Challenging the "Unwanted Guest" Initiative

We need to review the "Unwanted Guests" Initiative. Here's why.

WHEREAS the City of Regina is committed to be “Canada’s most vibrant, inclusive, attractive, sustainable community, where people live in harmony and thrive in opportunity”;

WHEREAS the City of Regina has committed to building a Community Wellbeing and Public Safety strategy as a means of addressing the root causes of crime;

WHEREAS the Trespass to Property Initiative (also known as the “Unwanted Guest” initiative) (in accordance with Section 3-1 of The Trespass to Property Act) was introduced in 2015 “to allow businesses to ban individuals who repeatedly cause problems on their property by being intoxicated, harassing customers, shoplifting, panhandling, etc.”

WHEREAS on June 28, 2010 Regina City Council considered item CR10-79 Regulation of Street Use and Panhandling and approved that the City not enact a panhandling regulation bylaw, but rather amend The Traffic Bylaw, Bylaw No. 9900 to define the word “solicit”, prohibit pedestrians entering onto the roadway to solicit donations or offer services (such as windshield cleaning) to passengers in vehicles stopped in traffic, prohibit the use of medians or other traffic control devices as a base of solicitation, and prescribe a fine for failing to comply;

WHEREAS the “Initiative” is a program advanced by the Regina Police Service based on a provincial statute;

WHEREAS since 2015 the Regina Police Service (RPS) has received over 800 “ban notifications” from businesses related to the “Initiative”;

WHEREAS 114 charges under the “Initiative” have been laid since 2016;

WHEREAS in 2018 one person was charged 23 times under the “Initiative”;

WHEREAS data related to race and economic status is not collected by the RPS in the enforcement of this “Initiative”;

BE IT RESOLVED that Administration conduct a review of the “Initiative”, in consultation with the Regina Downtown Business Improvement District Board (RDBID), Regina Anti-Poverty Ministry, Reconciliation Regina, and other community based organizations, and provide a report to Council by Q2 of 2021 that:

  1. Addresses the implications of the “Initiative” for poor and vulnerable populations in Regina
  2. Addresses the implications associated with collecting race-based data in the course of enforcing the “Initiative”;
  3. Recommends alternative mechanisms of responding to associated calls for service that are sensitive to the needs of marginalized populations that might be targeted by the “Initiative”;
  4. Provides Council with policy recommendations that it can then advance to the provincial government and the Regina Board of Police Commissioners.