A massive security detail will be put in place in the next few weeks in Montreal, with traffic being restricted in Old Montreal and a metro station closed as the city hosts the UN Conference on Biodiversity.

COP15, which runs from Dec. 7 to 19, will be the most complex security event in Montreal in at least 20 years, according to a Montreal police (SPVM) spokesperson who spoke to the media at a technical briefing Wednesday afternoon, which included representatives of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), the SPVM and the City of Montreal.

The international meeting will bring together more than 10,000 people from 195 countries, including members of governments from around the world, at the Palais des congrès in downtown Montreal.

The RCMP will be providing security for the foreign heads of state, but the police force does not yet know how many will be there.

"There will be an increased police presence to ensure the safety of the heads of state, dignitaries and the general public," said RCMP Cpl. Tasha Adams.

Convoys will escort the dignitaries to the Palais des congrès from the airport. The interior of the Palais des congrès will be taken care of by the United Nations Department of Safety and Security.


The SPVM will be in charge of security outside the event site, participating in the escorting of convoys and managing traffic and possible crowd movements. The SQ will also accompany the convoys of dignitaries and ensure the fluidity of the road network under its jurisdiction.

Montreal police estimate the cost, including payroll, at $25 million, which will be reimbursed in part or in whole by the federal government.

It is not known how many officers will be deployed, but the SPVM asked its police officers to volunteer to work during the event.

Police officers from Quebec City, Laval, Longueuil and Gatineau will assist Montreal police officers during the event.

The security arrangements include the installation of a perimeter fence around the Palais des congrès.

"This is a huge, complex event and planning," said Cpl. Adams, adding that "further measures may be decided and implemented in the coming weeks."

The Integrated Security Unit (ISU) is coordinating the various police forces that are being called upon for COP15.


The fence will be installed between Nov. 7 and 27 and it is possible that streets will be completely closed to traffic at certain times due to this operation.

A "delivery and handling zone" will also cause some inconvenience when the fence is removed after the event and the City said in a news release that "variable message signs for motorists will be installed upstream of the obstructed arteries to indicate detour routes."

The Palais des congrès will be open to the public until the summit begins.

The Place d'Armes metro station will be completely closed from Dec. 1 to 20, and the executive director of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) said she is making sure that transit users are aware of the changes that could affect mobility.

"We will use a variety of means, including our real-time information tools, to facilitate trip planning and promote the best possible experience," said Marie-Claude Léonard.

During COP15, traffic lanes will be restricted on Saint-Urbain Street, Viger Avenue, Saint-Antoine Street and Place Jean-Paul-Riopelle.

These impediments, as well as the security perimeter, are likely to affect businesses in the area. The city indicated that "staff dedicated to the accompaniment and monitoring of companies, institutions, hotels, restaurants and businesses in the area will be on foot to inform them of the impacts of the event on their daily lives and take into account their imperatives."

Restaurateurs, convenience store employees, pharmacy employees and all people who usually work inside the Palais des congrès will have to obtain accreditation from the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, in order to get to work.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published in French on Nov. 2, 2022.