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March 15, 2007
City of Toronto and Department of Justice Canada host conference on Safe Cities for Youth: A Culture of Smart Choices
The City of Toronto’s Community Safety Secretariat and the Department of Justice Canada today launched the Safe Cities for Youth: A Culture of Smart Choices conference, at 89 Chestnut Conference Centre in Toronto.

Mayor David Miller offered opening remarks to the conference via a pre-recorded video message. “We must have a city that is liveable for all; is prosperous and provides opportunity for everyone,” said Mayor Miller. “That is, a city of hope and the open dialogue and sharing of ideas of this conference help us create it.”

The two day conference will present ideas and strategies and encourage meaningful dialogue to help build community safety partnerships with youth that contribute to making Canadian cities safer – particularly for young people.

“Canada’s New Government strongly believes that all Canadians – including our youth – have a right to feel safe and secure in their cities,” said Rob Nicholson Q.C., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. “Over the past year, we have reached out to communities and introduced new measures to help prevent crime and provide youth with opportunities to make smart choices.”

The first day of the conference focused on youth engagement and the myth and realities of gangs while tomorrow the focus will be on traditional and alternative approaches to justice and multi-sectoral and culturally competent strategies. Presenters will discuss a variety of youth engagement models, strategies and practices. They will also present differing points of view on the meaning of "gang" and the impact of youth-directed, “gang-related” programs and services. Those attending will take part in workshops on these issues.

In 2004 the City of Toronto adopted a Community Safety Plan that recognized that community safety is not just the absence of crime or violence. Safety requires each person to be treated with respect and dignity; to be able to equitably participate in the life of the City; and to expect genuine access to quality education, decent housing and a liveable income. Since 2004 Toronto has worked to develop and implement neighbourhood investment strategies that focus on youth in 13 priority localities. Using a multi-sectoral approach that brings together government, private sector, community based organizations, residents and young people Toronto has begun to create a culture where the creation of strong neighbourhoods and safe communities has become a shared vision. For more information about the City of Toronto Community Safety Plan visit

In addition to tabling legislation to ensure Canada’s streets remain safe, Canada’s New Government has invested more than $16 million towards youth crime prevention initiatives, which include community-based prevention and intervention projects to help youth at risk make smarter choices and prevent them from engaging in more serious criminal activities. These new efforts will also work to enhance existing partnerships with provinces and municipalities dealing with gangs and their effects on communities. For more information please visit

More information about Safe Cities for Youth: A Culture of Smart Choices is available at

Media contacts:
Toronto Social Development Media Hotline, 416-560-8726
Media Relations, Department of Justice, 613-957-4207



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