OTTAWA -- The public will need to pass through security before attending today’s Transit Commission and Planning Committee meetings.

New security screening measures begin today outside Jean Pigott Place at Ottawa City Hall.

Security access gates have been installed at the two entrances to the Council Chambers’ foyer. The city says before passing through the gates, security will inspect all purses, bags and overcoats of visitors. 

Guests will also be checked for any prohibited items, including:

  • Beverages
  • Noisemakers, megaphones or air horns
  • Signs and banners
  • Sharp objects, blades or striking tools
  • Explosive or flammable items
  • Firearms – including toy and replicas
  • Any unchecked bags

The city says the screening process will take approximately one minute.

Members of Council and City Staff will be able to enter the foyer to the City Council Chambers using a City-issued photo ID access card at a separate security gate.

Several Council members questioned the need for security when the new measures were announced in December.

In a memo to Councillors, City manager Steve Kanellakos said “It is our belief that ensuring public safety while at City Hall is an important part of keeping City Hall a people place.”

Kanellakos added the 2018-22 Governance report adopted by Council included a Security and Emergency Management service review that stated “security measures should wherever possible, be implemented with consideration for preserving the freedoms and quality of life residents expect in a free and democratic society."