How to manage the pan handlers - just what did get said at that Council meeting

SwP thumbnail graphicBy Staff

September 18th, 2019



Suzanne Vukosavljevic, Manager of Communications for the city sent out a media release saying:The City of Burlington is not pursing a by-law related to ticketing drivers giving to panhandlers on Burlington streets.

“On September 10, 2019, a staff report on panhandling went to the Planning & Development Committee for discussion. There is no City staff direction related to targeting and ticketing drivers donating money to panhandlers.

“There was an amended motion put forward at that meeting that was not approved by Burlington City Council; that motion was to report back to the Planning and Development Committee by the end of 2019 on the possibility of a by-law that would target drivers donating money to panhandlers at City intersections.

Here is what actually happened at the Standing Committee meeting:

Meed Ward H&S profile

The Mayor just asked the question: Could the police issues a distracted driving ticket to someone who gave a pan handler money while they were in their car.

The idea of perhaps ticketing car drivers for giving pan handlers money, because they would have been “distracted” from their driving, was a question raised by the Mayor when she asked Staff if they had asked the police if they could issue distracted driving offence tickets.  Heather MacDonald, Director of City Building said they did not ask that particular question.

Vukosavljevic, added that: “The actions that were approved by Burlington City Council include:

• The City of Burlington will continue to work with the Halton Poverty Roundtable (which is part of United Way) as part of their broader communication to residents about poverty.

• Update the City’s website to provide information on how residents can assist those in need, including donating money.

• The City will share ways to help via social media and the City Talk newsletter.

• The City will prepare communication material for ward-specific newsletters with information for residents about this issue.

• The City will continue to work with the Halton Regional Police to monitor panhandling on the streets of Burlington.

“Burlington City Council shared their concerns on the well-being of all who need help in Burlington, and was clear through its deliberations that the end goal is to get the most support to those who need it, and that donating to active local charitable organizations is important to ensuring the best results from the community.”

One of the concerns was expressed by ward 2 Councillor Lisa Kearns who said that the pan handling was a “racket”. Some of these people are “optimizing or using space for their own purposes”.

Mayor Meed Ward added that she had been at the Guelph Line Fairview intersection earlier and had seen pan handlers at the intersection with drivers handing them money.

The media release from the Communications department appears to be trying to put a bit of a spin on a situation that makes some people uncomfortable.  It always works better when you let the facts speak for themselves.

Salt with Pepper is the musings, reflections and opinions of the publisher of the Burlington Gazette, an online newspaper that was formed in 2010 and is a member of the National Newsmedia Council.

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2 comments to How to manage the pan handlers – just what did get said at that Council meeting

  • Jim Thomson

    Why do the Police need to monitor panhandling? It is not a criminal activity!

    • Bryan

      It may not be a crime as long as they stay firmly planted on the median. As soon as they step on the roadway they have contravened the Safe Streets Act. I can tell you I have seen dozens of them doing this on a regular basis to get money from cars that are in lanes not next to the centre median. In these circumstances the lazy police we have in Burlington should be doing something, but then again that would involve doing real police work and thats a bit more than some of those guys/gals can handle.