Second time might be the charm for challenge of panhandling law: Mandin

BY ADVOCATEDAILY.COM STAFF

A recently launched constitutional challenge to Ontario’s panhandling law has a better chance of success than a failed attempt more than a decade ago, says Toronto civil litigator Stephany Mandin.

“The landscape has changed. We now have the benefit of almost two decades of evidence on the impact and the effects of the Safe Streets Act that was not available at the time,” says Mandin, a partner with Goldman Hine LLP.

The Safe Streets Act, enacted by the former premier Mike Harris’ government in 1999 in response to concerns over ‘squeegeeing,’ has been shown to be extremely oppressive in the way it criminalizes poverty, she tells AdvocateDaily.com.

The objectives of the law appear to be aimed at public safety and preventing aggressive solicitation, says Mandin, “but because of its broad nature, the impact of the Act severely punishes those most in need of communicating for funds or assistance.”

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