The federal government will provide the Province of Ontario with $11 million in funding to prevent gun and gang violence over the next two years as part of a previously announced initiative.
The feds first committed to spending $327.6 million on anti-gang initiatives back in November, 2017 and at a news conference in Toronto on Tuesday Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction Bill Blair confirmed that $65 million of that funding will be going to the Province of Ontario, with $11 million of that set to be conveyed over the next two years.
The investment is in addition to the more than $7 million in funding that the federal government committed to several community-based programs in Toronto in December. That money is also coming from the $327.6 million in federal funding for anti-gang initiatives.
“I don’t think there is any greater responsibility for any order of government than the safety of our communities and the safety of our kids,” Blair, a former Toronto police chief, said during Tuesday’s news conference. “That is why we are making significant investments in partnership with the provinces and territories, working with municipalities and working with law enforcement and community organizations across the country. We are examining any measure which we believe would be effective.”
Blair said that the federal money will go towards programs that improve community safety but he said that a wide variety of initiatives will fall under that umbrella, including those that get at the “social circumstances that give rise to violence.
While it remains to be seen which communities will benefit from the funding, Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney said that it will be spread across the province and not just concentrated in major cities like Toronto.
“The provincial government did give the city $25 (million) late last summer. Respectfully I would say that guns and gangs is a growing problem across Ontario,” she said. “We are now seeing gangs showing up northern Ontario, in Indigenous communities and in our corrections facilities so the focus has to be Ontario wide. We are going to make sure that all police services and that all communities can benefit from the federal government’s investment.”