TORONTO, June 29, 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. The most important element of this plan is preventing gun 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, and Mayor of Toronto, John Tory, today announced that the City of Toronto will receive up to $12.3 million from the BSCF to address gun violence. The City will distribute these funds to local organizations that tackle the root causes of gun crime. They will support community-led projects to combat violence among children, youth, and young adults who are involved in, or at risk of joining gangs.
The City of Toronto is the first of many communities to receive funding under the BSCF. The Government of Canada is currently working with identified municipalities and Indigenous communities to put contribution agreements in place as quickly as possible. The BSCF also complements several other successful federal programs and streams that help young people stay away from gangs, including the Initiative To Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence and the Youth Gang Prevention Fund.
No one program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun violence on its own. That is why the BSCF is a key element of the Government's comprehensive plan to keep Canadians safe. This includes major investments at our borders to stop gun smuggling, a proposed national freeze on handguns, new proposed "red flag" laws to stop domestic violence, the banning of more than 1,500 models of assault-style firearms, and a buyback program, to get guns off of our streets.
"My number one priority as Minister of Public Safety is keeping Canadians safe, especially from gun violence. The Building Safer Communities Fund addresses the root causes of crime by creating safe spaces, empowering young people, and helping them make good choices that will set them up for success in life. Stopping gun crime before it starts is a key pillar of our plan to address gun violence, along with action at our borders, a ban on assault-style weapons, and the recently introduced Bill C-21 – Canada's most significant action on gun violence in a generation."
- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety
"Stopping gang violence starts with ensuring our most vulnerable and at-risk youth have the tools they need to succeed and stay away from a life of crime. Through the Building Safer Communities Fund, we are pleased to invest in important community-based initiatives to help stop the cycle of gun and gang violence, and build a safer Toronto."
- Gary Anandasangaree, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and Member of Parliament for Scarborough–Rouge Park
"I want to thank the Government of Canada for this investment in Toronto through the Building Safer Communities Fund. Addressing community safety has been a top priority for me as Mayor and I know as a city we cannot do it on our own. This support from the federal government will help us continue to make investments in addressing the roots of gun violence – an important part of the ongoing work to keep Toronto safe."
- His Worship John Tory, Mayor of Toronto
Public Safety Canada is working with municipalities and Indigenous communities that have been identified through evidence-based criteria and meet the program requirements to put contribution agreements in place as quickly as possible.
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.
Under the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund (GGVAF), the Province of Ontario was allocated $65.5 million over 5 years beginning in 2018-2019. The objective of the GGVAF-ON is to support initiatives under Ontario's Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy (GGVRS), including initiatives within the City of Toronto.
The GGVRS is a coordinated strategy that will deliver province-wide initiatives across the community safety continuum of prevention, intervention, enforcement, justice and rehabilitation.
SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
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