August 2018
Backgrounder
Ontarians pay the highest policing costs in the country. This includes both provincial and municipal spending. In 2015-2016, Ontarians spent $362 per capita on policing, which is $34 more than the average of all provinces, at $328 per capita. The difference represents close to $500 million.  

These costs are a heavy burden on property taxpayers.  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.

AMO has been an active participant at the Future of Policing Advisory Committee (FPAC) and its various sub-committees for the past six years.  

In discussions regarding the new Safer Ontario Act, which passed in 2018, municipal governments offered their support for the oversight provisions, many of the governance reforms, and provisions related to the civilianization of some non-core public safety functions that do not require a sworn, armed officer.  

At the same time, there are other elements of the Act that concern municipal governments.  Those concerns include mandating the municipal development of Community Safety and Well-Being Plans, the consolidation of OPP Detachment Boards, and more generally, ensuring that the regulations which support the Act are mindful of local costs and the need to deliver the best value for taxpayers.

Specifically regarding Community Safety and Well-Being Plans, a “one size fits all” approach does not recognize the capacity limitations of smaller municipalities. Asking the smallest municipal government to assume the same responsibilities as the largest municipal government is not practical. Scaling the development of Community Safety and Well-Being plans based on community size is an approach that has merit.  Similarly, ensuring every municipal government has a voice on an OPP Detachment Board is an important element of consolidating boards in a successful way.

In addition, the future of policing grants has yet to be determined. For over a decade, the provincial government has helped to fund over 2,000 front-line officers. Grant criteria may change. It is AMO’s expectation any change would not put added financial pressure on municipal governments.

Municipal governments are on the front lines of providing for all of the resources and services that keep people safe and healthy.  AMO looks forward to working with the government on policing policy issues in the future.