The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (MCSCS) and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) have released phase 2 of the Ontario Crime Prevention Strategy as part of the development of the provincial approach to community safety and well-being. The first booklet was the Framework for Action which was released in 2012 with the aim of raising awareness and promoting the benefits of community safety and well-being.
The second booklet called Community Safety and Well-Being in Ontario: A Snapshot of Local Voices, highlights locally-identified challenges as well as promising practices for strengthening safety and well-being. Communities across the province contributed to the booklet and several common service gaps emerged including:
- mental health
- poverty, homelessness and economic opportunities
Mental health was the most frequently identified service gap. Communities emphasized the impact of these service gaps for individuals with intersecting needs. For example, youth with mental health issues who have come in contact with the law have unique needs such as access to youth-specific services and supports.
Some featured examples of promising practices that address mental health service gaps include:
- Community Outreach and Support Teams (COAST) – integrated, community-based response teams, comprising a plain-clothed police officer and mental health worker, that aim to divert individuals experiencing a mental health crisis away from emergency rooms and the criminal justice system
- Community Addiction Response Strategy (CAReS) – a collaborative, community-based approach with the aim of achieving housing stability for those with complex needs associated with mental health, addictions, and poverty
This latest booklet also announces the final booklet in this series, which will outline a framework for community safety and well-being planning.
To read the full booklet Community Safety and Well-Being in Ontario: A Snapshot of Local Voices, visit the MCSCS website.
MCSCS is accepting feedback and additional novel practices in community safety at SafetyPlanning@Ontario.ca.