August 2017
Backgrounder

Ontarians pay the highest policing costs in the country. This includes both provincial and municipal spending. In 2014-2015, Ontarians spent $347 per capita on policing, which is at least $20 more than Albertans, $38 more than Quebecers, and $58 more than British Columbians. AMO is seeking to modernize policing, so that all Ontario communities can afford police services, along with all the other public programs and services that keep people safe and healthy.
 
Chart showing 2014/2015 per capita policing costs: All provinces, British Columbia, Prairies, Ontario , Quebec and the Maritimes
After five years of consultation through the Future of Policing Advisory Committee, a new Police Services Act is expected this fall. Municipalities are looking for three key changes to improve and modernize policing and public safety services:
  • Reforms that improve the effectiveness and efficiency of police spending, especially in smaller communities.  Increased police spending does not mean increased public safety and security. New legislation must consider sustainability.
  • Permission for civilians to provide specific functions that do not require a police officer, to manage costs and effective use of resources.  Efforts to modernize policing must clearly allow civilians to perform some non-core policing functions that don’t necessitate an armed, sworn officer.
  • Governance reforms must clarify the mandate of police service boards and provide resources to support effective civilian oversight.  Designing a successful civilian oversight system through police service boards is a critical part of the future. This must include Ministry resources for board training and support.
Finally, the future of policing grants has yet to be determined. For the past 12 years, the provincial government has helped to fund over 2,000 front-line officers. New grant criteria will be established for 2018-19 and will not necessarily be directed to front-line officers. If so, this would put more financial pressure on municipal governments to maintain these front-line officers.