OPP – Know Before You Go: Demonstration Activity

In Police Blotter

Ensure Demonstrations Remain Lawful, Peaceful and Safe

The Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) is reminding the public of the importance of lawful, peaceful and safe demonstrations.

The OPP respects the rights of individuals to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Everyone also has a right to a safe environment and uninhibited passage within the province of Ontario.

The OPP wou ld like to remind the public of the following:

  1. Right to Peaceful Assembly: We respect the right of citizens to express their views and participate in peaceful demonstrations. This right must be exercised within the confines of the law.
  2. Blocking Roadways: While demonstrations are an essential part of democratic discourse, blocking roadways is illegal and poses significant risks to public safety. It disrupts the flow of traffic, passage of emergency services, and the use of essential transportation routes.
  3. Safety Concerns: Blocking roadways can lead to accidents, delays, and hinder access for emergency vehicles. This jeopardizes the safety of both demonstrators and other road users.
  4. Legal Implications: Obstructing roadways without proper authorization is illegal. Demonstrators who intentionally block roads may face legal consequences, such as:
  5. Under Section 132(1) of t he Highway Traffic Act, it is illegal to drive on a highway at such a slow rate of speed to impede or block the normal and reasonable movement of traffic.
  6. Under Section 430 of the Criminal Code, it is illegal to obstruct, interrupt or interfere with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property. This is known legally as a charge of Mischief and can apply to anyone obstructing others from using public roadways.
  7. Alternative Methods: We encourage demonstrators to explore alternative methods of demonstration that do not impede traffic. Designated demonstration areas are more suitable for expressing your views.
  8. Police Response: Our officers will monitor demonstrations and ensure public safety. If roadways are blocked, we w ill take necessary measures to restore traffic flow promptly.

 The OPP is requesting public cooperation:

  • Motorists: Please exercise patience and follow police directions during demonstrations. Avoid confrontations and prioritize safety.
  • Demonstrators: Respect the rights of others and choose demonstration locations that do not disrupt traffic. Your message can be heard without endangering lives.

We appreciate the cooperation of all residents in maintaining a lawful, peaceful and safe environment for all. Let’s us work together to strike a balance between freedom of expression and public safety.

To learn more about how to participate in lawful demonstrations, visit opp.ca/demonstrator-rights.

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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