The Township of West Lincoln is taking steps toward a bylaw that regulates the delivery of flyers with graphic images.

The flyers that prompted this discussion were distributed by local anti-abortion organizations and featured images of fetuses.

After receiving complaints from multiple residents — including a child with special needs who was distressed after seeing the images — a request was made to conceal the flyer in an envelope with a warning.

“They were concerned and wanted to know if there was something the council could do about flyers being dropped,” said Ward 2 Coun. Joann Chechalk, who is trying to move the bylaw. Described as a “very sensitive topic” by Chechalk, she noted it’s an issue other municipalities are also going through.

In St. Catharines, a motion moved by Coun. Kevin Townsend asked staff to come back with a report on how they can restrict these flyers from being distributed.

And a bylaw passed in London states that the graphic images must be fully concealed within a sealed envelope or package, and marked with a warning that says “contains a graphic image that may be offensive or disturbing to some people.”

Though Chechalk has not seen the flyers or “feels like she has to,” the councillor said the goal of the bylaw is to prevent residents from seeing what they feel is inappropriate.

Brought by the council at a meeting on March 27, the bylaw says no person should deliver or participate in the delivery of a graphic image to any dwelling unit or business unless it’s fully concealed within a sealed envelope or package.

“It’s pretty understandable,” said Chechalk regarding the residents’ request.

The name of the person or organization responsible for the delivery should be marked on the envelope, along with a warning that the image may be offensive or disturbing to some people.

According to the bylaw’s regulation, a graphic image means an image or photograph “showing, or purporting to show” a fetus or any part of a fetus.

A penalty of $5,000 for a person breaking the bylaw or $10,000 for a corporation could be applied if the new regulation is passed.

Chechalk said there is no estimated time to process the bylaw, but it’s been sent to the township’s legal council.

Beatriz Baleeiro, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News

2023-03-31T17:02:56Z dg43tfdfdgfd