Supporting Young People, Keeping Communities Safe
McGuinty Government's Youth Action Plan Focuses On Jobs, Getting Guns Off Streets
The government is launching a balanced approach to keeping communities safe for families by helping young people find jobs and succeed, and by keeping Ontario streets free of guns, gangs and drugs.
Over the past 30 days, Dr. Eric Hoskins, Minister of Children and Youth Services, and Madeleine Meilleur, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, have heard from young people and their families, community and business leaders, and police to help inform the development of an action plan.
Ontario's Youth Action Plan will benefit an additional 13,000 young people each year by moving forward on 20 initiatives including:
- Expanding the summer jobs programs for disadvantaged youth to provide hundreds of after-school jobs during the school year and working with the private-sector to create more opportunities for young people.
- Increasing the number of Youth Outreach Workers from 62 to 97 across the province to help youth make positive choices and stay on track.
- Supporting community programs with a proven track record through a new, annual Youth Opportunities Fund — based on the experiences and outcomes of the Youth Challenge Fund.
- Securing permanent funding for the Toronto Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (TAVIS) and the Provincial Anti-Violence Intervention Strategy (PAVIS), which target illegal gang, drugs and weapons activities in communities by focusing on intervention, enforcement and community mobilization.
- Supporting Crime Stoppers to double the rewards for tips that get guns off the streets.
The government is also appointing Dr. Alvin Curling — one of the authors of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence report — as Strategic Advisor on Youth Opportunities to the Minister of Children and Youth Services.
Getting guns and gangs off the streets, providing positive alternatives for youth and ensuring safer communities and neighbourhoods for all Ontarians is part of the McGuinty government's new Youth Action Plan.
- Ontario is investing over $20 million in new funding to support the Action Plan — efficiencies and savings were found to fully offset the cost of expanded and new programs.
- The overall youth crime rate in Ontario is 23 per cent lower than in 2000. The youth violent crime rate is also down by 17 per cent over the same period, better than the national rate, which dropped 10 per cent.
- This summer, more than 4,300 at-risk youth in 33 Ontario communities gained valuable work experience and learned new skills through the Youth in Policing Initiative and the Summer Jobs for Youth Program.
- Former Chief Justice Roy McMurtry and former MPP and Speaker of the House, Dr. Alvin Curling, submitted the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence report in 2008. The report has been informing the work of the government ever since.
- In spring 2009, the government partnered with the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police to develop a provincial crime prevention strategy. The first step was the recently-released Framework for Action.
“Over the past 30 days, we've heard from Ontarians from all walks of life about how we can help improve the lives of young people. Through our Action Plan, we're taking immediate and long-term steps to keep our communities safe and address the root causes of violence. Young people sometimes need our support to be able to see a viable path forward that leads to positive choices and productive contributions — and our Action Plan supports that.”
“The Youth Action Plan recognizes that it is on the ground, at the community level, that we can make the biggest difference. All of our partners agree on this and, working together, we can make a positive and lasting impact on communities in Toronto and across Ontario.”