The BCCLA has written to Vancouver City Council to urge the municipal government not to adopt recommendations on Enhanced Enforcement of Amplification Devices by the Chief License Inspector, the General Manager of Engineering Services, and the Vancouver Police Department.
The recommendations coming forward to City Council are extremely overbroad and ill-defined. These amendments propose a complete ban on voice and noise amplification devices in public space without permission and on the ill-defined grounds of the noise being ‘objectionable’ or where it ‘disturbs public comfort or convenience.’ Even if the intent is not to enforce the bylaws against most political protests, the overbroad scope of the amendments will create a chilling effect where people—especially those already targeted by state violence—will hesitate to plan gatherings out of fear of being fined or having their property seized by the City.
It is our submission that these recommendations, if enacted, would have the effect of unreasonably infringing on the constitutional protection of freedom of expression. We are also troubled that only the VPD was consulted and no public consultation took place.