Former Chief Justice To Review Public Works Protection Act
McGuinty Government Seeks Recommendations On Updating Legislation
Ontario has launched an independent review of the Public Works Protection Act (PWPA) that will be led by the Honourable R. Roy McMurtry, a former Ontario chief justice.
The review will take into account the historical context of the act, including how it has been used in the past for the purpose of protecting public institutions.
Key areas that will be considered in the review include:
- Requirements for public notice of regulations made under the act.
- The application of the act to large-scale events such as national or international conferences, major sporting events and public demonstrations
- The definition of a public work under the legislation
- The scope of authority given to police to protect a public work.
McMurtry will consult with members of the legal profession, police organizations, civil liberties groups, officials from other jurisdictions and other key partners. He will also consider recommendations from the Ombudsman's review of the act, along with relevant findings from any other reviews currently underway before presenting his report and recommendations to the government in the Spring of 2011.
- The PWPA was enacted in September 1939 following the outbreak of World War II.
- The act empowers appointed guards and police to protect installations such as bridges, railways, courthouses, electrical generating facilities and municipal public works.
- The act also allows any other place to be designated a "public work" by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.
“This legislation dates back to the Second World War. We need to make sure our laws reflect the security concerns and values of our society today. That includes maintaining both public order and freedom of expression.”
“I welcome this opportunity to review the Public Works Protection Act. Work on the review will commence immediately, and I expect to report my findings and recommendations to the government in the spring.”