Government proposes new anti-date rape laws

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By Josh Visser 

The McGuinty government announced legislation allowing bar patrons to carry drinks into washrooms at a press conference at the Ram in the Rye on Monday.

The legislation is designed to protect bar-goers from having their drinks spiked with ‘date-rape’ drugs.

However, the changes will not be mandatory, as it’s up to bar-owners to decide whether or not to apply to have their licenses extended to include washrooms.

This left Nirvana Micco, a fourth-year urban and regional planning student and events co-ordinator for Ryerson’s Women’s Centre, wondering whether the laws went far enough.

“(The Government) could do more to implement this. How will they get bars to apply for this license?” Micco asked. “What incentives do bars have to care about this issue?”

Nora Loreto, RSU’s vice-president education, said the law would be effective as long as there is significant public pressure on bars.

“Hopefully, students and bar-goers will know enough about this legislation to tell bar-owners that they want it,” she said.

Gerry Phillips, Ontario’s minister of government services, said that he believes establishments want to meet the needs of consumers, and that the incentive of “doing the right thing” would be enough.

“I assume that (bar owners) very much respond to the issues of their consumers. We aren’t going to mandate that they get this license, but will give them the option of doing so,” he said.

Rob Emerson, general manager of the Student Campus Centre, said that the Ram in the Rye will be taking a serious look at the new legislation but he’s unsure whether they would apply to have their license changed to extend into the washrooms.

“Anything that will improve the safety of our venue for all of our custumers is something we have to take a look at,” he said. “But we will have to look at all the options because it certainly involves some new challenges for us.”

Challenges include maintaining the safety of washrooms with patrons taking glasses inside, and monitoring the washrooms while respecting customers’ privacy.

Loreto said she expects the RSU to lobby the Ram in the Rye to take advantage of the proposed legislation.

The legislation will be presented to Queen’s Park on Thursday and could be in effect for the new year.

“(This legislation) increases safety for women, so they don’t have to leave their drinks unattended and have to wonder if (their drink) was poisoned with a date rape drug,”Micco said.

“This is a positive step that the government is taking. Maybe they could take it further and make it mandatory.”


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