INTERIM DIRECTIVE ON THE INTERPRETATION AND APPLICATION OF UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA POLICY 33 – SECURITY SECTION 8 (REQUESTS FOR IDENTIFYING INFORMATION)

Adoption: August 30, 2019 by the President and Vice-Chancellor


1.    Commitment

The University’s first priority is to ensure a safe, inclusive and respectful environment for everyone on campus.

Protection Services is committed to ensuring the safety and security of all members of the University community and of University property in a manner that respects the University’s obligations under the Ontario Human Rights Code, Ontario Human Rights Commission-established policies, and best practices in public and private policing. Protection Services consults with the University’s Human Rights Office as needed to meet its commitment to a human rights-positive approach to campus safety.

2.    Context and Purpose of this Interim Directive

University Policy 33 – Security, section 8 states that members of Protection Services are authorized to request proof of identity from persons on campus.

The University’s campuses are comprised of its privately owned buildings and land to which members of the University community and the public are normally permitted access.

The University is currently reviewing University Policy 33 – Security and its associated procedures. Pending the outcome of that review and further consultations related to best practices, the University wishes to establish this Interim Directive to clarify the interpretation and application of Protection Services’ authority, under section 8 of Policy 33, to request identification from an individual.  

3.    Effective Date and Application of this Interim Directive

This interim Directive is effective immediately and will apply until further notice by the Office of the President.  Notification of any change will be given through publication of the latest version of this interim Directive on Protection Services’ website.   

This interim Directive supersedes all other University policies and procedures relating to Protection Services’ authority to request identification.

4.    Requests for identification 

When Protection Services personnel makes a request for identification, their request is based on the circumstances of the situation and limited to the information they need to respond effectively to the situation. 

Requesting identification must never be requested randomly and arbitrarily and should not be Protection Services’ routine practice.  However, it is important for Protection Services personnel to request identification when there is a request for their assistance, for example: 

  • When Protection Services receives a phone call requesting assistance or reporting an incident, to allow for follow-up with the caller;
  • When an individual makes a request to Protection Services to access premises on campus (for example, a building, classroom, office, or laboratory) to which the public is not ordinarily invited or permitted access, in order to confirm that the individual is permitted to access those premises;
  • When Protection Services personnel is responding to a specific active or ongoing incident or is following up in relation to such an incident, where the individual from whom the information is requested is a witness or may have knowledge of such incident or be of assistance in the follow-up by Protection Services, provided that individual is not suspected of wrongdoing;
  • When Protection Services personnel is providing assistance to an individual, for example, when an individual is experiencing an active or ongoing health or mental health incident and verification of the individual’s identity is necessary to effectively provide the individual with appropriate assistance. 

In circumstances other than in ones where Protection Services’ is providing assistance (for example, investigating potential wrongdoing), Protection Services personnel should limit a request for identification to those situations where the verification of the person’s identity is necessary to protect the safety of persons or property and the request complies with the Ontario Human Rights Code, and with security and policing best practices. 

Verifying the identity of an individual generally involves Protections Services personnel looking at a document or piece of identification given to them by the individual that Protection Services personnel reasonably considers to be a reliable, independent source document containing the identifying information of the individual in order to ensure that the individual is who they say they are.

When making a request for identification, Protection Services personnel will inform the individual of the following:

  • the reason for the request, unless so informing the individual might compromise the safety of an individual; would likely compromise an ongoing investigation; or might disclose the identity of a person contrary to the law; and
  • that the individual may choose not to provide their identifying information, unless so informing the individual might compromise the safety of an individual.

5.    Protection Services Personnel’s Contact information

When Protection Services personnel engage with members of the University community and the public in response to a security incident, they will provide those individuals with their direct contact information, the general contact information for Protection Services, and any other information necessary to allow those individuals to follow up about the incident.

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