Ontario’s government is standing up for law-abiding citizens by escalating its fight against gun violence and the gangs who prey on young people and communities. By providing new resources and tools to local police, prosecutors and community partners, including initiatives to combat human trafficking and improve intelligence-gathering in jails, Ontario is reinforcing its commitment to taking action where it is needed most.
“For Ontario to grow and prosper, people must feel safe in their homes and their communities,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “Our government is committed to disrupting the drug, gun, and human trafficking that is fuelling gang operations across the province and threatening the safety of families and neighborhoods.”
“Criminals don’t respect geographic boundaries,” said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. “That’s why our government is committed to fighting illegal guns and gangs province-wide and ensuring dangerous criminals who commit offenses end up where they belong – behind bars.”
Building on initiatives announced earlier this year and in summer 2018, Ontario is extending government-wide efforts to curb gun crime and reduce gang activity, by investing in new initiatives to:
- Combat human trafficking, including enhancements to survivor supports, investments in dedicated prosecution resources, and future enhancements to the Safer and Vital Communities Grant Program.
- Create a new Intensive Firearm Bail Team in Peel to support bail hearings and proceedings for gun-related offenses in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).
- Establish a GTA/Greater Golden Horseshoe (GGH) Gun and Gang Fund, focused on supporting projects and partnerships in the GTA and GGH, including Toronto, Durham Regional, Halton Regional, Peel Regional, York Regional, Niagara Regional, and Hamilton Police Services.
- Create a new Eastern Ontario Gun and Gang Team that will work closely with the Ottawa Police Service. The East Region team is staffed with four Assistant Crown Attorneys, who will provide prosecutorial support for complex investigative projects and intensive firearms and gang-specific bail strategy.
Ontario is also dedicating additional funding to extend initiatives that the government began implementing earlier this year, including the Provincial Gun and Gang Support Unit, the dedicated Gun and Gang Specialized Investigations Fund, the Ottawa Police Service Gun Violence Suppression Strategy and the creation of Justice Centres in four locations across the province.
The federal government is providing Ontario with $65 million over five years to fund initiatives aimed at reducing gun violence and gang activity.
“The Government of Canada is committed to a collaborative approach with all of our partners to better protect Canadians from the threats posed by gun and gang violence,” said The Honourable Bill Blair, Federal Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction. “By providing the province of Ontario with $65 million, we are ensuring that law enforcement is provided with the necessary resources to better detect and prevent crimes before they happen while holding offenders accountable for their blatant disregard of the law. Nobody should have to live in fear and we will also continue supporting local community groups to provide at-risk youth with opportunities to live meaningful lives while rejecting a life of crime.”
- There is a strong correlation between gang-controlled territory and gun violence. In 2016, 54 percent of firearm-related homicides in Ontario were related to gang activity.
- Toronto’s Intensive Firearm Bail Team was established in October 2018. Since that time, the team has conducted 378 bail hearings and 43 bail reviews, which resulted in a detention order in 64 percent of the cases.