Ottawa Bylaw issues $615 fines for tables, tents at PSAC picket lines

Bylaw Services officers have issued $615 tickets to striking federal workers for setting up tables and tents on city property during the ongoing Public Service Alliance of Canada strike, including to people serving hot dogs outside the Prime Minister’s Office.

Picket lines have been set up at several locations across the city, including at the Treasury Board office on Elgin Street and the Prime Minister’s Office on Wellington Street. During the strike, tents have been occasionally set up at picket locations, including at 90 Elgin Street.

Ottawa Bylaw and Regulatory Services Director Roger Chapman tells CTV News Ottawa officers have issued charges worth $615 each this week for “encumbering a highway (sidewalk)” in the area of Wellington and Elgin streets, where PSAC has set up a picket line.

A Canadian press photographer captured a Bylaw Services officer issuing a ticket to a PSAC member on Thursday, who was serving hog dogs to picketers outside the Prime Minister’s Office.

An Ottawa by-law officer issues a ticket to a Public Service Alliance member who was serving hot dogs to picketers outside the Prime Minister’s Office, Thursday, April 27, 2023 in Ottawa. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Bylaw Services received a complaint on Wednesday about a tent and table set up on the sidewalk near the corner of Wellington and Elgin streets, Chapman said Thursday afternoon. PSAC held a massive rally on Parliament Hill on Wednesday to back demands for a new contract in negotiations with the federal government.

“The Use and Care of Roads By-law prohibits individuals from encumbering the road, sidewalk or City Right-of-Way by any means to ensure safe passage,” Chapman said in a statement. Ottawa Bylaw says speakers, tents, tables and chairs are not permitted on city property “to ensure safe passage.”

Chapman says officers noted a table and tent were set up on City property on Wednesday and requested people remove the items, and provided people time to comply with the order.

“When the officers returned, the tent and table had not been removed,” Chapman said.

Chapman says tickets worth $615 each were issued on Wednesday for Encumbering a Highway (sidewalk) by any means and ‘Pile any material on a highway (sidewalk)’.

Chapman says officers issued additional charges for encumbering a highway on Thursday when officers returned to the area near Wellington and Elgin streets, “and noticed the tent and table had been set up once again.”

“Additionally, a verbal warning was issued for use of a speaker on city property,” Chapman said.

On Thursday afternoon, Bylaw Services officers were conducting enforcement action at Tunney’s Pasture.

“All enforcement action occurred as consequences for individuals not following direction from officers to remove the tent, tables and chairs from the sidewalk and continuing to pose an accessibility and safety risk to the public.”

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