Municipalities Need Modernized Policing
In March 2019, the provincial government passed the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 (CSPA) which governs policing across Ontario. Municipal governments provided support for the Act’s oversight provisions, many governance reforms, and provisions to allow civilians to perform some non-core public safety functions.
Regulations required to bring the legislation into force are now being developed and municipal governments are currently focused on:
- mandates for municipalities to develop Community Safety and Well-Being Plans;
- the consolidation of Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) Detachment Boards;
- improved accountability and transparency in police–public interactions; and,
- the impact of the regulation on operating costs and the need to deliver the best value for taxpayers.
Mandated Community Safety and Well-Being Plans are now in place, and requirements to review plans periodically will allow for updates as community needs change. In terms of OPP Detachment Boards, it is important that every municipal government has a voice on new boards for consolidation to succeed.
Municipal governments are on the front lines of providing many resources and services that keep people safe and healthy. With increased societal attention, AMO is providing input into the regulations that reflect:
- the principles of accountability and transparency of policing services,
- maintaining and increasing public trust and confidence, and
- reflecting evolving social needs such as better mental health responses and relationships with historically marginalized communities.
AMO looks forward to continuing work with the government on policing policy issues such as increased civilian oversight, transparency, and accountability into the future.
Ontarians pay the highest policing costs in the country. This includes both provincial and municipal spending. Maintaining public health and safety is a major goal of municipal governments, but to do so appropriately requires services that evolve to meet public needs and expectations, demonstrating a commitment to value and excellence. AMO is seeking to modernize policing, so that all Ontario communities can continue to provide police services, along with all the other public programs and services that keep people safe and healthy. AMO was an active participant at the Future of Policing Advisory Committee (FPAC) and its various subcommittees for six years up to 2018. AMO now sits on Ministry led engagement tables and technical tables on specific issues as needed.