Bag checks at Toronto city hall a part of new security measures

Starting Monday, visitors to Toronto city hall will be subject to baggage checks at two entrances. Don Mitchell / Global News Radio 640 Toronto

The City of Toronto’s corporate security manager expects few delays for visitors when baggage screening begins next week on the main floors of city hall.

Dwaine Nichol says the enhanced security measures start on Monday as part of changes approved in the June session of city council, this year.

“The check is very similar to going to a Blue Jays game or a Maple Leafs game,” Nichol told Global News Radio 640 Toronto. “Prior to entering a metal detector, they [security] would do a check of your bag.”

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Three check stations will be active at any given time, two when entering the rotunda from the main floor from the south side entrance, with the other on the north side of the building at the Hagerman street entrance.

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“No baggage security screening is required to access many of the services on the main floor, but screening is required to access any other location including the tower floors, committee rooms or office of elected officials, etc.”

Nichol said services like the library or the Service Canada centre in the rotunda will not require a bag check.

City staff and building tenants that have been prescreened and wearing access cards will not be subject to the new security measures.

“The enhancements are not related to a specific threat,” said Nichol. “We had assessments done by Toronto police and public safety Canada, as well as our own extensive benchmarking and best practices to come up with the measures being implemented”

The latest security upgrades are just a portion of the plan as the addition of metal detectors to access council chambers and physical checks for committee rooms are expected to be in place before the end of 2018.

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