City Council has approved SafeTO: Toronto’s 10-Year Community Safety and Well-Being Plan. SafeTO represents a fundamental shift in the way that the City of Toronto thinks about community safety and well-being, refocusing efforts on prevention and addressing the root causes of issues that negatively impact community safety.
With SafeTO, the City is taking a bold and different approach to advancing community safety by working collaboratively across sectors, community and governments. It will work to bring about a safe Toronto that promotes and celebrates the well-being and resilience of all residents by:
- expanding the definition of community safety beyond crime or policing to include well-being
- redefining what trauma means and deepening the ability of the City and its partners to be informed by it and respond to it
- enhancing our ability to act early and advance preventive approaches
- developing innovative mechanisms to use multi-sector data to inform decision making and integrate investments
- implementing an effective multi-sector governance structure that brings our critical partners into co-ordinated leadership and action
- committing to a long-term vision of community safety and well-being and a comprehensive plan to realize it.
SafeTO will drive 26 priority actions across seven strategic goals: reduce vulnerability; reduce violence; advance truth and reconciliation; promote healing and justice; invest in people; invest in neighbourhoods; and drive collaboration and accountability. It provides a roadmap for how the City and social systems that serve Torontonians, such as community services, healthcare systems, education systems, justice systems, police and businesses, can work collaboratively across different sectors and across governments to support community safety and well-being. An implementation plan will be presented to City Council in December 2021. The City’s SafeTO plan framework is available online: https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/public-safety-alerts/community-safety-programs/community-safety-well-being-plan/.
Under the Ontario Police Services Act, all municipalities are mandated to prepare and adopt a community safety and well-being plan by July 2021. A provincial framework helped guide the planning of SafeTO with a broader understanding of safety, while centering the well-being of individuals, families and communities through long-term strategic actions that ensure community safety and well-being.
For Toronto to make the shift envisioned by the Province, the majority of community safety investments need to be focused on developing and/or enhancing programs that focus on social development, prevention, and intervention through multi-sector collaboration to reduce the reliance on reactive emergency response. The City cannot make this shift alone; a whole-of-governments approach consisting of effective partnerships with and investments from other orders of government is critical.
In the process of developing SafeTO, the City began applying a broader, multi-sector approach to address violence. The City, the Toronto Police Service and the Toronto Police Service Board, Toronto Community Housing, Toronto Public Health, the Toronto Transit Commission, the Toronto District School Board, and the Toronto Catholic District School Board formed an Executive Leadership Table, with the support of the Mayor. The Executive Leadership Table collaboratively developed a short-term community safety pilot to leverage and integrate community safety efforts across organizations for better impact on the reduction of gun violence through the summer months. Lessons learned through this collaborative work will be used to inform the SafeTO Implementation Plan, which will be presented to Council for consideration later this year.
SafeTO represents the culmination of extensive community consultation, and City staff thank the 1,500 residents who responded to the SafeTO survey and the more than 2,500 people who engaged in the community consultation process. Community engagement included population-specific, issue-specific, and geographic-based consultations with subject matter experts, residents, community thought-leaders and stakeholders providing services related to or directly experiencing community safety and well-being challenges. In addition, internal discussions took place with 18 City divisions, agencies and commissions.
“Through SafeTO, the City will be implementing a proactive, multi-sector response to community safety and well-being, guided by a unified vision and a set of agreed upon priorities. It’s the best way to approach building a safer city, and I look forward to receiving the implementation plan later this year and collaborating with community partners and agencies to make Toronto a safer city for all Toronto’s residents.”
- Mayor John Tory
City Council’s decision requires the enactment of a confirmatory bylaw for the plan to take effect.