East Toronto councillor seeks improved safety measures at EDM parties

Community Development and Recreation Committee to consider motion tomorrow

Beach Mirror/ East York Mirror/Inside Toronto
Joanna Lavoie

Ward 30 Councillor Paula Fletcher doesn’t want to see another person die at an electronic music event (EDM) in Toronto.

On Dec. 16, a 19-year-old woman fatally overdosed while attending an EDM party at Rebel nightclub in the port lands. Two other patrons were transported to hospital as a result of overdoses at the same event.

“This is not the first time that Toronto EMS has been called to this venue,” she wrote in a Dec. 22 letter to the Community Development and Recreation Committee.

In the note, Fletcher expressed her desire to understand more about this event and the nature of its risk management strategy as well as how the city can better ensure the safety of those who attend EDM events in private venues in Toronto.

Presently, the city undertakes a risk assessment and has established protocol for managing risk, including emergency medical response plans, for large-scale public permitted event, but this is not the case for large-scale private events.

In the case of the Dec. 16 party at Rebel, the risk management strategy did include on-site medical personnel, but because they were not from Toronto EMS, they were unable to transport individuals in need of emergency treatment to hospital, she said.

Among other things, Fletcher is calling for the presence of Toronto EMS at large-scale, private EDM events.

“A risk management plan that includes the presence of Toronto EMS who are permitted to transport people to hospitals may help save lives,” wrote Fletcher, who also wants the consumption of drugs and alcohol at such events reviewed along with a requirement to file and follow a risk management plan to prevent another tragedy.

Tomorrow, the city’s Community Development and Recreation Committee will be considering a motion by Fletcher’s to do just that.

She wants the Committee to direct Deputy City Manager to look at the possibility of initiating risk management plans for medical coverage for EDM events at venues that draw large crowds. Fletcher wants to see the Committee report back on this feasibility at its April 13 meeting.

Further, the Ward 30 representative wants City Council to ask the City Manager to direct the appropriate city divisions and/or agencies to do a review of the current policies and regulations related to the operation of private EDM venues, especially those that can accommodate high numbers of patrons. Fletcher is calling for the applicable city divisions/agencies to report back to the appropriate Committee with a strategy and recommendations to enhance public health and safety.

If passed, city council will consider the motion at its January 31 meeting.