Systemic discrimination in our city deeply impacts the life prospects and opportunities of members of Indigenous, Black and racialized communities, and can lead to disparities in health, social and economic outcomes. For many decades, Indigenous, Black and racialized communities have spoken out about their deep mistrust of public institutions, including the police service. The City has a responsibility to the public to begin the conversation of police reform to ensure public safety for all Toronto residents.
Important discussions on racial injustice, inequity and anti-Indigenous and anti-Black racism within police services are happening around the world, and here in Toronto. These discussions resulted in the recommendations and actions on changes to policing adopted by City Council in June 2020.
Council recognizes that engaging with members of Indigenous, Black and racialized communities is key to restoring trust, police accountability and equitable policing. Part of this engagement process will be to develop alternative service delivery models of community safety.
At its meeting in June 2020, City Council adopted 36 decisions related to policing reform. These decisions included areas of public safety, crisis response and police accountability. At its meeting on August 18, 2020, the Toronto Police Services Board approved 81 decisions on policing reform, including the reforms requested by City Council. The recommendations within this report will lead to concrete action from the City, the Toronto Police Service and the Toronto Police Services Board, changing the future of policing in Toronto.
At the February City Council meeting, Council approved the report on the Community Crisis Support Service Pilot, implementing four pilots for community crisis support services in Toronto.
In February 2021, Toronto City Council unanimously approved the implementation of four community crisis support service pilots that will test a new, non-police-led approach to non-emergency, non-violent calls, including those involving persons in a mental health crisis as well as providing wellness checks.
The Toronto Community Crisis Service (TCCS) is a new community-based service which dispatches trained teams of crisis workers to respond to people experiencing a mental health crisis. It is a non-police response to mental health crisis calls and well-being checks. All four pilots are geographically-based, operating in areas of Toronto where apprehensions under the Mental Health Act and calls for people in crisis are the highest.
Individuals aged 16 years and older can access the Toronto Community Crisis Service by calling 211 or 911. Multidisciplinary crisis teams will respond to calls received based on the call type, location, dispatch criteria and availability of teams.
The progress report adopted by City Council on July 19, 2022, demonstrates that the pilot is succeeding in advancing the pilot’s key outcomes, including:
For more information about the pilots, service areas, hours of operation and how to access it, view the Toronto Community Crisis Service page.
The 36 decisions approved by Council have been grouped into seven common themes:
A major theme from Council’s decisions 1, 5, 18 and 32, is the need for a community-based crisis response model that does not require the presence or intervention of the police. This includes alternatives to police response for mental health crisis calls, wellness checks and low-level disputes between community members, like a neighbour dispute.
A new program advisory body will be established called the Community-Based Crisis Response Accountability Table. The Accountability Table will include Indigenous, Black and racialized leaders, mental health and addictions experts, advocates for the homeless and representatives from other equity-seeking groups.
The police service’s budget will be examined, along with ways to increase accountability and transparency in the police budget process, as noted in decisions 4 and 7.
For instance, the Toronto Police Service has posted its 2020 budget line-by-line, as well as the past five years’ budget summaries. City staff will post budget information to the City’s Open Data portal by early October.
To advance decisions 8, 9, 22 and 23, the City has asked the Province of Ontario to amend the Police Services Act to grant the City oversight into the Toronto Police Service budget, and scrutiny by the Auditor General.
The Toronto Police Services Board asked the City’s Auditor General to independently develop a work plan and perform audits of the Toronto Police Service to improve service delivery, identify specific areas of success and specific areas for improvement within the Service, and to find potential areas for savings and redistribution of funding (decision 10).
Decisions 13, 14 and 15 involve the selection and hiring process for the next police chief. A process is being created to seek input from public and community stakeholders, and Indigenous and Black communities on the values, skills and other criteria deemed important to be successful in the role. More information on how you can provide feedback on this process will be provided.
Information-sharing and transparency on police services policies and procedures is a good governance practice and critical to maintaining public confidence.
Decisions 6, 16, 17 and 30 direct the Toronto Police Service to work with the City to post key policies such as Use of Force, Toronto Police Services Board annual reports, and data associated with the police force’s Races Based Data Strategy on the Toronto Police Service website.
Police officer discipline and investigation of conduct are regulated by provincial legislation. Advancing decisions 19, 20, 21, 28 and 29, require legislative changes. City Council, with support from the Toronto Police Services Board, has asked the Province of Ontario that police discipline be reformed in line with recommendations from the 2017 Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review by The Honourable Justice Michael H. Tulloch.
Members of the public have voiced concern that previous police reform recommendations have not been fully implemented. Based on decisions 24, 25, 26 and 27, City staff and the Toronto Police Service are working together to develop an online tool by mid-October to assist the public in tracking and monitoring the progress of the implementation of police reform items. These decisions also request the status of the implementation of recommendations from the Race-Based Data Collection Policy, the Independent Review of Police Encounters with People in Crisis, the Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review, and the recommendations from the inquest into the death of Andrew Loku.
Our online dashboard will show you the progress the City has made on the 36 recommendations by City Council.
The dashboard will be updated regularly as progress continues to be made.
In keeping with the City of Toronto’s motto, Diversity Our Strength, the City is committed to acting to address racism in order to build a city that is more inclusive, progressive and reflective of the values of its diverse residents and visitors.
This commitment includes the formation of an Indigenous Affairs Office (IAO) focused on supporting City divisions in their work with First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples and all urban Indigenous communities. The Office strives to strengthen the City’s relationship with Indigenous communities and advancing reconciliation, including through the implementation of Toronto’s Reconciliation Action Plan.
The Reconciliation Action Plan guides its actions to advance truth, justice and reconciliation for the next 10 years, from 2022 to 2032. It builds on the City’s existing commitments to Indigenous Peoples and takes them even further through 28 meaningful actions across five themes:
Focus areas of the Toronto Action Plan to Confront Anti-Black Racism and the work of the CABR Unit include the following:
The Alternative Community Safety Response Accountability Table was created to bring together community leaders to monitor and support the development and implementation of community-based safety response models that do not require the presence or intervention of the police, including mental health crisis calls, wellness checks and low-level disputes between community members.
The Table included community leaders working in the areas of mental health and substance use, harm reduction, homelessness, healthcare, youth, 2SLGBTQ+, legal services, police and advocacy, services for refugees, immigrants and undocumented Torontonians, Indigenous and Black serving organizations. Over forty organizations are represented.
The Table met quarterly throughout 2021 and 2022 and has been instrumental in developing the Toronto Community Crisis Service pilots, offering strategic guidance and direction. Members participated in a series of focused conversations to provide input on the following:
For more information on the table and a summary of the table’s discussions, please see the following attachment: Alternative Community Safety Response Accountability Table Discussion Summary
Engaging with the community is key to the City’s decision-making process. A number of different methods will be used to get feedback from various stakeholder groups.
The report Community Report Re-imagining Crisis Response was created to provide a summary of what we heard through community engagement and outreach activities. The report also provides an overview of what was proposed and approved by City Council in February 2021, and addresses the next steps of service implementation.
At the Fall 2020 roundtable discussions, the City partnered with the organizations below to host community roundtables on the different aspects of a community-based crisis response model.
The City launched a Request for Expression of Interest to select eligible charitable or not-for-profit organization(s) to deliver the Toronto Community Crisis Service into expanded areas of the City of Toronto. This REOI seeks proponents to join a roster list for City Council consideration and approval to implement and deliver part of the Toronto Community Crisis Support Service starting in July 2024 on behalf of the City of Toronto.
Call for submissions closed on May 5th at 5 p.m. The City will share the results of the call in a staff report to City Council to be considered in fall of 2023.
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