City of Kingston issues emergency order in response to street parties

New order escalates fines, allows city to publicize names of offenders

The City of Kingston hopes to deter large parties in the University District and beyond.

On Sept. 10, the City of Kingston issued a new emergency order that expands enforcement officers’ powers to fine and identify those who attend large social gatherings.

The mandate was announced in response to the 3,500 to 5,000-person street parties held in the University District between Sept. 1-4, sparking concerns about the potential spread of COVID-19 in the community.

“The large street parties that have been occurring in the University District are appalling and downright dangerous in the midst of a pandemic,” Mayor Bryan Paterson said in a statement released alongside the order on Sept. 10.

“Our community is fed up with this disrespectful behaviour that is putting everyone at risk. That is why, today, I am issuing a new emergency order to ensure those who disregard public health rules are held accountable for their actions.” 

The order, which came into effect at 4 p.m. on Sept. 10, increases fines for nuisance parties from $500 to a maximum of $2,000.

It also allows officers to immediately issue fines following a violation, and permits the city disclose the names of anyone charged under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act, the Reopening Ontario Act, the Emergency Orders By-Law, the Nuisance Party By-Law, and the Noise By-Law—including to media outlets at no charge and upon request.

“My hope is that this additional step will help send the message of just how serious this is,” Mayor Paterson said in an interview with The Journal on Sept. 13.

He emphasized that although the partygoers made up a minority of the student body, they were nonetheless a “sizeable” number.

“[We are] making sure [this order is] not something that is singling anybody out. These measures that we've introduced apply to the whole city, so it's not in any way targeting students.”

Paterson also stressed that although this order has intensified penalties for breaking the by-law, it doesn’t infringe on students’ abilities to hold gatherings under the current rules the Reopening Ontario Act (ROA) has established.

“I would say that within the existing City bylaws and current public health positions there's plenty of room to be able to socialize and have fun. Where I'm drawing the line is that I don't believe that after lockdown, that gives anybody permission to be part of a two-, three-, four-thousand-person street party that creates disruption and disrespect to the community,” he said.

Apart from posing a COVID-19 risk, Paterson maintained that large street parties were disruptive to the community.

“When it comes to a 3,000-, 4,000-person street party, that's not something that the City would tolerate even without a pandemic. It's not just a public health risk,” he said.

“This is really about having respect and understanding that we're all in this community together.”

Principal Patrick Deane also released a statement in support of the order shortly after the City on Sept. 10.

“The university has been clear that it does not condone the behaviour of those who disregard public health regulations around social gathering, and shares the community’s concern about reckless and aggressive behaviours,” Deane wrote.

“We do not want to see the behaviours of a few put at risk the academic experience that our students, staff and faculty have waited 18 months to resume.”

Under the Student Code of Conduct, Queen’s students caught breaching any law, including those related to social gathering limits, could face review by the Non-Academic Misconduct Board and sanctions ranging up to expulsion.

All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to

When commenting, be considerate and respectful of writers and fellow commenters. Try to stay on topic. Spam and comments that are hateful or discriminatory will be deleted. Our full commenting policy can be read here.