February 12, 2018

The Association of Municipalities of Ontario has made a written submission to the Standing Committee on Justice Policy concerning Bill 175, Safer Ontario Act, 2017.

The full submission is available here.  AMO also supports the call of the Ontario Association of Police Service Boards (OAPSB) that Boards be assured access to professional advice when at the bargaining table negotiating collective agreements.  AMO also supports the measures included in Schedules 2-4 which focus on oversight agencies and processes.

Ontarians pay the highest policing costs in the country. Democratically elected local officials must provide for the full range of municipal services that keep Ontarians safe and healthy. That includes, but is not limited to, the financial needs of police services across the province and the OPP’s municipal mandate.  

AMO encourages municipal governments to make written submissions to the Committee to reinforce the above themes and/or share other municipal concerns.  A request to make an oral presentation is due February 16 by 10:00am; written submissions are due March 1 by 6:00pm. Hearing details are available here.

Areas of the bill of keen interest to municipal leaders include the following:

1.    Mandating municipalities to develop Community Safety and Well-Being Plans (Part VIII, Section 187)

Proposed Municipal Changes:
  1. Limit the scope of this mandate based on the size of a municipality or where an acute local public safety need exists.
  2. Require participation of the Police Chief (or police service representatives).
  3. Instead of legislation that punishes municipalities for non-compliance, encourage the development of such plans through outreach and financial support.
2.     Civilianization (Use of Personnel, Part III, Section 13)

Proposed Municipal Changes:
  1. Permit the civilianization of court security and prisoner transportation functions.
  2. Permit the civilianization of all specific functions listed in the Bill to include corporate entities.
  3. Permit the civilianization of minor property offences, directing traffic, and crime scene security.
3. Consolidation of OPP Police Service Boards and Role (Schedule 1, Part V)

Proposed Municipal Changes:
  1. Provide assurance in law that all municipalities will be represented on OPP Boards.
  2. Provide some greater assurance in law that powers of an OPP Board are as similar as possible to those of an own-force board.
  3. The OPP Police Governance Advisory Council should establish a mechanism to receive and provide advice to the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the President of the Treasury Board with respect to the fiscal position of municipal governments to inform the government’s bargaining position with the Ontario Provincial Police Association.
4. Police Service Boards (Part IV, own force)

Proposed Municipal Changes:
  1. Either mandate diversity plans for both police service boards and police services or strike diversity plan requirement for boards.  
  2. Require in law that the provincial government expedite the appointment of its representatives to boards and in so doing, increase the diversity on a Police Service Board.  This is consistent with the findings of shortcomings and delays noted by the Auditor General of Ontario’s report on Public Appointments.
  3. Diminish restrictions on former police officers servicing on a board to within one year of employment by a service.
5. Establishment of a Provincial Inspector General (Part VI)

Proposed Municipal Changes:
  1. Supporting boards in fulfilling their function should be a mandate of this office.
  2. The Inspector General should be an independent office of the Legislative Assembly.
6. Suspension without Pay (Part IX, Section 150)

Proposed Municipal Changes:
  1.  AMO support further amendments which ensure the ability of a Chief to maintain discipline within the police service.
7. Waterways Policing (Part III, Section 6)

Proposed Municipal Changes:  
  1. Provide greater legislative clarity to avoid overlap with waterways currently policed by the OPP.