'Disorderly People" ARTICLE

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University of Toronto Scarborough
Joe Hermer

Disorderly PeopleMosher and Hermer2001news showed 13 people most of them squeegee workers had been convicted in Toronto under the Ontario Safe Streets Act th Lawyers defend it is unconstitutional providing police w powers of how 19 c vagrancy laws were used to punishimprison peopleThe Safe Streets Act is an aggressive example of antihomeless and panhandling legislationMany provinces in Canada have passed antibegging and antiloitering legislation in the form of municipal by laws o Poverty and civil rights activists criticized them for being unconstitutional in particular that is discriminates the poor and infringe National AntiPoverty Organizationo After a 5 year court battle w the National AntiPoverty Organization the City of Winnipeg agreed to repeal cancel its by law that banned begging in particular city locations o The City confirmed that begging itself posed no harm to people and recognized the full entitlement of the poor to use public space o The city of Vancouver passed an antibegging by law two years ago as part of a widespread civil improvement campaign to which the BC Public Interest Advocacy Center maintained that the bylaw is an unjustified infringement of freedom of expression Safe Streets Act came into effect year 2000 this was the first time a modern provincial government has enacted a provincial statue as opposed to a local municipal by law against begging conduct in public spaceUnlike most municipal by laws which tend to prohibit alms giving in the most general wy the Safe Streets Act is both extraordinarily detailed and at the same time vague and sweepingThe two main antibegging sections of the act prohibit soliciting in an aggressive manner and soliciting a captive audienceUnder the solicitation of captive audience prohibited provides that o No person shall o Solicit a person using waiting or departing from an automated teller machine o Solicit a person using waitingto use a pay telephone or public toilet faculty o Solicit a person using waiting at a taxi stand or a public transit stop o Solicit a person using waiting on a public transit vehicle o Solicit a person using waiting a vehicle or who is in a parking lot o Solicit while on roadway or Solicit a person who is in or on a stopped standing or parking vehicleSolicit defined in act to request in person the immediate provision of money or another thing of value regardless of whether consideration is offered or provided in return using the spoken written or printed word a gesture or other means o This definition leaves open the question of whether a visibly indigent person would be considered to be soliciting simply by being present o ie homeless ppl have no choice but to hang around in public spaces where they can potentially survive and carry out subsistence activities
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