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Edmonton looking to give bylaw more weight with stronger harassment definitions

Click to play video: 'Edmonton police investigate incidents involving racism, harassment of Sikh community' Edmonton police investigate incidents involving racism, harassment of Sikh community
WATCH (July 3): Members of Edmonton's Sikh community are speaking out about a rash of what they say are hate-related incidents at a temple in Mill Woods. As Chris Chacon reports, police are now investigating – Jul 3, 2021

The City of Edmonton is recommending changes to the Public Places Bylaw to strengthen the definition of what qualifies as harassment.

The amendments were to include harassment based on race, religion, gender identity or sexual orientation.

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City council asked administration in April to work with the Anti-Racism Advisory Committee to review and update the anti-bullying sections of the Public Places bylaw.

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On Aug. 11, the Community and Public Services Committee will discuss the proposed changes.

On Aug. 16, if the committee decides, the bylaw amendments will be voted on by council.

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“Administration consulted with several of city council’s advisory committees, including the Anti-Racism Advisory Committee, to help shape the changes in the proposed draft,” the city said in a news release Wednesday.

“This review recommends changes that will provide greater clarity and create a safer environment for all Edmontonians.”

The proposed changes suggest keeping the fines for breaking the Public Places Bylaw the same: $250 for a first offence, double that for subsequent offences.

However, city council can choose to increase the fines at a later date, if needed.

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“Council also asked administration to look at using restorative justice practices in response to offences under this bylaw,” the city release said.

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“Administration is asking council for additional time to thoroughly explore this approach as it continues work to enhance community safety, well-being, inclusion and anti-racism in Edmonton.”

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