- Page 2 -while at the same time re-iterating that those rights and freedoms are not absolute. Indeed, thefirst section of our
reminds us that individual action must always be alive to its effect onother members of the community: it states that limits can be placed on individual action as long
as they are “reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free anddemocratic society”.
Since October 15, 2011, the applicants
and other protesters (the “Protesters”)
, haveencamped overnight in St. James Park
(the “Park”) as part of the “Occupy Toronto” movement
which, as a branch of the Global Occupy Movement, has posed, in its own way and in manycities, the questions: How do we live together in a community? How do we share commonspace? In Toronto the expression of those questions has assumed a specific form
the creationof an encampment in the Park in downtown Toronto at which the Protesters express a variety of political views and from which they sally forth in periodic demonstrations to take their messagesto other parts of this city.
On the morning of November 15, the City of Toronto served many of the Protesters witha Notice under the
Trespass to Property Act
, R.S.O. 1990, c. T.21. That Trespass Notice statedthe Protesters were prohibited from engaging in the following activities in the Park and in anyother City of Toronto park:(i)
installing, erecting or maintaining a tent, shelter or other structure; and,(ii)
using, entering or gathering in the park between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.
The Trespass Notice went on to spell out what would happen if the Protesters did notcomply with it:The City of Toronto hereby directs you immediately to stop engaging in the activitieslisted above and to remove immediately any tent, shelter, structure, equipment and debrisfrom St. James Park. If you do not immediately remove any and all tents, shelters,structures, equipment and debris from St. James Park, such tents, shelters, structures,equipment and debris shall be removed from St. James Park by or on behalf of the City of Toronto. You are further ordered immediately to stop using, entering or gathering in St.James Park between the hours of 12:01 a.m. and 5:30 a.m.In other words, the City of Toronto has given the Protesters notice that if they do not dismantletheir tents and other structures and refrain from using the Park during the midnight hours, so tospeak, the City will take steps to see that they do.
The applicants commenced this application challenging the validity of that TrespassNotice. They contend that the Trespass Notice violates the proteste
rs’ rights under sections 2(a)
through (d) of the
Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
, that is to say, their rights of freedom of conscience, expression, peaceful assembly, and association.
This past Tuesday I granted an interim order (i) requiring the City and its agencies torefrain from enforcing the Trespass Notice, or taking any other steps to evict or remove theapplicants and other protesters from the Park until the release of these Reasons, and (ii)restraining the applicants and any other persons having notice of the order from installing,