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Published on Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Halton creates first Well-being Plan

Halton unveils new safety and well-being plan at Oakville symposium

Halton creates first Well-being Plan
Photo by Halton Region
Halton Region unveiled its new Community Safety and Well-Being Plan at the Oakville Convention Centre on Monday (Nov. 27). From left are: Ward 3 Regional and Oakville Town Councillor Dave Gittings; Deputy Police Chief Nishan Duraiappah; Halton CAO Jane MacCaskill; Halton Commissioner of Social and Community Services Alex Sarchuk; Oakville MPP Kevin Flynn, Minister of Labour; Police Chief Stephen Tanner; Marie-France Lalonde, Minister of Community Safety and Corrections, Halton Chair Gary Carr, Deputy Police Chief Carol Crowe, Mayor Rob Burton, Ward 2 Councillor Regional and Oakville Town Cathy Duddeck
By Marta Marychuk, Oakville Beaver

Halton Region’s new Community Safety and Well-Being Plan takes aim at crime and social issues.

It provides a new framework for identifying risk factors and addressing crime and social issues more comprehensively and was the topic of a symposium Monday, Nov. 27, at the Oakville Conference Centre.

Developed by a working group, jointly-led by Halton Region and Halton Regional Police Services (HRPS), the plan is a response to the Ontario Working Group on Collaborative, Risk-Driven Community Safety and the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.

In 2014, the Ontario Working Group released the report New Directions in Community Safety.

In 2016, Halton Region and HRPS formed a group to develop a community plan in conjunction with more than 20 community partners.

Halton Regional Council approved that plan, in draft last April and in final form this month.

“Policing has changed,” Halton Police Chief Stephen Tanner told more than 300 at the symposium. “It has to. Every business must evolve or they will fail.”

Tanner dubbed the new Halton plan a means to address complex social issues, such as Canada’s opioid crisis and mental health issues, comprehensively, and with community stakeholders in open, transparent and collaborative partnerships.

Marie-France Lalonde, Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, said the Safer Ontario Act would modernize delivery of community safety and allow municipalities leadership in defining and addressing local needs.

“Ontario is not a one-size-fits-all province,” said Lalonde.

With the nature and role of police having changed since the Police Services Act was written in 1990, Lalonde said the new legislation shifts from a reactive response to a collaborative framework.

Lalonde called it breaking new ground while admitting others call the changes “privatization” of police services.

“This is a fairly strong piece of legislation,” added Stephen Beckett, Assistant Deputy Minister, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Public Safety Division. “This is a very exciting time.”

Beckett said Ontario has been working with Saskatchewan and Prince Edward Island to make Community Safety and Well-Being Plans a national program.

Once the changes are law, all Ontario municipalities will be mandated to develop Community Safety and Well-Being Plans, said Beckett.

He noted a lot of people would be watching what Halton does as it could be a leader in this project.

Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr said Halton was the safest community in Canada for the past 10 years. “We’re very proud of that.”

Carr said community safety and well-being planning is about proactively responding to issues such as mental health, neighbourhood safety, addiction, housing and homelessness, social isolation and violence against women.

“The Community Safety and Well-Being Plan is a made-in-Halton approach to community safety and well being,” said Carr, adding the plan enables first-responders to proactively respond so people in need get the right response at the right time.

The approach recognizes complex risks to community safety and well-being cannot be addressed by one sector alone — but that a multi-sector response involving policing, public health, social services, education, health care and community-based human service agencies is most effective.

Oakville Mayor Rob Burton, who is chair of Halton Regional Police Services Board, said, “Let’s make this a living project of work that lifts us up and takes our community higher.”

For more information about Halton’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan, visit halton.ca/safetyandwell-being.
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Author: Mayor Rob Burton

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