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June 30, 2016
News Release - City of Toronto, Province of Ontario and Government of Canada announce new joint initiatives to increase community safety
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale, MP Marco Mendicino (Eglinton-Lawrence), Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, Ontario Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services David Orazietti, Toronto Mayor John Tory and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders today announced three initiatives aimed at increasing community safety and decreasing violence in Toronto.

These initiatives are:

• A new Intervention Fund that will provide counselling and crisis response teams in neighbourhoods that have experienced violence.
• Through further supports from the Province’s Situation Table initiative, Toronto’s FOCUS program will expand efforts to identify individuals, groups or places that are at high risk of criminal behaviour and engage youth workers, police, and mental health experts to de-escalate violence and potential criminal behaviour as early as possible.
• Pilot a new City-wide program that would direct some youth charged with a criminal offence to community service as opposed to jail, offering them an opportunity to reintegrate into their communities.

These programs are in addition to ongoing enforcement and investigations of criminal organizations and gangs being conducted by Toronto Police in partnership with other police agencies.

"Public safety is a responsibility of all three levels of government. The people of Toronto want to see us working together to make their communities safer. And the creation and expansion of these programs will help increase safety and decrease violence in our communities," said Mayor Tory.

“Everyone deserves to feel safe in their community. We all have a role to play to ensure that our communities remain safe and that everyone has an opportunity to be at their best. These programs will help address the root causes of crime by giving the right supports to those who need them most”, said Ontario’s Attorney General Naqvi.

“We all want a safer Ontario and I am pleased to work with my federal and municipal partners to deliver the programs we need to do just that. Crime is a complex problem that requires everyone coming to the table to achieve meaningful results,” said Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Orazietti.

"The Government of Canada is anxious to work with provincial, municipal and community-based partners to build stronger, safer communities. We all need to get beyond jurisdictional stovepipes to ensure seamless collaboration, and we need holistic approaches to focus proactively on crime prevention. Federal initiatives are in place to combat gangs, interdict illegal weapons and boost community safety. We will build on these, while also investing in more resilient neighbourhoods through better housing and transit, better access to learning and skills, and better job opportunities for young people” said federal Minister for Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Goodale.

A New Intervention Fund

The City of Toronto, in partnership with Toronto Community Housing, has created an Intervention Fund to provide services to communities where a violent act has taken place and has had impact on the communities' living conditions, health or coping capacity. Services include counselling support, provision of safe places outside the community for healing sessions, focus groups, creation of neighbourhood crisis response teams, youth engagement programs and relationship-building activities with the Toronto Police Service.

Expansion of the FOCUS Program

The Province of Ontario will provide temporary resources to expand the Furthering Our Community by Uniting Services (FOCUS) program through their Situation Table initiative, to expand it across the city. This innovative community safety and well-being initiative led by the City, United Way Toronto and the Toronto Police Service aims to reduce crime, victimization and improve community resiliency and well-being.

FOCUS brings a multi-agency team of local health providers, social workers, housing workers, justice professionals, mental health workers, youth workers and police to a weekly situation table. Together the team identifies individuals, groups and places that are at a high risk of being involved in criminal behaviour or harm to community members. By leveraging the skills and resources of the situation table partners, an intervention approach is determined and is acted upon immediately.

A New Pre-Charge Diversion Program

This fall, Pre-Charge Diversion Program will be piloted across the city. This program, supported by all three levels of government, aims to better leverage existing programs for support youth (ages 12 to 17) who have been accused of a criminal offence. As an alternative to facing criminal charges and going to court, some youth may be referred by police to attend a community program that will provide them with supports to reduce the roots of criminal activity.

Toronto is Canada's largest city, the fourth largest in North America, and home to a diverse population of about 2.8 million people. It is a global centre for business, finance, arts and culture and is consistently ranked one of the world's most livable cities. For information on non-emergency City services and programs, Toronto residents, businesses and visitors can visit, call 311, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, or follow us @TorontoComms.

Media Contact
Jennifer Wing
Strategic Communications

Keerthana Kamalavasan
Office of the Mayor

Clare Graham
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services



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