The Vancouver Police Department supports people exercising their democratic rights and freedoms through lawful protest. To support these rights, we have a dedicated unit known as the Planning Assessment Team, which is part of our Emergency Operational Planning Section.
The VPD assess 500 to 600 events in Vancouver every year to determine the appropriate police resources needed to ensure the safety and security of protestors, the general public, and first responders. The VPD has a good reputation in dealing with these incidents, which often requires discussion and understanding between the team, and protest groups and organizers.
If you are looking to organize a protest or have questions about how protests are handled, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and one of our Planning Assessment Team members will get back to you.
Permits not required for protests
You do not need a permit from the VPD or the City of Vancouver to hold a protest. Section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms sets out the fundamental freedoms, including freedom of peaceful assembly.
The VPD does not reserve a space or specific location for your protest
It is your legal right to protest, however, there can be times where several groups are at the same location. We ask that you respect other people’s legal right to protest as well, and work to share the same space.
There may be times where non-protest related events have been booked and paid for by certain companies at various locations, such as film crews. We can advise protest organizers if a specific location has been booked once we are contacted.
Protests during the COVID-19 pandemic
Most protest organizers enforce the use of masks and physical distancing, and some even have stations set up for additional masks and hand sanitizer. Please ensure you are up to date on the latest orders from the Provincial Health Officer put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Enforcement of COVID-19-related provincial health orders
The VPD is exercising discretion in the enforcement of public health orders, which is an important part of our criminal justice system that involves many factors. Please note that this does not allow you any special privileges at a protest. If you are contravening the public health order, you may be issued a ticket.
If protestors break the law
Supporting lawful protest does not include allowing people to commit crime, and often the rights of demonstrators collide with the rights of others. Discretion is necessary for each unique situation.
Note: For more information on how police officers respond to protests, you can view the VPD’s public demonstration guidelines.
To advise us of a protest, or for any questions regarding protests in the city of Vancouver, please email email@example.com.
One of the PAT team members will get back to you as soon as possible.
The City of Vancouver requires film companies to have police present during filming to ensure guidelines are followed and that filming takes place in a safe and non-disruptive manner.
Film companies are billed by the City for police services, and police presence may be required as a condition of granting the filming permit.
Only the VPD or others designated by the VPD have authority for traffic control duties. Police must be on location for:
- road closures (temporary or long-term)
- temporary lockups
- any filming that will affect or interfere with vehicular or pedestrian traffic unless authority has been given to block and detour
- any other situation where public safety is a concern
Production assistants may control pedestrian traffic on sidewalks, and the VPD allows them to control lane traffic within an area that is currently being locked down by police. They may also assist in quiet residential areas, but this must be pre-approved and will be indicated in instructions provided by the VPD.
Firearms and gunfire
Any gunfire audible to the public, or firearms visible to the public (whether fired or not) requires a police officer to be in attendance. This regulation is due to potential 911 calls and the resulting drain on patrol strength.
To minimize the impact to surrounding neighbourhoods, only quarter load ammunition will be used to simulate gunfire.
Stunts and special effects
All stunts and special effects must be approved by police and the Film and Special Events Office. Larger stunts will include police during planning stages. Stunts must not involve regular vehicular or pedestrian traffic, and must be completed in an area where the public has no access (i.e. lockup or barricaded).
All fires (larger than garbage can fires) and explosions must have a permit from the Fire Warden. Larger fires will require the fire department on scene. The Fire Warden’s permit may be subject to inspection by police. It will include hours permitted and any other details deemed applicable.
After receiving application approval from the City of Vancouver, requests for police assistance should be made to the VPD’s Emergency and Operation Planning Section (EOPS) at (604) 717-3081 a minimum of two working days prior to the required time. The information required to process the request includes:
- number of officers anticipated, if any (subject to police review)
- date and time (start and end)
- meeting location
- description of the exact duties the police officers are expected to perform
Use of police equipment and personnel
The permission of the Chief Constable is required if a film production company wishes to film police personnel, police vehicles, equipment, and uniforms. The request must be submitted in writing to the Chief Constable. All pertinent details of the scenes involved including that portion of the script involving the police department, as well as a brief outline of the story being told on film, is required.
For more information, contact the VPD’s Emergency and Operation Planning Section (EOPS) at (604) 717-3081.
Vancouver Film and Special Events Office
Visit the Vancouver Film and Special Events Office website for complete information on filming in Vancouver.