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Rules of Conduct

Rules of Conduct

Approved: January 29, 1998

Revised: January 21, 2013

The Toronto Public Library provides free and equitable access to services which meet the changing needs of Torontonians. The Library preserves and promotes universal access to a broad range of human knowledge, experience, information and ideas in a welcoming and supportive environment that is free from discrimination and harassment. Everyone has the right to equal treatment with respect to the access and use of the Library’s services and facilities without discrimination or harassment on the basis of sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnic origin, creed and all other grounds set out in the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Discrimination and/or harassment will not be tolerated under any circumstances. These rules are intended to prevent such conduct and to ensure the dignity and safety of the public and the staff and to maintain the security of library property without disruption to library services.

Any behaviour that does not support a welcoming environment and/or violates the Rules of Conduct may result in cost-recovery charges, suspension of library privileges, exclusion from the Library on the basis of the Ontario Trespass to Property Act and prosecution. These Rules have been approved by the Toronto Public Library Board. An Individual has the right to appeal his or her exclusion as described in the Rules of Conduct - Exclusion, Reinstatement and Appeals Policy.

The Library asks for your cooperation in maintaining a welcoming environment conducive to study and enjoyable use of the Library. Staff make every effort to apply these rules in a fair, dignified and positive manner for the benefit of all.

  1. Violent, threatening, abusive, discriminatory or harassing language or conduct of any kind is not allowed.
  2. Disruptive or intrusive behaviour is not allowed.
  3. Damage, misuse, or theft of library materials, equipment and property is not allowed. Interfering with the designated use of computers and networks is also not allowed.
  4. Members of the public may not make requests for service based on prohibited grounds of discrimination under the Human Rights Code.
  5. Children requiring supervision must not be left unattended on library premises.
  6. Members of the public may only use authorized entrances and exits and are not allowed in "Staff Only" areas without permission.
  7. Members of the public must open all bags, books and papers for inspection if requested by staff.
  8. Library materials may not be taken into washrooms.
  9. Posting notices, distributing circulars or petitions, soliciting or engaging in any commercial activity on library property must not be conducted without prior written approval of the Library.
  10. Photographing, filming or video recording of library staff and users on library property must not be conducted without prior written approval of the Library.
  11. Members of the public must wear shirts and shoes and other appropriate attire. Use of sports equipment is not allowed on library property.
  12. Eating and drinking are allowed except in designated areas.
  13. Service animals are welcome in the Library. Other animals are only allowed during authorized programs.

Rules of Conduct - Exclusion, Reinstatement and Appeals

Approved: January 29, 1998

Revised: April 28, 2014

Policy Objective

The policy outlines how Toronto Public Library applies the Rules of Conduct to maintain a safe and welcoming environment for the public and staff. The policy identifies the types of misconduct that lead to exclusions under the Ontario Trespass to Property Act and the appeals process for people who are excluded as a result of misconduct.

Underlying Principles

Toronto Public Library's mission is to provide free and equitable access to services that meet the changing needs of Torontonians. The Library preserves and promotes universal access to a broad range of human knowledge, experience, information and ideas in a welcoming and supportive environment. The Library establishes Rules of Conduct to foster this environment for all users. The Library is committed to applying the Rules of Conduct in a fair and equitable manner, both substantively and procedurally.

Policy Statement

To maintain a safe, supportive and welcoming environment for Library users and staff, Toronto Public Library has the right and obligation to enforce the Rules of Conduct in a fair and consistent manner.

When a breach of the Rules of Conduct occurs, Toronto Public Library has discretion in determining whether a person will be excluded, the time period of the exclusion, and will take into consideration the severity of the misconduct, the circumstances surrounding the incident and any mitigating factors.

Any person who has been excluded from the Toronto Public Library for two, six or 12 months has the right to appeal the exclusion, and for exclusions of 12 months, the person has the right to appeal if his or her request to have Library privileges reinstated is denied.

Toronto Public Library is committed to reviewing the Rules of Conduct and their application on a regular basis to support fair and equitable access for all.

Suspensions and Exclusions

  1. A suspension of one day from one branch may be applied when disregard for the Rules of Conduct occurs, including disruptive, intrusive, threatening, abusive or discriminatory language or behaviour, attempted theft and minor vandalism. Some or all of the following actions may be taken by Library staff:
    1. Staff will inform the person of how he or she violated the Library's rules.
    2. An immediate verbal warning will be given to the person by the staff member in charge of the branch at the time of the occurrence.
    3. The person will be expelled from the branch.
    4. A written warning will be issued to the person.
    5. Staff will keep a record of the name of the person responsible for the breach of the Rules of Conduct.
  2. An exclusion of two months from one branch may be applied when disregard for the Rules of Conduct occurs, including disruptive, intrusive, threatening, abusive or discriminatory language or behaviour, attempted theft and minor vandalism. Some or all of the following actions may be taken by Library staff:
    1. Staff will inform the person of how he or she violated the Library's rules.
    2. An immediate verbal warning will be given to the person by the staff member in charge of the branch at the time of the occurrence.
    3. The person will be expelled from the branch.
    4. A written warning will be issued to the person.
    5. Staff will keep a record of the name of the person responsible for the breach of the Rules of Conduct.
    6. A letter will be issued to the person informing him or her that he or she is excluded from one branch of the Toronto Public Library for a period of two months. The letter will include:
      1. The period of exclusion;
      2. The reason(s) for the exclusion;
      3. A notification to the person that he or she has the right to appeal and information on the appeals process; and,
      4. Notice that there will be a further review of the incident and additional action may be taken, including a possible extension of the two-month branch suspension.
  3. A system-wide exclusion of six months from all Library properties and services may be applied when violence, threat of violence, vandalism, theft or persistent disregard for the Rules of Conduct occurs. Some or all of the following actions may be taken by Library staff:
    1. Staff will inform the person of how he or she violated the Library's rules.
    2. The person will be expelled from the branch.
    3. A letter will be issued by the Director to the person informing him or her that he or she is excluded from all properties and services of the Toronto Public Library for a period of six months and that his or her Library privileges are revoked for that time period. The letter will include:
      1. The period of exclusion;
      2. The reason(s) for the exclusion;
      3. A notification to the person that he or she has the right to appeal and information on the appeals process; and,
      4. The date of reinstatement of Library privileges.
  4. A system-wide exclusion of 12 months from all Library properties and services, after which the excluded person must reapply to have his or her Library privileges reinstated, may be applied when violence, threat of violence, vandalism, theft or persistent disregard for the Rules of Conduct occurs, and the seriousness of the misconduct requires a further review prior to the person's Library privileges being reinstated. The following actions may be taken by Library staff:
    1. Staff will inform the person of how he or she violated the Library's rules.
    2. The person will be expelled from the branch.
    3. A letter will be issued by the Director to the person informing him or her that he or she is excluded from all properties of the Toronto Public Library for a period of 12 months and that his or her Library privileges are revoked. The letter will include:
      1. The period of exclusion;
      2. The reason(s) for the exclusion;
      3. A notification to the person that he or she has the right to appeal and information on the appeals process; and,
      4. Information about how to request to have his or her Library privileges reinstated after the 12-month exclusion period is over.

Right to Appeal

A person has a right to appeal a letter of exclusion or extension of an exclusion, in writing, to the Toronto Public Library during the period of exclusion.

The person is entitled to appeal once during the period of exclusion using the appeal process described below.

Criteria for Considering Appeals and Reinstatement

Toronto Public Library will use the following criteria when determining whether to grant an appeal or the reinstatement of Library privileges:

  1. The safety of the public and Library staff and the circumstances surrounding the exclusion;
  2. The past behaviour of the person making the application with regard to the Rules of Conduct;
  3. The person's reasons for appealing his or her exclusion or seeking reinstatement, as well as other mitigating factors;
  4. Where applicable, whether the person has reimbursed the Library for all expenses incurred as a result of the person's actions;
  5. Whether the exclusion procedures were applied in accordance with the provisions of this Policy.

How to Appeal

The contact information for submitting an appeal will be included in the exclusion letter.

The person may appeal by using a form available on the Toronto Public Library website or by writing a letter with the following information:

Local exclusion of two months from one branch:

The excluded person may appeal to the Library Service Manager whose contact information will be provided in the letter.

The decision of the Library Service Manager is final and there are no further steps in the appeals process.

Reinstatement is automatic at the end of the two-month exclusion period if the appeal is not granted.

System-wide exclusion of six months from all properties and services of Toronto Public Library:

The excluded person may appeal to the City Librarian.

Upon receipt of the decision of the City Librarian, the person may further appeal to the Toronto Public Library Board.

The decision of the Library Board is final and there are no further steps to be taken in the appeals process.

Reinstatement is automatic at the end of the six-month exclusion period if the appeal is not granted.

System-wide exclusion of 12 months from all properties and services of Toronto Public Library:

The person may first appeal to the City Librarian.

Upon receipt of the decision of the City Librarian, the person may further appeal to the Toronto Public Library Board.

The decision of the Library Board is final and there are no further steps to be taken in the appeals process.

Note: Individuals must apply to be reinstated once the 12-month exclusion period has expired.

Reinstatement Process after 12-month exclusion

Reinstatement is automatic at the end of the exclusion period with the exception of 12-month exclusions. Individuals that are excluded for 12 months must apply for reinstatement of Library privileges.

A person has a right to apply for reinstatement, in writing, to the Director.

The person may apply by using a form available on the Toronto Public Library website or by writing a letter with the following information:

To Appeal a Denial of Reinstatement

For persons whose request for reinstatement of Library privileges after 12-month exclusion is denied by the Director and the exclusion is extended:

The person may first appeal to City Librarian.

Upon receipt of the decision of the City Librarian, the person may appeal to the Toronto Public Library Board.

The decision of the Library Board is final and there are no further steps in the appeals process.

The person must apply to be reinstated once the exclusion period has expired.

Specific Directives

Toronto Public Library will provide the Rules of Conduct - Exclusion, Reinstatement and Appeals Policy with related forms and procedures on the Toronto Public Library website in accessible format.

Information regarding the appeals process will be included in exclusion letters.

Appeals to the Toronto Public Library Board will be scheduled in a timely manner.

The person who is appealing will be given the opportunity to make reasonable oral or written submissions to the Toronto Public Library Board and a reasonable opportunity to reply to the information provided by staff.

Toronto Public Library will make every effort to communicate decisions regarding appeals in a timely manner after investigation.

Staff Roles and Responsibilities

The City Librarian or designate is accountable for the overall administration of the Rules of Conduct and related policies.

The Directors and public service managers or designates are accountable for the application of the Rules of Conduct and related policies and appeals processes within their respective areas.

Appendices

Appendix 1: Definitions

Appeal: The process of requesting a review of an exclusion from Library properties or the request to review the decision of the Director regarding reinstatement.

Exclusion: A member of the public is banned and is not allowed to enter the specified Library buildings or be on Library property at any time for any reason for the time period that the exclusion is in place.

Library property: All Library branches, buildings and property of the Toronto Public Library whether leased or owned.

Library privileges: Includes all use of Library services, as well as contacting the Library in person, by phone, email or using web services for which a Library card is required.

Mitigating factors: Factors that impact the severity of the exclusion or the culpability of the act and may influence the length of exclusion, including, but not limited to, the individual's age, mental or physical ability, or the circumstances of the incident.

Reinstatement: When an exclusion from Toronto Public Library ends and Library privileges are restored. For exclusions of two or six months, a reinstatement occurs automatically when the exclusion period ends. For exclusions of 12 months, the person must apply for reinstatement to the Director after the 12-month exclusion period has ended.

Suspension: A member of the public who is not allowed to enter a specific branch of the Toronto Public Library for a specified amount of time, but still retains use of his or her Library privileges.

Violence: for the purpose of this policy, includes, but is not limited to physical acts (e.g. hitting, shoving, pushing, kicking, sexual assault) and any verbal threat, behaviour or action which is interpreted to carry the potential to harm or endanger the safety of others, result in an act of aggression, or destroy or damage property, even in the absence of fear of immediate bodily harm.

Rules of Conduct - Guide to Exclusion, Reinstatement and Appeals

Suspensions and Exclusions

Suspensions

Suspensions last for one day. If you have been told that you are suspended from a particular library branch, you cannot:

If you have been told that you are suspended from a particular library branch, you can:

When the suspension is over you can return to the library branch.

Exclusions

Exclusions last from 2 months to 12 months. If you have been told that you are excluded from the library it means that you are banned from visiting one or all branches of the library for a specific period of time. There are three types of exclusions:

If you have been issued one of these, you will receive a letter indicating:

If you go on library property while you are excluded, you will be considered to be trespassing. Action may be taken against you under the provisions of the Trespass to Property Act, R.S.O. 1990 Chapter T.21 and its Amendments.

You may appeal any exclusion that has been issued.

Depending on the type of exclusion, you may continue to have some library privileges. Library privileges include: use of library services, contacting the library in person, by phone or email, or using online services for which a library card is required.

What you can and cannot do if you have been excluded from the library
2-month single branch exclusion 6-month system-wide exclusion 12-month system-wide exclusion
You can visit the branch that excluded you No No No
You can visit any other library branch Yes No No
You can use your library card to access online services and to borrow materials Yes No No
You can appeal the decision to exclude you Yes Yes Yes
You can return to the library as soon as the exclusion is over Yes Yes No. You must apply to be allowed to come back to the library

Appeals and Reinstatements

If you have been issued an exclusion from the library you may appeal the decision in writing.

If you have been issued a 12-month system-wide exclusion, you must apply to come back to the library after the exclusion is over.

Toronto Public Library uses the following criteria when determining whether to grant an appeal or the reinstatement of library privileges:

  1. The safety of the public and library staff and the circumstances surrounding the exclusion;
  2. The past behaviour of the person making the application with regard to the Rules of Conduct;
  3. The person's reasons for appealing his or her exclusion or seeking reinstatement, as well as other mitigating factors;
  4. Where applicable, whether the person has reimbursed the library for all expenses incurred as a result of the person's actions;
  5. Whether the exclusion procedures were applied in accordance with the provisions of this Policy.

Request to Appeal

An appeal to the library's decision to exclude you must be submitted in writing. You may write a letter or print and mail this form to the address on the exclusion letter you received.

If you choose to write a letter, please be sure to include the following information:

You have the right to appeal anytime during the period of exclusion.

Request for Reinstatement of Library Privileges After a 12-Month System-Wide Exclusion

Because of the serious nature of the misconduct, a request to have your library privileges back after a 12-month system-wide exclusion must be submitted in writing. You may write a letter or print and mail this form to the address on the exclusion letter you received.

If you choose to write a letter, please be sure to include the following information:

For further assistance, please contact Answerline by phone: 416-393-7131 (TTY 416-393-7030), or by email at answerline@torontopubliclibrary.ca