University District Safety Initiative
Historically, Kingston has struggled with recurring unsanctioned street parties that have drawn thousands of people to the University District. Unsafe and disruptive behaviours often accompany these parties and put the community at risk by putting a significant strain on emergency services and creating dangerous situations when roads and traffic are blocked. In an effort to curb these behaviours and their effects, the City of Kingston, Kingston Police and Queen's University have collaborated to introduce the University District Safety Initiative.
The pillars of this initiative include:
- changes to how people will be charged for committing specific offences at certain times of the year and for any contravention of the Nuisance Party Bylaw occurring at any time,
- information-sharing between the City, police and the university, and
- potential university-related non-academic consequences for any Queen's University student issued a summons through the initiative.
Those charged for committing an identified offence (see list in "What type of behaviour is the UDSI intended to address?" answer below) during Orientation week, Homecoming weekend and St. Patrick's Day – or for any offence under the Nuisance Party Bylaw – will now be issued a Part I Summons. This means those charged need to appear before a Justice of the Peace in Kingston, regardless of where they live, and will not have the option to settle the charge by mail, online or by phone. The goal is to ensure that people charged with an offence account for their actions in person.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are the Nuisance Party Bylaw and the University District Safety Initiative related?
The Bylaw and the Initiative have similarities and some overlap but are distinct enforcement tools. The regulatory purpose of a nuisance party bylaw is to create a duty upon those hosting a social gathering or party to control the participants' behaviour and be responsible for any actions as a result of that behaviour.
The pillars of the University District Safety Initiative are changes in how people are charged at certain times of the year (and under the Nuisance Party Bylaw year-round), potential university related non-academic consequences for any Queen's University student charged, and information sharing between the city, police and the university. The purpose of the program is to ensure all accused persons account for their actions to a Justice of the Peace and that Queen's also has an opportunity to review the behaviours of its students in these instances.
When does the University District Safety Initiative take effect?
The initiative begins on Thursday, Aug. 29, 2019. These are the dates the community can expect the initiative to be enforced:
- Orientation Week: Aug. 29, 2019 at 1 a.m. until Sept. 9, 2019 at 12 p.m.
- Homecoming Weekend: Oct.18, 2019 at 1 a.m. until Oct. 21, 2019 at 12 p.m.
- St. Patrick's Day Weekend: March 13, 2019 at 1 a.m. until March 18, 2019 at 12p.m.
- Nuisance Party Bylaw: from Aug. 29, 2019 onwards
The pilot program was re-evaluated in the spring of 2019. Kingston City Council adopted the initiative as a permanent program on July 9, 2019.
What are the boundaries of the University District?
Kingston Police and Bylaw Enforcement have the discretion to enforce the initiative city-wide. The name of the initiative identifies the neighbourhood that has historically been the site of the problematic gatherings targeted by the initiative.
What is the process once a Part I Summons is issued?
If you're issued a Part I Summons to appear in court, does that mean you will have a criminal record?
No. The identified offences, including any offence under the Nuisance Party Bylaw, are regulatory offences prosecuted in the Provincial Offences Court. Even if you are convicted of the offence, you will not have a criminal record.
What type of behaviour is the University District Safety Initiative intended to address?
Below is a list of offences that the initiative captures:
- Create, cause, host, sponsor, conduct, continue, permit a nuisance party, s. 4.2
- Fail to comply with order to cease or leave a nuisance party, s. 4.6
- Permit subsequent nuisance party after receipt of warning notice, s. 4.10
- Use closed highway, s. 5.3
- Remove or deface a device placed on closed highway, s. 5.4
- Obstruct or hinder an officer, employee or agent, s. 6.2
- Attempt to obstruct or hinder an officer, employee or agent, s. 6.2
- Person under 19 years having or consuming liquor, s. 30(8)
- Having liquor in open container or consuming liquor in other than licensed premises, residence or private place, s. 31(2)
- Being intoxicated in public place, s. 31(4)
- Make, cause, permit noise by operating a device for the amplification of sound at prohibited time, s. 4.2, Sch. B, s. 6
- Make, cause, permit noise by yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling, singing or the playing of musical instruments at prohibited time, s. 4.2, Sch. B, s. 15
Are additional behaviours now prohibited under this program?
No. The identified offences included in this program involve behaviours that are, and always have been, against the law. The Initiative attempts to identify and deter the problem behaviours exhibited frequently in the University District during these specific times of year (and year-round under the Nuisance Party Bylaw).
If I'm in the University District while the initiative is in effect, should I be worried about getting a summons to court?
No. If you are in the University District while the initiative is in effect, you can only be issued a summons if you are engaged in one of the behaviours outlined in the list of identified offences.
If you are engaged in a behaviour on the list of identified offences, a warning and/or summons may be issued and is subject to the discretion of municipal enforcement and police officers.
Is the University District Safety Initiative a permanent program?
The pilot program was re-evaluated in the spring of 2019. Kingston City council adopted the initiative as a permanent program on July 9, 2019.
How will Queen's proceed once student information is obtained concerning those who are issued a Part I Summons?
People who are issued a Part I Summons will have their names posted on a public court docket. This information will be shared with the university in order to identify those individuals who are Queen's students. Queen's students will be identified and assessed as appropriate through the university's student code of conduct system. The University will look at each person individually to determine what consequences are most appropriate, depending on the situation. For more information please visit the Queen's University Student Conduct page.