Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada supports an amended by-law to regulate the display of graphic images in London
For immediate release
(London, Ontario) — The Abortion Rights Coalition of Canada (ARCC) strongly supports a proposed by-law amendment to the City of London’s Streets By-Law that would prohibit graphic signage in public that shows a fetus or any part of a fetus. The amendment is in response to the frequent display of images of alleged aborted fetuses on the streets of London, which has offended and traumatized many residents. The Community and Protective Services Committee will be voting on the motion at its Dec 5 meeting.
ARCC first wrote to London’s City Council with solutions to the graphic signage issue as far back as September 27, 2018, twice in 2019, and again in September 2020.
We recommended that the City add an Advertising Code citation that would indicate that any temporary sign not contravene any law or the Advertising Code. We also recommended zoning restrictions and/or a buffer-zone by-law to protect schools and hospitals and that signs be no bigger than 3.5”x5” (similar to a by-law passed in Calgary).
In November 2020, current ARCC Board Member, Deanna Ronson introduced a petition to the Community and Protective Services Committee signed by over 5K London and area residents calling for BOTH an amendment to the sign by-law and an amendment to an existing by-law or a new by-law that would ban the delivery of graphic flyers.
At the time, council decided it would be best to deal with one by-law at a time and they chose to address the flyer by-law.
On August 3, 2022, Civic Administration was “DIRECTED to report back to a future meeting of the Community and Protective Services Committee with respect to potential changes that could be made to the Sign By-law related to the prohibition of the display of graphic images in public; it being noted that the verbal delegation and communication, as appended to the Agenda, from D. Ronson, with respect to this matter, were received. (2022-P09) (4.2/9/CPSC)” (M. Schulthess in letter to S. Mathers Deputy City Manager, Planning and Economic Development.)
In July 2023, a policy researcher for the City of London reached out to ARCC to obtain more information for the City’s research “about other cities in Canada that have passed by-laws or have policies which limit the ability of anti-choice groups to ‘protest’ or demonstrate on City streets/sidewalks/property using graphic images, (or any techniques, for that matter).”
Over a year later, the Civic Administration still has not presented the CAPS committee with a report on its research.
That brings us up to date with Councillor Trosow’s motion to the CAPS committee on today’s agenda, that Civic Administration be “directed to prepare a by-law amending the Streets By-Law (S-1) to regulate the display of graphic image in the City of London.” That motion was approved 5 to 0.
The research has already been done, and an amendment to this by-law is now three years overdue. We call on the London City Council to approve this amendment at the earliest opportunity.
Deanna Ronson, Board Member, ARCC email: firstname.lastname@example.org