The Proposed Security for Courts, Electricity-Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, 2013

Backgrounder

The Proposed Security for Courts, Electricity-Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act, 2013

The proposed legislation is being re-introduced. The revised bill incorporates feedback received during committee hearings.

Court security

The Police Services Act will be amended to maintain existing security measures at court houses. It will ensure court security guards have the powers to maintain the safety and security of courthouses.

Security staff would have the powers to, where reasonable: 

  • Require any person entering or inside a courthouse to identify himself or herself and provide information for the purposes of assessing the security risk, if any, posed by the person.
  • Search, without a warrant, any person, property or vehicle entering or attempting to enter the premises where court proceedings are conducted or who is on such premises.
  • Search, without a warrant and using reasonable force if necessary, any person who is in custody where court proceedings are conducted or being transported to and from such premises, or any property in the custody of the person.
  • Refuse to allow a person to enter or demand that a person leave the premises where court proceedings are conducted, and use reasonable force if necessary to exclude or remove the person, if the person refuses to identify himself or herself, provide information, submit to a search or if there is any reason to believe the person poses a security risk.
  • Arrest anyone who attempts to enter without identifying himself or herself, providing information or submitting to a search where these have been required or after being denied access or being directed to leave and to use reasonable force to make an arrest.
  • Provide accommodation in accordance with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Human Rights Code, including accommodation on the basis of creed and disability.

It would also establish:

  • Offences for individuals entering or attempting to enter without identifying himself or herself, or submitting to a required search or after being denied entry, or for failing to leave immediately upon demand.
  • Penalties for the offences, such as fines up to $2,000, or imprisonment up to 60 days.
  • That nothing in the Act derogates from or replaces the power of a judge or judicial officer to control court proceedings and access the premises, and makes explicit the protection of privilege.

Electricity-generating and nuclear facilities

The new legislation would apply to prescribed nuclear and electricity-generating facilities, and would provide for the appointment of security personnel as peace officers. Peace officers may, where reasonable:

  • Require any person who wishes to enter a facility or is already on the premises to produce identification and provide information for the purposes of assessing the security risk, if any, posed by the person.
  • Search a person who wishes to enter premises where a restricted facility is located, or who is on such premises, as well as the person's vehicle or other property in the person's custody or care.
  • Refuse to allow a person to enter or bring property onto the premises where a restricted access facility is located and use reasonable force if necessary in order to prevent the person from doing so.
  • Demand that a person immediately leave or immediately remove property from premises where a restricted access facility is located, and using reasonable force if necessary to remove the person or the property.
  • Arrest a person with respect to the offences under the Act, without warrant and using reasonable force if necessary.

It will also establish:

  • Offences for entering or attempting to enter without producing identification, for not submitting to a search, for failing to immediately leave or remove property when demanded or for obstructing or interfering with a peace officer in the exercise of powers under the proposed legislation.
  • Penalties for the offences such as fine up to $2,000, or imprisonment up to 60 days.
  • A range of regulation-making powers, including the prescribing of facilities to which the Act will apply and governing the exercise of powers.

Issues related to the security in the area just outside a prescribed facility, would be addressed in partnership with local police.

 The Public Works Protection Act (PWPA)

The Public Works Protection Act (PWPA) was passed in 1939 in the context of the Second World War amid concerns about protecting the province's critical infrastructure from sabotage. Generally, the PWPA provides a broad definition of "public work" (including railways and other transportation infrastructure, public buildings, electricity generating facilities), and the ability to designate additional works as "public works."

The PWPA provides the legal foundation for enhanced security measures, particularly routine searches, at courthouses. The PWPA is also used by security personnel at nuclear and electricity-generating facilities.

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