Panhandlers and Winnipeg’s by-law: Perceptions and realities
This exploratory qualitative research examines the impact of panhandling by-laws on panhandlers in downtown Winnipeg. Panhandlers' descriptions of their experiences make it clear that Winnipeg's Obstructive Solicitation By-Law and captive audience clause amendment in 2005 have affected them negatively. The by-law excludes panhandlers from the definition of community and reinforces the myth that all who beg for money in the streets are there by choice and are thus immoral and not worthwhile members of society. While attempting to protect people in Winnipeg's downtown, the by-law actually places panhandlers at further risk of violence. In addition, through the implementation mechanism of the enforcers - police, Winnipeg Cadets and Business Improvement Zone patrols - the legislation has a great impact on panhandlers' lives but this population knows little of its contents.