Today, Toronto City Council unanimously approved implementing the City of Toronto’s Community Crisis Support Service pilots, including the selection of four community partners who will deliver the service to be piloted in four areas of the city, starting this spring and summer.
The report “2022 Launch of Community Crisis Support Service Pilots and Policing Reform Updates” was one of Mayor John Tory’s key items at this City Council meeting and is an important step in advancing the City’s commitment to deliver an alternative service delivery model of community safety.
The new community crisis support service will provide a community-led solution to respond to mental health crisis calls and wellness checks. All four pilots will be geographically-based, operating in areas of Toronto where apprehensions under Ontario’s Mental Health Act and 911 calls for people in crisis are the highest.
The new service, led in partnership with four community partners – TAIBU Community Health Centre, Gerstein Crisis Centre, 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations, and the Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto – will launch in two phases, with the pilots in the northeast and downtown east anticipated to start by March 2022 and those in the northwest and downtown west by June 2022.
The pilots will seek to better support community health, wellness and safety by introducing an alternative model of crisis response that is community-led, person-centred, trauma-informed and focused on harm reduction. They will also allow the City to test, evaluate, and revise a non-police led crisis response before implementing it at a larger scale and will:
Findhelpl211, a service that provides information and referrals for community and social services 24 hours a day/seven days a week in Toronto, is an integral element of the pilots. The City has finalized a call triaging process with Toronto Police Services and Findhelp|211 in which Findhelp|211will be responsible for dispatching calls to the mobile teams and connecting callers to follow-up supports.
The Community Crisis Support Service pilots are one of SafeTO’s key priority actions under year-one efforts to reduce vulnerability through proactive mental health support strategies and community-led crisis support models.
The City will engage a third-party evaluator to develop an outcomes and evaluation framework, as well as report guidelines for all four pilots. Data from the evaluation will be used to inform service delivery and support necessary adjustments to the pilots to ensure operational efficiency and service excellence, as well as to help guide the expansion of the service. City-wide implementation is expected in 2025 at the latest.
The final report to Council is available here
“Today, Council furthered the tangible solid steps forward we are making on our commitment to develop and implement a response model for people in distress which has a focus on mental health professionals as opposed to a police-only response. The introduction of these pilots will mark a real change for a lot of people in our city and brings us closer to our shared goal of a more effective and compassionate response for those who are in distress.”
– Mayor John Tory
“I am very pleased to be partnering with TAIBU Community Health Centre, Gerstein Crisis Centre, The Canadian Mental Health Association Toronto and 2-Spirited People of the 1st Nations to pilot a new, community-led crisis response service that is person-centred, trauma-informed and focused on harm reduction that will keep all Torontonians safe.”
– Chris Murray, City Manager
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
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