Province Developing a New Strategy for a Safer Ontario
Ontario to Modernize the Delivery of Community Safety
Ontario is developing a new strategy to build safer, stronger communities across the province.
The nature of policing and the role of police officers have changed since the Police Services Act was written in 1990. As a result of advancements in technology, including the widespread use of the internet, the increasing frequency of police interactions with vulnerable individuals, such as those suffering with mental health or addiction issues, and Ontarians' enhanced expectations about oversight and accountability of law enforcement, policing has evolved.
To ensure that communities across the province are well-equipped to handle these changes, Ontario will consult on key areas of a new Strategy for a Safer Ontario, which will include updating the Police Services Act. The consultation will seek input on how to:
- Enhance accountability and strengthen civilian governance of police services boards as well as how to ensure police oversight bodies are effective and have clear mandates
- Improve interactions between police and vulnerable Ontarians, including enhancing frontline responses to those in crisis
- Clarify police duties, modernize training programs and deliver services using a range of public safety personnel
- Develop a provincial framework for First Nations policing to ensure equitable and culturally responsive policing for the province's First Nations communities.
Further information about consultation dates and how the public can provide their feedback on the new strategy will be available in the coming weeks.
Supporting safe, healthy communities is part of the government's plan to build Ontario up. The four-part plan includes investing in people's talents and skills, making the largest investment in public infrastructure in Ontario's history, creating a dynamic, innovative environment where business thrives, and building a secure retirement savings plan.
- All police services in the province are governed by the Police Services Act, which has not been substantially updated since 1990.
- There are three agencies that are responsible for police oversight in the province of Ontario: the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, the Special Investigations Unit and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.
“Our new Strategy for a Safer Ontario is about finding smarter, better ways to build even safer communities. We have worked hard with police services to make Ontario one of the safest places in North America. Now it is time to take the next step and build a policing model for the 21st century by rewriting the Police Services Act. This represents the biggest transformation of policing in Ontario in 25 years, helping communities develop local solutions to improve public safety and overall community well-being.”