Ministry of the
Solicitor General

PWPA Review Terms of Reference

Terms of Reference
Review of the Public Works Protection Act
Sept. 21, 2010

Print version - PDF, 30 kb

The Public Works Protection Act, 1990 (“the PWPA”) is an Ontario statute that was first enacted during a special session of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario in September 1939, immediately following the outbreak of World War II.

The PWPA empowers appointed guards and police officers to protect “public works”, including railways, bridges, highways, courthouses, electrical generating facilities and municipal public works. A public work may also include any other place designated by the Lieutenant Governor in Council.

The Honourable R. Roy McMurtry has been retained by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services to conduct a review of the PWPA (“the Review”).

Mr. McMurtry will engage in a detailed review of the provisions of the PWPA in order to identify areas for reform and make specific recommendations for amendment of the legislation. These recommendations may include amendments relating to:

  • The definition of a “public work”.
  • The scope of authority conferred to a law enforcement official for the purpose of protecting a “public work”.
  • Public notice requirements relating to the designation of a “public work”.
  • The application of the PWPA to significant public events, such as major national and international conferences and sporting events, and mass public demonstrations.

Mr. McMurtry will undertake focused discussions with key stakeholder groups, including members of the legal profession, police organizations, civil liberties organizations, federal and municipal government officials, and other interested parties.

The purpose of the review is to develop a foundation for future legislation. Mr. McMurtry will not consider or comment on any litigation or legal matters before the courts.

Mr. McMurtry will take into account the historical context of the PWPA, including an examination of its historical and current uses for the purpose of protecting public institutions in the Province of Ontario. Mr. McMurtry may also consider similar legislation and reform initiatives in other jurisdictions that may be of assistance.

Mr. McMurtry will also review other public reports that are relevant to his work, including that of the provincial Ombudsman.

Mr. McMurtry will provide his best advice and recommendations, taking into account the position of interested parties and any consensus amongst those parties on any of the issues. However, Mr. McMurtry will not be bound by any consensus in the development of his advice and recommendations.

The Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services may on occasion request that Mr. McMurtry provide to him an update on the progress of the Review.

Mr. McMurtry will complete the focussed discussions with stakeholder groups and provide a concise final report to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services by April 30, 2011. The final report will summarize the views that have been expressed and his recommendations and advice. This report will be in a form appropriate for release to the public, pursuant to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.