HAMILTON, ON, Aug. 19, 2022 /CNW/ - Canadians deserve to feel safe in their communities. That is why the Government of Canada is taking action on gun violence, with a comprehensive plan that gets guns off our streets and puts more resources into our communities. An important element of this plan is preventing gun and gang violence from happening in the first place, which is why we launched the $250 million Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF). First announced in March of 2022, the BSCF supports local initiatives to prevent gun violence and help young people make good choices.
The Minister of Public Safety, the Honourable Marco Mendicino announced today that the Hamilton will receive nearly $4 million from the BSCF to prevent gun and gang violence across the city. This funding will help to address the underlying social conditions that give rise to crime. The BSCF will support community-led projects to combat violence among young people who are involved in gangs or are at risk of joining them.
The Minister also took the opportunity to mark the coming into force of Canada's ban on handgun importations, which compliments the national "freeze" on handgun ownership announced in Bill C-21. As of today, individuals and businesses will no longer be able to import handguns (subject to narrow exceptions). Most importantly, this helps bring the ultimate impact of the national handgun freeze into force sooner.
No single program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun violence on its own. That is why the BSCF is one the many elements in the Government's comprehensive plan to keep Canadians safe from gun crime. This begins at our borders, where we've added resources to fight smuggling and stop guns from coming into Canada. We banned assault-style firearms like the AR-15. Finally, we introduced Bill C-21 – the most significant legislation to address gun violence in Canada in a generation.
"My number one priority as Minister of Public Safety is keeping Canadians safe. Investing in grassroots and community efforts in Hamilton is essential to addressing the social conditions that lead youth and young adults to get involved in a life of crime and gun-related violence. Put simply, we must stop gun and gang violence before it starts."
- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
"Our government knows Canadians want safe neighborhoods and communities to raise their families and live their lives. Today's announcement is a welcomed $4 million dollar investment from the Building Safer Communities Fund to help get guns off Hamilton's streets, provide more opportunities for at risk youth in our society and address underlying social conditions that give rise to crime."
- The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Public Services and Procurement and Member of Parliament for Hamilton West-Ancaster-Dundas
"I sincerely thank our federal partners for these critical investments and their commitment to tackling gun and gang violence with a multi-pronged approach which includes addressing root causes and prevention. With this support, we can continue to make progress in our work to build a more vibrant and safer community and provide all young people with the tools they need to succeed and thrive."
- Fred Eisenberger, Mayor of Hamilton
Public Safety Canada is finalizing agreements with municipalities and communities that have been identified through the evidence-based criteria and meet the program requirements.
The amount of BSCF support for a community is based on two major elements: crime severity (homicide by firearm, incidents of firearms offences, organized crime/street gang-involved crime) and population density.
The BSCF builds on the success of the Initiative To Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence, a $358.8 million investment over five years, announced in 2018, that brings together federal, provincial and territorial supports to tackle the increase in gun-related violence and gang activity in Canada.
SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
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