09/14/2006

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has finalized the Notification of Marijuana Grow Operation Protocol between Police Services and Municipalities.
The Marijuana Grow Operation Notification Protocol is meant to help ensure municipalities are notified once police complete their investigation of a property formerly used a marijuana grow operation. This template, which can be found on the Ministry website, is not mandatory but is meant as a guide to assist municipalities in developing their own agreements with police services.

The Province passed the remaining provisions of Bill 128, Law Enforcement and Forfeited Property Management Statute Law Amendment Act, 2005, in August 2006. Many provisions of the Act, such as those which increased fines for offences against the Ontario Fire Code, came into effect when the Bill received Royal Assent on December 15, 2005. Bill 128 also amended the Municipal Act by adding two new sections, 431.1 and 431.2, to require a municipality to ensure that a building is inspected if the municipality is notified in writing by a police service that the building contained a marijuana grow operation.

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) has previously stated that municipalities will not be compensated for their obligations under Bill 128. However, they can be compensated as victims, but only where it is related to a specific fact scenario. For example, if a building inspection is done on a grow operation and the Province forfeited that specific building, an argument can be made for compensation. That is, if the additional costs incurred by the municipality can be tied to the unlawful activity leading to the forfeiture, the municipality is free to make a documented claim. Public bodies take compensation only after individual claims are satisfied.

The City of Toronto has developed a process in which property owners are first required to obtain the necessary inspections and perform required mitigation measures before requesting a building inspector enter the premises. This creative solution may help municipalities avoid the 
enormous equipment and personnel safety concerns that accompany this bill.

CONTACTS:
Those interested in more information are advised to contact Nadia Uddin, Standards Development Officer, Policing Standards Section, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services at 416-212-3501 or nadia.uddin@jus.gov.on.ca