City Council has directed staff to not process or approve any pending or future requests for the flying of flags or banners on City property. Therefore, the City will not be accepting new applications or issuing new or pending approvals. Applicants who received written approval prior to this new Council direction will be permitted to hang their banner or fly their flag in accordance with the applicable approval.
The City is undertaking a review of its policies and procedures in order to ensure they satisfy the legal requirements set forth in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as interpreted by recent judicial decisions.
The September 11, 2018, BC Court of Appeal decision on “Canadian Centre for Bio-Ethical Reform v. South Coast British Columbia Transportation Authority” underscores the need for carefully drafted policies regarding any restrictions and requirements the City wishes to impose in its efforts to protect vulnerable persons and provide safe community space that values respect for others. The BC Court of Appeal’s decision also highlights the importance of implementing a rigorous and transparent process for ensuring that competing rights and community objectives are respected and proportionately balanced in accordance with Charter values.