Use of the Assembly grounds policy

Legislative precinct grounds

The grounds of the Legislative Building are bounded in the north by Wellesley Street West and in the south, east, and west by Queen’s Park Crescent East and Queen’s Park Crescent West. All references in this document to activities that are permitted, restricted, and prohibited within the legislative precinct refer to activities taking place outside on the legislative precinct grounds.  

The following policy outlines the rules for use of the legislative precinct grounds. The Legislative Assembly of Ontario (LAO) permits various activities on the legislative precinct grounds (such as demonstrations, protests, rallies, and vigils). Signs, displays, speeches, or activities that contain or promote obscenity, hate propaganda, or symbols associated with a terrorist organization are strictly prohibited.

Any action that violates this policy, a provincial or federal statute, or a municipal by-law may result in the immediate termination and/or cancellation of the activity, prohibition from future use of the grounds, and/or legal action. The use of the legislative precinct grounds is not exclusive to any group or organization. Activities/events must remain in designated areas as directed by the Legislative Protective Service (LPS) and are strictly prohibited from impeding access to the grounds or the Legislative Building.

Activities on the legislative precinct grounds

Definitions

The following describes the types of activities that take place on the legislative precinct grounds and provides some context for how the LAO manages these events.

Demonstration: When a person or group gathers to publicly express their views on a particular issue (may also be referred to as a protest or rally when held on the grounds and a political viewpoint is expressed).

Event: A public gathering designed to celebrate, honour, educate, or observe something or someone (e.g., cultural events, ceremonies).

Memorial: A commemorative event organized for people who share a common loss.  A statue or structure may serve as the focus of the ceremony (e.g., Remembrance Day). 

Protest: A public expression of disapproval or objection to an idea or action (may be considered a demonstration when held on the grounds).

Rally: A large public meeting or gathering to show support or solidarity for a political issue or party (may be considered a demonstration when held on the grounds).

Vigil: An outdoor assembly, usually taking place after dark, which is organized for people and communities to come together and show support for a specific cause or occasion. Vigils offer an opportunity for prayer, observance, and spirituality (e.g., they are sometimes held as a way to memorialize and honour someone’s life and/or bring attention to issues such as social injustices. Vigils are seen as a non-violent way to demonstrate in order to raise awareness of a cause and motivate change).

Overview

The LAO is a seat of democracy where citizens can express their views. We can help these citizens host safe and lawful events. 

The legislative precinct grounds are frequently used by the public for a range of activities. To assist you with successfully planning your event, an application should be submitted ten business days before your event. On-site preparatory meetings are required for all events, demonstrations, rallies, protests, etc. Please note that short notice events may still be given consideration and are subject to availability. 

Unscheduled or impromptu activities must yield to groups or organizations who have a scheduled event. 

Persons involved in a demonstration on the grounds cannot enter the Legislative Building on the day of their event.

The display of signs, banners, buttons, clothing with partisan/political messages or obscenities, props, or other materials related to a demonstration is prohibited inside the public spaces of the legislative building. Some materials may be permitted in the media studio. 

Demonstration materials (including audiovisual materials) that display or promote obscenities, hatred, or are otherwise deemed inappropriate by the Speaker are prohibited on the legislative precinct grounds.  

Individuals or groups taking part in a public demonstration, protest, or rally may request that a member of the LPS provide contact information for a caucus office or MPP to facilitate scheduling of a meeting or the delivery of a petition, where possible. 

All individuals or groups using the legislative precinct grounds must: 

  • act in an orderly, lawful manner so as not to disrupt the proceedings and business of the Legislature or disturb those working at or visiting the Legislative Building/precinct 
  • follow written or verbal directions from authorized officials (including, but not limited to, the Speaker, Clerk, Deputy Clerk, Sergeant-at-Arms, or members of the LPS, or their designate) 
  • be responsible for cleaning up the grounds at the conclusion of the event

Event organizers must be at least 18 years of age, or have an adult sponsor. Organizers are advised that under unusual circumstances and/or emergencies, scheduled events may be rescheduled, delayed, or asked to relocate to another part of the legislative precinct grounds. 

The LAO reserves the right to terminate any activity, authorized or otherwise, which violates any of the policies herein or which impedes or interferes with the function of Parliament and the business of the LAO. In the event that an activity is terminated, the LPS will provide a reason for the termination of the activity to the event organizer where feasible and where an event organizer has been identified.

In consideration of public safety, the LPS works closely with its community partners and organizers to promote safe, lawful activity within the legislative precinct grounds.

Guidelines

Access

Events/activities cannot impede the business of the Legislative Assembly, access to the Legislative Building or hinder the passage of pedestrians and/or emergency vehicles.

Admission/Fees

Admission fees are strictly prohibited.

The sale of items or services, or the solicitation of donations for any purpose is prohibited.

Advertising

Commercial advertising or displaying promotional material are prohibited.

Alcohol

The sale, service, or consumption of alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited.

Animals/Livestock

Animals (other than service animals) that are prohibited under Chapter 349 of the City of Toronto Municipal Code are restricted from being on the legislative precinct grounds and are only allowed with prior written authorization.

Balloons

Balloons are strictly prohibited.

Barbecues

The use of barbecues is restricted.

Buses

Independent tour operators are not permitted to bring their bus groups on a tour of the Legislative Building without a reservation. Operators must have a booking confirmation prior to entering the legislative precinct grounds. Patrons on private tours who walk onto the grounds from an off site drop-off location are permitted to tour the grounds without a prior booking.  Bus access to the grounds may be restricted at the discretion of the LAO.

Camping

No one shall reside, camp, or sleep on the legislative precinct grounds.

Candles

Candles are strictly prohibited. Battery-operated illuminating devices are acceptable.

Damages

Defacing or damaging the Legislative Building, the legislative grounds, and/ or its contents (either temporarily or permanently) is prohibited and illegal. In the event of damage, the cost of repair, replacement, or cleaning (including the removal of excessive garbage) is the responsibility of the event organizer using the grounds or the individual who caused the damage. Persons responsible may be subject to prosecution.

Drones

The use of drones (including those with exemptions from Transport Canada) within the legislative precinct is restricted. The use of drones on the property when Parliament is sitting is prohibited. 

 

See the drone application.

Elections/Campaigning

Election campaigning is not permitted within the legislative precinct. Campaign buses accessing the legislative precinct grounds for the purposes of pick-up/drop-off must remain in an area designated by the LAO and may stay on the grounds for no more than 30 minutes at a time.

Equipment

A sound system may be made available to organizers of approved scheduled events that take place during regular business hours. Groups may set up their own sound equipment, provided the volume is not deemed excessive and does not interfere with an authorized event or the proceedings of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario.  Access to power is dependent on weather conditions and is at the discretion of the LAO.

Filming

Filming for commercial or partisan purposes is restricted. For approval contact 416-325-7500.

Fire/Fireworks

Fires, fireworks, fuel, and other incendiary devices are restricted.

Fixtures

Affixing, hanging, or attaching any item to the Legislative Building, legislative precinct grounds, walkways, pillars, statues, monuments, barricades, trees or other permanent structures or piercing the grounds is strictly prohibited. In addition, prior authorization is required to erect or construct any temporary structure, material or object.

Flags

Flags affiliated with a known terrorist entity (as per the Public Safety Canada Listed Terrorist Entities) are prohibited.

Food/Beverages

The sale or commercial service of food/beverages is strictly prohibited. Any food/beverages distributed free as part of an event must be available to anyone visiting the legislative precinct grounds.

Generators

The use of generators must have prior written approval. Any generators to be used must be fuelled offsite and no fuel canisters are permitted on the legislative precinct grounds.

Insurance

A certificate of General Liability Insurance is required when erecting structures over 8 inches in height, staging, platforms and/or bleachers. Insurance, including automobile liability insurance where applicable, may also be required for other events or demonstrations as indicated by the LAO, depending on the nature/size of the event, event activities and/or type of structures used related to the event (if applicable). See Appendix A for full insurance guidelines

Marshals*

Marshals are recommended for all demonstrations on the legislative precinct grounds. The number of marshals may vary depending on the size of the event. All marshals must be clearly identifiable.

Memorials  

Upon conclusion of a memorial, all commemorative items (e.g., wreaths) may be permitted to remain for up to a 24-hour period provided the items do not pose a safety risk. Nothing may be affixed to Assembly property. In situations where the organizer wishes items to remain there longer than 24 hours, prior written approval is required. The LAO (PPPR and the Speaker) will determine the disposition of any items that remain. For information, contact Investigative/Liaison Unit of the LPS at 416-325-2900.

Outside Agencies

Any outside agencies (including first aid and/or emergency medical services) that are attending the legislative precinct grounds in conjunction with a demonstration or special event should attend a planning meeting with the LPS to discuss and coordinate logistics.

Photography

Photos on the grounds are permitted provided they are for non-partisan and non-commercial purposes, and they do not interfere with the business of the Assembly. Photography on exterior stairways is restricted and requires prior approval. For approval, contact 416-325-7500.

Parking/Vehicles

Public parking is not available on the legislative precinct grounds. Deliveries may be arranged via temporary parking privileges. However, all vehicles must be removed promptly after loading and/or unloading. 

 

All unauthorized vehicles will be tagged and towed at the owner's expense. No vehicles are allowed on the legislative precinct lawn without prior written authorization. 

 

Limited wheelchair-accessible parking is available in the northeast parking lot and in the south drive. The spots are available on a first-come, first-served basis for visitors with accessible parking permits.

Any vehicle granted access to the grounds might be subject to a search.

Petitions

Petitions and/or correspondence may be delivered to the mailroom receiving area located via the northeast parking lot by the event organizer or a designate. 

 

Purchasing & Operations will scan any petitions before delivery to the corresponding Member’s office. Only petitions that have a completed mailing and return address will be accepted. Demonstrators are encouraged to seek the guidance of an MPP to have their petition formally presented in the Chamber.

Props

The use of any props or other items that pierce/damage the legislative precinct grounds is prohibited. Props brought onto the grounds as part of a demonstration may not be used to cause injury or harm. 

 

Those who have booked it for a press conference may allow props in the media studio but all props/demonstration materials must be covered in common areas of the Legislative Building. (See also: Signs/Speeches/Symbols)

Sales/Donations

The sale of any items or services, or the solicitation of donations for any purpose is strictly prohibited unless authorized by the Speaker.

Security

Security, crowd control, and extra policing are the responsibility of the LPS. The Legislative Assembly is not responsible for any damage to displays or equipment left on the legislative precinct grounds prior to, during, or after any event. The LPS may be able to provide extra security for events, displays, or equipment on a paid duty basis. External/private security cannot be used for events within the legislative precinct grounds.

Signs/Speeches/Symbols

Signs, speeches, or symbols (including props) that contain obscenities, hate propaganda, graphic language/imagery, or are otherwise deemed inappropriate by the Speaker are strictly prohibited. Consideration must be shown for others on the premises, including school children.

Sound Equipment (includes but is not limited to music, bull horns, sirens, microphones speakers)

Any device that projects sound is permitted, as long the sound does not interfere with any parliamentary process, promote hatred, and is not obscene.

Structures/Canopies

Canopies/marquees with at least 4 feet of clearance off the ground are permitted with prior approval. They must be weighed down and cannot pose a public safety concern. Any temporary structures or props used are subject to review and may be prohibited for public safety reasons.

Vigils

Upon conclusion, items may be permitted to remain for up to a 24-hour period, provided the items do not pose a safety risk or interfere with the normal use of the property. Nothing may be affixed to the to Assembly property. In situations where the organizer wishes items to remain there longer than 24 hours, prior written approval is required. The LAO (the Speaker) will determine the duration and disposition of any items that remain. For information, contact Investigative Liaison Office at 416-325-2900.

Washrooms

Subject to approval, portable washrooms are permitted in designated areas. The LAO must approve providers of portable washrooms. Portable washrooms may not be left on the legislative precinct grounds overnight without prior authorization. Costs for the removal of washrooms not collected after an event will be billed to the event organizer. General public washroom access inside the Legislative Building/precinct is not available.

Appendix A: Insurance requirements and guidelines for demonstrations and special events on the legislative precinct grounds

Before structures (e.g., staging, platforms, bleachers) and automobiles are placed on the legislative precinct grounds, organizers are required to provide a certificate of comprehensive general liability insurance and a certificate of automobile liability insurance that comply with the following:

  1. The certificate(s) must:
    • be issued by an insurance company licensed in Ontario,
    • cover any person, group and organization – and any agent, contractor and subcontractor of such person, group and organization – using or occupying the legislative precinct grounds,
    • cover the entire period in which the legislative precinct grounds is used or occupied,
    • provide that coverage will not be cancelled or materially altered before the end of such use or occupancy, and 
    • be in a form that is satisfactory to the LAO.
  2. Comprehensive general liability insurance must:
    • comply with all requirements in 1 above,
    • have a minimum limit of liability of two million dollars ($2,000,000) for bodily injury and/or property damage in any one occurrence,
    • name as additional insureds the LAO, its MPPs, the Office of the Assembly, and the officers and employees of such persons, and
    • have a cross-liability clause.
  3. Automobile liability insurance must:
    • comply with all requirements in 1 above, and
    • provide third party liability insurance with a minimum limit of two million dollars ($2,000,000).
    • Additionally, the LAO may require an insurance certificate for an event not involving structures or automobiles. 

Appendix B: Drone application

Drone flights are prohibited on the grounds when the House is in session.

Drone application