Current track



Toronto police say trespassing law doesn’t give power to clear UofT encampment

Written by on May 31, 2024

TORONTO — Toronto police say they will only take action to clear a pro-Palestinian encampment at the University of Toronto in case of emergency or to carry out a court order.

In an update to the Toronto Police Service Board this morning, deputy chief Rob Johnson said “given the manner in which events have unfolded to date,” the law on trespassing doesn’t give the force legal authority to clear the encampment.

He cited the fact that the university initially allowed demonstrators to stay on campus, as well as a recent court decision in Quebec that denied McGill University an interim injunction against a similar encampment.

The University of Toronto last week issued a trespassing notice to protesters who set up camp in an area known as King’s College Circle and gave them a Monday morning deadline to leave.

Protesters have stayed despite the notice and the university has since applied for an injunction, seeking an order that would allow police action to remove demonstrators who refuse to leave.

Hearings have been scheduled on June 19 and 20.

Johnson told the board this morning that police maintain regular communication with university administrators and have made arrests in five incidents related to the encampment.

Demonstrators have said they will stay on campus until the university meets their demands, which include disclosing investments in companies profiting from Israel’s offensive in Gaza.

Similar encampments on university campuses have cropped up across Canada in recent months, with several schools considering or taking legal action against the protesters.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 31, 2024.

The Canadian Press