Task Force for Street Parties Enforcement and Policing Issues

The Enforcement and Policing Issues working group was not unanimous on its final recommendations. Some members put forward additional recommendations that are included here for full transparency. The Task Force as a whole did not endorse these additional recommendations as they present legal, jurisdictional and practical challenges for implementation. The work of the Task Force was to identify real, workable options for addressing the street party phenomenon. The additional recommendations included below are generally beyond the scope and/or capacity of the Task Force to implement.

  1. Queen’s and the AMS work together with the City and within the requirements of the legislation governing the consumption of alcohol and cannabis products to enact a by-law and other arrangements to create sanctioned lawful large gatherings on streets, playing fields, and other large venues within campus, and, provided there is no substantive objection from the residents living there, on Aberdeen Street and Earl Street adjacent to the ARC, with appropriate on site food and beverage, washroom, triage, first aid services, and security. This could include consideration being given to Aberdeen Street being converted permanently into a pedestrian only street with appropriate infrastructure to facilitate these on-site activities. (It should be noted that 20 years ago, Aberdeen Street and this section of Earl Street were still a mixed neighbourhood with owner-occupied and rental houses. The rise of large student parties has driven families and owner-occupied housing away. This must be prevented from expanding further to other streets and families encouraged to return to them.)
  2. Illegal and unsanctioned street parties are not acceptable. Greater action be taken to reduce and eliminate illegal street parties and related activities. The 2023 St. Patrick’s Day weekend was illustrative of the increasing illegal party activity as police were called to disperse first ever, large illegal street parties on Victoria Street. In addition to education-type measures, including improved communication and community policing, and the implementation of sanctioned events, City by-law officers and police would not turn a blind eye to illegal activities and would enforce the law. Queen’s would improve and enforce its Code of Conduct. Some suggested actions of this type are included in the some of the following recommendations.
  3. The Queen’s Code of Conduct be amended to expressly address off campus misconduct, including street parties, street sign theft and similar scavenger hunt activities, dangerous activities such as overloading roofs, porches and buildings, bottle throwing, and unlawful assemblies. There be clear communication of the potential result of a violation of the Code of Conduct, including suspension or expulsion with no tuition refund. Alleged violations be promptly and vigorously prosecuted.
  4. The City’s existing level of fines for by-law infractions be increased substantially. The current levels of fines are not having a deterrent effect. Levels of at least $2,000 instead of the current $500 and at least $10,000 instead of the current $2,000 be implemented.
  5. Court injunctions prohibiting specified types of street parties, house parties, and scavenger hunts, should form part of collection of possible measure to address anticipated illegal activities.
  6. The City builds upon its improved communications by its by-law officers and police, including the potential enforcement of the unlawful assembly, riot and other provisions of the Criminal Code to instigators (whether in person of by social media) in addition to provincial liquor law violations and any court injunctions.
  7. Methods of measuring the effectiveness of various recommendations and actions be formulated, data required collected and analyzed, and the results released each year. These shall include statistics for all fines, charges, and convictions. Names of all those convicted of a by-law offence or other breach of the law be released.
  8. The City and Queen’s, together with other affected municipalities and universities, lobby the provincial government for changes to the Residential Tenancies Act to expressly address party houses and the ability of a landlord to summarily evict tenants (and obtain damage payments from them) who host large gatherings resulting in convictions without having to go through lengthy procedures under the Residential Tenancies Act.
  9. The additional cost of community policing and any other policing and by-law enforcement and emergency services required by the above (over and above ordinary course budgeted community policing, by-law enforcement and emergency costs in the wider community) shall be paid for by Queen’s, the AMS, and those convicted. Sanctioned events could be used as a revenue source for this.