a learning opportunity for our community, and should spur residents of take necessary precautions, the statement suggested.
Due to the nature of their social interactions, young adults, aged 20-29, have been reported as having the highest incidence of COVID-19 across Canada. According to the statement, they may unknowingly transmit the virus to people in the community, including older family members and people at high risk of serious illness. Observing social gathering restrictions will be essential in preventing further spread of COVID-19 in the community.
According to the joint statement, KFL&A enforcement partners are asking residents not to attend unauthorized indoor and outdoor social gatherings. A stronger approach to enforcing these parties or social gatherings will be in place this fall.
If Kingston Police, City of Kingston Municipal Enforcement Officers, and KFL&A Public Health officials encounter a nuisance party or social gathering of more than 50 people indoors or 100 people outdoors, partygoers can expect immediate enforcement under the pertinent legislation. This will apply to unsanctioned gatherings across the City.
A report was presented to City Council at their meeting held Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2020, wherein the recommendation was made to address the use of Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) for the enforcement of the Nuisance Party and Noise By-Laws.
“Staff are recommending that Council designate the Nuisance Party By-Law and the Noise ByLaw as by-laws for which Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) can be issued,” read the report. “While enforcement officers would still have discretion to commence proceedings under the Provincial Offences Act for a contravention of a City by-law, AMPs will give Kingston Police and City of Kingston By-Law Enforcement an additional tool to respond to these nuisance behaviours efficiently and effectively, and without involving the Provincial Offences Court system.”
The full report can be found here.
City Council unanimously passed the related bylaws at that meeting. The bylaws (edited) include:
- By-Law Number 2020-069, “A By-Law to Establish a Process for Administrative Penalties,” to designate By-Law Number 2018-53 “A By-Law to Regulate Nuisance Parties within the City of Kingston” and By-Law Number 2004-52 “A By-Law to Regulate Noise” as By-Laws for which Administrative Penalties can be issued
- A By-Law to Amend By-Law Number 2004-52 “A By-Law to Regulate Noise,” to permit enforcement of the Noise By-Law through the use of Administrative Penalties
- A By-Law to Amend By-Law Number 2018-53 “A By-Law to Regulate Nuisance Parties within the City of Kingston,” to permit enforcement of the Nuisance Party By-Law through the use of Administrative Penalties,
- A By-Law to Amend By-Law Number 2005-10 “A By-Law to Establish Fees and Charges to be Collected by the Corporation of the City of Kingston,” as amended, be further amended to include administrative fees associated with the AMP system
The full meeting agenda can be found here.
Further details on the Nuisance Party and Noise bylaws, and the Administrative Monetary Penalties (AMPs) were outlined in our previous coverage: Nuisance Party and Noise Bylaws changed to address risky gatherings
The joint statement also said that officers will be using their authority under the Nuisance Party Bylaw and the Reopening Ontario Act 2020 to enforce these measures, with minimum penalties or fines ranging from $500 to $1,130, and increasing to mandatory court attendance with maximum individual fines of up to $100,000. Any person refusing to identify themselves, if found committing an offense, or failing to leave in these situations when directed to do so, can face further charges.
Enforcement of gatherings posing an immediate risk to the community will be immediate, but enforcement partners will continue to work with the community, including post-secondary institutions, to ensure that questions about the relevant legislation are addressed. Residents with questions can contact:
• Kingston Police non-emergency contact: 613-549-4660
• City of Kingston Bylaw Enforcement. 613-546-4291 ext. 3135
• KFL&A Public Health