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Metal detectors and baggage checks are coming to Toronto city hall

July 5, 2018
Samantha Beattie

Visitors to Toronto’s city hall will soon experience heightened security with baggage checks at main entrances and metal detector screening at council chambers.

Council approved the enhanced security measures on Thursday night, and they will be put into place this summer, according to a staff report.

Some councillors, including Councillor Norm Kelly, pushed back on the recommendations, saying heightened security will deter people from visiting city hall and participating in democracy.

The glass wall that runs partially along the council chamber floor separating councillors from visitors will be extended all the way across, the report says. Ropes or barrier belts will be installed in two committee rooms to separate committee members from the public.

Mayor John Tory supported what he called “reasonable security measures” at city hall, an “iconic building with authority figures in it” that could be a target for violence.

Under questioning from Councillor Janet Davis, Tory acknowledged that since more security measures were implemented at Queen’s Park it feels more “tightened up” and “a little different walking in there.”

Right now, visitors undergo bag checks only when entering council chambers during meetings. Under the new security measures, visitors will have their items checked when entering city hall through main entrances, whether it be to get married, pay property taxes or meet with a councillor.

City staff and elected officials with access cards won’t have to go through these checkpoints.

Security guards will add walk-through metal detectors at the entrances of council chambers and use hand-held metal detector wands, the report says.