Ontario Newsroom

A History of Coordinated Effort To Stop Guns and Gangs

Archived Backgrounder

A History of Coordinated Effort To Stop Guns and Gangs

The McGuinty government and its justice partners have formed a united front to combat violence, guns and gangs. This collaboration has grown as we continue to find new ways to strengthen public protection. January 2004 - The first "Guns and Gangs Crown" - A Crown attorney is assigned to work directly with Toronto Police Service to provide early legal expertise in the investigation and prosecution of gangs and gang-related cases. October 2005 - Expansion of the Guns and Gangs Task Force by adding 26 experienced police officers and 32 additional Crown attorneys to work exclusively on gun and gang cases. January 2006 - Funding for Guns and Gangs Operations Centre and TAVIS - A $51 million strategy to combat gun crime including the addition of 31 gun and gang prosecutors, bringing the number of Crowns on the Guns and Gangs Task Force to 64, and including the establishment of major crime courtrooms and $26 million to create a new, state-of-the-art Operations Centre for the Guns and Gangs Task Force. This initiative also included $7 million for Toronto police to establish the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) as the Guns and Gangs Task Force's "on-the-ground" presence in high-priority neighbourhoods. This funding provided surveillance cameras in high-risk areas and three rapid response teams each consisting of 18 highly trained police officers, specializing in drugs and gun interdiction. These officers also make community contacts to get at-risk neighbourhoods on the right track. May 2006 - Provincial Expansion of Guns and Gangs Task Force - The deployment of specialized anti-gun and gang Crowns to all six regions in the province. An Information Technology Crown prosecutor and Crown police specialist are also appointed to support gun and gang-related prosecutions province-wide. December 2006 - Major Crime Courts - The first major crime court is unveiled in Toronto, including extra security measures, a prisoner box that can accommodate multiple accused and larger jury boxes. A second major crime court in Toronto began operating in late 2007. February 2007 - Opening of the Guns and Gangs Operations Centre - The Centre begins operating at an undisclosed location in the Greater Toronto Area. It houses approximately 270 full-time dedicated staff including police, Crown prosecutors, victim and witness support workers, and probation and parole officers. The Centre is the first of its kind in Canada and is equipped with the latest technology in forensic testing. This cooperative crime-fighting model cuts the time needed to investigate, find, charge and prosecute those responsible for gun and gang related crime - in one case, collaboration resulted in an extensive wiretap application being prepared in a quarter of the time. June 2007 - Expanded Guns and Gangs and Anti-Violence Intervention Program - Additional support of $12 million to further combat guns and gangs, organized crime and illegal drugs in Ontario. This includes $6.3 million to establish a Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS) in 15 communities outside of Toronto. The government also announces $5 million for TAVIS and to help create a fourth rapid response team dedicated to Toronto's Entertainment District. July 2007 - Anti-Gun Smuggling Investments - 200 new OPP officers, including 53 officers for the OPP-led Provincial Weapons Enforcement Unit (PWEU) dedicated to combating illegal guns, and six new anti-gun smuggling Crown attorneys to better track, investigate and stem the flow of handguns and restricted guns across the province. June 2008 - Justice on Target - A four-year Justice on Target strategy to create a faster, more effective criminal justice system in Ontario. By reducing delay in our criminal courts, the justice system will more quickly deal with less complex cases, and allow all justice participants to maximize the resources available for the most serious and complex cases. November 2008 - Major Case Advisory Crowns - Major Case Crown attorneys to be embedded in police stations, an innovative model of police-prosecution collaboration that focuses on the pre-charge advisory stage of large and complex cases, starting in Toronto, Peel Region, Ottawa and Windsor. November 2008 - Exit Point Task Force - Specialized senior Crown attorneys who will provide advice to Crown prosecutors across Ontario at the main "exit points" of the justice system - bail, sentencing, post-sentence, and to help ensure additional support is provided at every stage to keep repeat violent offenders off our streets. A working group involving representatives from eight police agencies and from the Ministries of the Attorney General and Community Safety and Correctional Services has begun meeting regularly to find additional ways to address the issue of repeat violent offenders. January 2009 - PAVIS expands - Inclusion of the City of Greater Sudbury, Nishnawbe-Aski and Kingston police services. 17 police services now participate in PAVIS: Amherstburg, Brantford, Durham, Greater Sudbury, Halton, Hamilton, Kingston, LaSalle, London, Niagara, Nishnawbe-Aski, Ottawa, Peel, Thunder Bay, Waterloo, Windsor and York Region. June 2009 - Additional PAVIS funding - PAVIS receives an additional $8.9 million over the next two years to fight gun and gang activity. July 2009 - Additional TAVIS funding - An additional $10 million for TAVIS over two years, bringing total investment to $27 million. January 2011 - PAVIS funding extended for another two years - $15 million over the next two years to fund and expand the progam beyond the 17 police services that are taking part. May 2011 - PAVIS progam expanded to five new police services - The Anishnabek, Barrie, Belleville, Guelph and Treaty Three police services will now be part of PAVIS. July 2011 - Additional TAVIS funding - An additional $10 million for TAVIS over two years, bringing total investment to $37 million. TAVIS results - As of the end of 2010, TAVIS has resulted in:

  • 19,065 arrests
  • the seizure of 1,210 firearms
  • and more than 450,000 contacts between police officers and residents or businesses.

Media Contacts

  • Greg Flood

    Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services Communications Branch


  • Brendan Crawley

    Ministry of the Attorney General Communications Branch




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