Public Health and Safety Association Conducting PTSD Needs Assessment

The Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA) is conducting a needs assessment as part of their process to develop new training and awareness around post-traumatic stress disorder. Please see below for a message from PSHSA:

The Public Services Health and Safety Association (PSHSA) is conducting a needs assessment for the development of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Awareness and Anti-Stigma Training.

For all organizations interested in PTSD Prevention a great first step in your PTSD Prevention activities is ensuring that everyone in your organization has an understanding of what PTSD is and how to have a workplace culture that promotes early help seeking.

To help you build awareness in your organization, PSHSA will be developing PTSD and Anti-Stigma Awareness training that organizations can use to educate staff and supervisors.

This survey will only take about 10 minutes. Click here to answer this survey now.

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Tulloch Report on Police Oversight Released

Last week Ontario Justice Michael Tulloch released his independent review of Ontario’s police oversight system. The review, which was created to improve the transparency and accountability of the province’s three police oversight bodies, resulted in 129 recommendations to help transform police oversight in Ontario. The government responded by identifying five recommendations that it will immediately work to address.

Read Justice Tulloch’s report here.

For more:

Ministry of the Attorney General: Ontario Improving Transparency and Accountability in Police Oversight

Ministry of Community Safety Provides Updates on Policing Grants

Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services Marie-France Lalonde wrote to Heads of Municipal Councils and Police Services Boards last week to provide an update on changes to key policing grants. According to the Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO), Minister Lalonde’s letter promised a one-year delay in the implementation of a number of changes to three policing grant programs that have been used by municipalities to fund 2,000 front-line officers for the past twelve years (the Community Policing Partnerships Grant, the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy, and the Safer Communities 1,000 Officers Partnership grant). While the announcement does not alter the ultimate outcome of the government’s changes to these granting programs, it will provide municipalities a greater period of time to understand and prepare for their impact. See below for AMO’s comments on the changes the government initially proposed. According to AMO, prior to Minister Lalonde’s letter, the government was planning to re-purpose:

 …key existing policing grants into a single transitional grant. This could leave property taxpayers on the hook for $400 million in payroll costs in 2018 without dedicated provincial support for those front line officers. In AMO’s view, the Ministry’s proposal of a transitional, short-term grant with different funding criteria at this time is ill considered. The first priority must be to wind up old grants in a way that ensures no residual or legacy fiscal burdens for police services or municipal government. The second priority should be to design future grants and direct Ministry spending in ways that support good civilian governance and policing modernization.

Report Urges Body Cameras for All Toronto Police Officers

The Toronto Police Service (TPS) released a report yesterday detailing the results of a pilot project that saw 85 officers wearing body cameras.  According to the report “while the technology used did not meet all of the Service’s needs, body-worn cameras do provide the unbiased, independent account of police/community interactions, as expected….” Authors of the report are now recommending that all of Toronto’s 3,200 frontline officers be similarly equipped with body cameras.

For more:

Toronto Police Service: Body-Worn Cameras–A report on the findings of the pilot project to test the value and feasibility of body-worn cameras for police officers

Toronto Star, “Body-cams for all frontline Toronto cops, police report urges” 

 

Government Creates Marijuana Legalization Working Group

The Toronto Star reports the government of Ontario has struck a marijuana legalization working group, comprised of officials from the Ministries of Finance, Health and the Attorney General. According to the article, the government is leaning towards a more tightly regulated distribution model, and Finance Minister Charles Sousa said that the he wants to “send out the signal” that the era of storefront dispensaries is coming to an end.

For more, read the story here.

TPS Releases Policing Modernization Report

Yesterday the Toronto Police Service’s (TPS) Transitional Task Force (TTF) released a much anticipated report titled “The Way Forward: Modernizing Community Safety in Toronto.” The report contains 24 recommendations including changes in five major areas:

  1. How TPS relates to the public
  2. How TPS delivers services
  3. Access to services
  4. Sustainability and affordability
  5. Culture

For more:

Toronto Police Service: The Way Forward Modernizing Community Safety in Toronto–Interim Report

Executive Summary 

Recommendations and Key Messages 

 

Government Launches Police Oversight Review

The government of Ontario is conducting an independent review of the three agencies that oversee police conduct in the province:

  • The Special Investigations Unit (SIU)
  • The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD)
  • The Ontario Civilian Police Commission

The review will be conducted by Ontario Court of Appeals judge, the Honourable Michael H. Tulloch, and will focus on ways to enhance transparency and accountability in the three agencies. Jude Tulloch will deliver a final report to the Attorney General no later than March 31, 2017.

For more:

Ministry of the Attorney General: Ontario Launches Review of Police Oversight Agencies 

Order in Council 

Applications Now Open for Two Community Safety Grants

The government is now accepting applications for Safer and Vital Communities Grants as well as the Proceeds of Crime – Front Line Policing Grant. In total these two granting programs will disburse $3.7 million in funding to municipalities to support crime prevention and alternatives to incarceration. This year’s grants are targeted towards “collaborative and innovative projects that address local community safety priorities as well as projects that increase diversion opportunities, reduce the likelihood of re-offending, and facilitate better reintegration outcomes.”

For more:

Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services: Ontario Investing $3.7 Million in Grants to Enhance Community Safety  

Committee Told to Expand Coverage of PTSD Bill

At its hearings this week on Bill 163 (PTSD Bill), the Standing Committee on Social Policy heard from a number of witnesses that the current legislation excludes job categories that should be covered. Amongst other things, BIll 163 would make post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) a workplace illness.

Witnesses (including the Ontario Provincial Police Association, the Police Association of Ontario, the Ontario Association of Paramedic Chiefs, the Canadian Mental Health Association, and CUPE) identified a number of job categories that they think should be covered, including

  • Dispatchers (which are currently covered in the Bill, but only in a limited fashion according to The Ontario Provincial Police Association)
  • Civilians working in forensic crime units and the Violent Crime Linkage Analysis system
  • Special constables
  • Communicator call takers
  • Investigative support staff
  • Forensics staff
  • Garage personnel
  • Probation and parole officers
  • Provincial bailiffs
  • First-responder teams in northern, rural and remote communities (often volunteers)
  • Privately contracted security professionals (especially those working in detention centres, hospitals, and correctional institutions)
  • Front-line workers in psychiatric hospitals

For more:

Bill 163, Supporting Ontario’s First Responders Act (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) 

Committee Transcripts, Standing Committee on Social Policy 

All Three Party Leaders Open to Photo Radar

Following a presentation by Toronto Mayor John Tory at Queens Park this week, all three major Ontario party leaders have indicated their willingness to have a discussion about allowing municipalities to use photo radar. The change, which would require an amendment to the Highway Traffic Act, is favoured by some municipal leaders who argue that it would improve public safety, free-up police officers from mundane traffic-management tasks, while providing municipalities with badly needed revenue.

It’s also surprisingly popular among citizens. A recent Forum poll found that 49 percent of respondents approve of photo radar-a slight increase from previous polling done by Forum in 2013:

Do you approve or disapprove of photo radar?

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Source: Forum Research

 

Premier Kathleen Wynne:

“I look forward to getting the formal request from the mayor. This is a request that’s coming from the City of Toronto. In terms of the broader discussion, that discussion is going on right now in terms of costs of policing across the province. What I said before is, these concerns and these requests have to come from the municipalities.”

Patrick Brown, Leader of the Official Opposition:

“The reality is, municipalities are desperately looking at new funding mechanisms because of underfunding. The reality is, this provincial government cut infrastructure funding to municipalities, and they’re forced to look at different ways to collect revenue…I’m never going to be dead-set against anything without actually reading the proposal first and seeing specifics.”

Andrea Horwath, Leader of the NDP:

“I know my own municipality of Hamilton has raised it as well, and sent a letter to the premier asking for photo radar on one of our major highways, called the Linc. Obviously, municipalities are concerned about the speed of traffic within their boundaries and they’re looking for solutions.”