July 11, 2016 10:09 am

Ontario minister pens open letter, wants street hockey ban lifted in Toronto

WATCH ABOVE: The official bylaw that says it’s illegal to play ball hockey or basketball in the streets of Toronto but one city councilor is pushing to change that. Tom Hayes reports.

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Michael Coteau, a father of two and current Ontario Minister of Children and Youth Services, believes kids should be encouraged to play and that’s why Toronto’s antiquated road hockey ban should finally be abolished.

“Road hockey bans are commonplace in municipalities across Ontario and I am hoping your council will show leadership by making it clear that children can and should play safely on neighbourhood streets,” Coteau wrote in an open letter sent to members of city council.

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“A vote to overturn the prohibition and let kids play will challenge other municipalities to abolish similar road hockey bans in their own communities.”

Toronto city council is scheduled to vote on a staff report on Tuesday which recommends maintaining the status quo as there are “legitimate safety and liability concerns” with amending the municipal code.

“Enforcement of these regulations should remain complaint driven and discretionary,” said the report.

But Coteau states the physical and social benefits of informal play should trump a bylaw which even the city says is rarely enforced.

“The obvious issue at hand is the safety of our children, and I agree that our kids need to be safe, but there has to be a better way than denying them of their right to play,” said Coteau.

© 2016 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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