Government of Canada provides support for at-risk youth in Toronto

News release

December 20, 2018
Toronto, Ontario
Public Safety Canada

Many at-risk, vulnerable young people are often lured into joining gangs, or seeing a life of crime as their only option in their communities. The Government of Canada makes it a priority to support these young people through preventative programming for at-risk youth to help them confront their challenges, build trust and confidence, and discover a better path.

Today, the Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction, announced more than $7 million in federal funding for two projects in Toronto to help prevent young people from joining gangs and to provide intervention programs in the community. These projects have been funded under the Youth Gang Prevention Fund (YGPF), part of the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS). The Government of Canada invested an additional $2 million in the YGPF as part of its commitment to community funding under the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence (ITAAGGV). The YGPF fund supports vulnerable populations at-risk of joining gangs and becoming involved in gun violence.

The first project is the City of Toronto’s Community Healing Project for Crime Prevention and Intervention. This innovative project is aimed at addressing the root causes of youth gang involvement. Federal funding for this program is $6.76 million dollars over five years.

Over the five years, the program is expected to reach 1,350 young people. It will certify 250 young people as “Peer Healers” to work with those young people who are vulnerable to involvement in gangs and violence.

The second project is for federal funding of up to $400,000 over two years to the Toronto Police Service for an enhanced Neighbourhood Officer Program in eight priority Toronto neighbourhoods. This “Life Skills to Succeed” project will include life skills training and gang prevention training for at-risk young people.  

The Neighbourhood Officer Program focuses on crime prevention, community safety and engagement, and reducing victimization at the community level.

Quotes

“These projects will train hundreds of young people to help their peers who are in danger of falling into gang activity, increasing life-long resiliency, and ultimately, reduced gang activity to keep our communities safe. They will make a meaningful and positive difference for Toronto’s young people and for their communities. These kinds of community outreach are effective and efficient at preventing crime while enhancing neighbourhood engagement.”

- The Honourable Bill Blair, Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction

“Combating gun violence requires a coordinated effort that includes funding for programs and services that address the root causes for gun violence and legislative changes to gun laws. The Community Healing Project is one of many programs and initiatives we’ve identified to help make a difference in the lives of young Torontonians and encourage them to turn away and heal from violence. Thank you to the Government of Canada for recognizing the importance of these two programs by investing in them, our communities and its residents. We look forward to continuing to work together to invest in neighbourhoods and families.”

- John Tory, Mayor of the City of Toronto

“One of the goals of our Neighbourhood Officer Program is to connect community members with the right resources and build relationships based on trust and cooperation. With these funds, the Life Skills to Succeed project will ensure 360 young people in eight neighbourhoods are given the chance to learn from experts and work with police officers.  With this program, they can break the cycle and be given every opportunity possible to contribute to the safety of our communities rather than choosing a life of crime”.

- Chief of Police Mark Saunders, Toronto Police Service

Quick facts

  • From April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018, the Government of Canada supported 77 community-based crime prevention projects across Canada.

  • The National Crime Prevention Strategy provides national leadership on cost-effective ways to prevent and reduce crime among at-risk populations and vulnerable communities by intervening to mitigate the underlying factors that put individuals at risk of offending.

  • The NCPS funds programs that reach out to young people through schools, community centres and neighbourhood organizations to help steer them away from drugs, gangs and other potentially harmful activities. It also helps to support programs that provide counseling and support to build stronger communities.

Associated links

Contacts

Marie-Emmanuelle Cadieux
Senior Communications Advisor
Office of the Minister of Border Security and Organized Crime Reduction
marie-emmanuelle.cadieux@canada.ca

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657
ps.mediarelations-relationsaveclesmedias.sp@canada.ca


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