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Regional police feeling pinch of new provincial grant program

Under the new, re-aligned "Community Safety and Policing" grant (CSP) program, Regional Police could be dealing with a minimum shortfall in the range of $828,095
Erin Anderson/KitchenerToday

A new way of dealing with provincial grants could be putting Waterloo Regional Police in a big hole.

The Ministry of the Solicitor General says as of April 1, a number of existing grants was repurposed into one grant, called the "Community Safety and Policing" grant, or a CSP grant for short.  And Regional Police say the CSP grant "will have implications" on their funding levels and could impact the 2019 budget.

But by how much?

While there were many numbers presented to the Police Services Board Wednesday morning, the big one is that because of this re-alignment, the allocation of funds for local initiatives could see a reduction of $828,095, or about 25 per cent.  But that number could go up.

Here's how it works out.  Beforehand, Regional Police would participate in three traditional grant programs and would typically get just over $3.3 million dollars.

But, this new stream means just under $2.5 million can be allocated for local initiatives.

That number could change, as that dollar figure accounts for if Regional Police have 100 per cent of funding they applied for approved.

"If we pro-rate the local initiatives allocation for nine months (April 1, 2019 to end of year), the impact to 2019 budget would be $1,449,167," the police report says, "All traditional grant programs were spent and recognized as revenue in 2018."

Police can only submit a maximum of four applications when it comes to local initiatives, and police not only have to identify local outcomes, they must also have them align with one or both of the provincial outcomes:

  • Providing police services with the necessary tools and resources to enable the deployment of front-line police officers when and where they are needed most
  • Supporting police services as they implement public safety and community policing initiatives

That takes care of one of the two funding streams under the new CSP.

The other is for provincial initiatives, which will be an application process where police services across Ontario will be competing for a chunk of a $3.9 million dollar fund.

For that, each service can file a maximum of two applications.

Much like the local initiatives, these applications must align with the provincial outcomes and identifies local outcomes.  But they must also align to one or more of three things: gun and gang violence, sexual violence and harassment, and/or human trafficking.

On top of this, the report indicates there will be $5.1 million dollars in funding available through a Gun and Gang Specialized Investigations Fund.

But not much is known about that fund at this point, and more details will roll out on it at a future date.

All of this comes after the province started reviewing grant programs "to ensure long-term sustainability, to ensure they continue to align with priority needs of Ontario communities and provincial objectives, meet tangible outcomes, and are effective in reducing crime-related activity in Ontario."

The new grant is described as "outcomes-based to better align with local and provincial priorities, with a focus on effective and integrated service delivery, improved flexibility for local needs and priorities related to safety and well-being and to encourage inter-jurisdictional and multi-sectoral approaches."

CLICK HERE to see the full report to the board, with this specific item being on the last four pages.

Meantime, Marion Ringuette, the Press Secretary at the Office of the Solicitor General, released a statement in regards to this.

"The financial situation left behind by the Liberal government has put the long-term sustainability of police funding at risk. Our government will protect what matters most, which is why we've maintained funding levels available to police services.

While the vast majority of the funding will be available to police for local priorities, we've created a stream accessible by police services to tackle the most heinous crimes, including human trafficking, online child exploitation, and violent gun and gang activity. 

Criminals don't respect geographical boundaries. That's why we will encourage collaborations between police services so we can lock-up the most dangerous criminals.

We're also providing municipalities and police services greater certainty by moving to a three year funding cycle. This is in direct response to concerns raised by our partners in community safety.

Our government will protect what matters most, and few things matter more than the security of our families. 

This transformation will ensure the long-term sustainability of police grants in Ontario, and allow us to make further investments in community safety, just as we have as gun violence increases in Toronto; gangs become more prominent in Ottawa; and smaller police services struggle with gangs moving into their communities."


Mark Pare

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