Energy & Power
Bill 35 to better protect Ontario’s nukes and grid
By Anthony Capkun
December 11, 2014 – Ontario says it is ensuring better protection for the province’s critical infrastructure—such as nuclear plants and electricity generating facilities—with the passage of Bill 35, the Security for Courts, Electricity Generating Facilities and Nuclear Facilities Act (2014).
The new legislation would apply to prescribed nuclear and electricity-generating facilities, and would provide for the appointment of security personnel as peace officers who may, “where reasonable”:
• Require any person who wishes to enter a facility, or is already on the premises, to produce identification and provide information for the purposes of assessing the security risk, if any, posed by that person.
• Search a person who wishes to enter premises where a restricted facility is located, or who is on such premises, as well as the person’s vehicle or other property in the person’s custody or care.
• Refuse to allow a person to enter or bring property onto the premises where a restricted access facility is located, and use reasonable force if necessary to prevent the person from doing so.
• Demand that a person immediately leave or immediately remove property from premises where a restricted access facility is located, and using reasonable force if necessary to remove the person or the property.
• Arrest a person with respect to the offences under the act, without warrant and using reasonable force if necessary.
Bill 35 it will also establish:
• Offences for entering or attempting to enter without submitting to a search, for failing to immediately leave or remove property when demanded, or for obstructing or interfering with a peace officer in the exercise of powers under the proposed legislation.
• Penalties for the offences, such as fine up to $2000, or imprisonment up to 60 days.
• A range of regulation-making powers, including the prescribing of facilities to which the act will apply and governing the exercise of powers.
(Issues related to the security in the area just outside a prescribed facility would be addressed in partnership with local police.)
“This bill strikes the right balance between protecting individual civil liberties and ensuring security for all—something Ontarians expect and deserve. It is a transparent, modern and focused approach, developed by working with civil liberty groups, law associations and community safety experts to achieve this important and necessary balance,” said Yasir Naqvi, minister of community safety and correctional services.
Bill 35 replaces the Public Works Protection Act, which was enacted during WWII to help protect hydroelectric facilities against enemy saboteurs.