Montreal

Montreal Metro inspectors granted special constable status, new powers

The inspectors will have more power, but they will not be armed with guns when they patrol the public transit network across the island of Montreal, says the Société de transport de Montréal.

Inspectors won't carry guns, but will be able to issue traffic tickets

Inspectors will be able to intervene more when people block reserved bus lanes, or are accused of harassment. (Ivanoh Demers/Radio-Canada)

Starting in July, Montreal Metro inspectors will have special constable status.

The inspectors will have more power, but they will not be armed with guns when they patrol the public transit network across the island of Montreal, says the Société de transport de Montréal (STM).

They will be able to intervene when unauthorized vehicles are in reserved bus lanes or parked illegally. 

They will also be able to issue tickets for violating Quebec's Highway Safety Code and have vehicles towed.

Other powers include:

  • Allowing inspectors to arrest anyone suspected of committing a criminal offence and transport them to the police.
  • Intervene with someone who is suspected of harassment.
  • Access databases normally reserved for police services.

"Obtaining the status of special constable aims to give inspectors the necessary tools to increase their participation in improving the customer experience," said Marie-Claude Léonard, executive director of the STM.

The STM first applied to grant inspectors special constable status about a year ago, filing the request with the Quebec Public Security Ministry. 

Last July, a community activist launched a petition urging the ministry not to grant the inspectors with the additional powers.

"We really don't want to see people coming out of Metro trains in handcuffs," said Ace Baldwin, whose petition quickly attracted thousands of signatures.

Baldwin was particularly worried about how the STM's 170 inspectors would exercise those powers, especially given recent findings that Montreal police were four to five times more likely to stop Indigenous people and Black people than white people.

However, civil rights advocate Alain Babineau, a former RCMP officer, said with the extra responsibility will come extra oversight — and that would be a good thing.

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