City installs new security measures at city hall

OTTAWA – City of Ottawa security staff have instated stronger security measures for visitors to the municipal home for politicians.

“The city’s Corporate Security is preparing to implement new security measures to ensure a safe and secure environment for all council, Standing committee and Transit Commission meetings in the city hall council chambers, Andrew S. Haydon Hall, in January 2020,” city staff released in a statement Dec. 13. “As part of the new measures, security access gates will be installed at the two entrances to the council chambers’ foyer.”

The foyer entrance leading from Jean Pigott Place will be designated for all members of the public and media. Before passing through the gates, security personnel will inspect all purses, bags and overcoats. In addition, they will observe and assess all visitors to ensure they are not carrying any prohibited items.

A separate lineup at the public entrance will be dedicated for individuals with accessibility requirements.

If an individual exits the foyer, they will have to re-enter the security screening process. Please note that there are washroom facilities accessible from the foyer. 

The time to complete the screening process is approximately one minute. To avoid any delays, the public and media are advised to arrive a bit earlier, avoid carrying any unnecessary baggage, and ensure they are not in possession of any prohibited items.

Any object that may compromise safety or security is prohibited, such as:

  • Outside food and beverages are not permitted in the spectator gallery (empty plastic and metallic bottles are permitted and can be filled in the washrooms or water fountain located in the secured area)
  • Noisemakers, megaphones or airhorns
  • Signs and banners
  • Sharp objects, blades or striking tools – such as scissors, knives, collapsible batons, and box cutters 
  • Compressed gas cylinders not needed for medical purposes, aerosol cans, and non-sealed batteries
  • Explosive or flammable items – such as fireworks, ammunition, fuels (including cooking fuel), gas and micro torches and torch lighters
  • Firearms – including toy and replicas   
  • Any unchecked bags

Members of council and city staff will be able to enter the foyer to the council chambers using a city-issued photo id access card at the security gate located underneath the staircase by the Lisgar Street entrance.

The security gates will be in operation for all city council meetings, as well as standing committee and transit commission meetings held within council chambers, and other special events, if required.

The construction for the installation of the new security gates and equipment was done Dec. 17.