Government taking action on gun crime in Saint John and the Kennebecasis Region with up to $1.79 million for prevention programs 

News release

January 25, 2023

Saint John, New Brunswick

People in New Brunswick and across Canada deserve to feel safe in their communities.

That’s why the Government of Canada is taking action with a comprehensive plan that gets guns off our streets and puts more resources into our communities. An important element of this work is stopping violence before it starts, which is why the government launched the $250 million Building Safer Communities Fund (BSCF). First announced in March 2022, the BSCF supports local initiatives that prevent gun and gang violence and help young people make good choices.  

Today, Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John–Rothesay, on behalf of the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, announced that the City of Saint John will receive up to $972,992 and the Kennebecasis Region will receive up to $824,018, totalling up to $1.79 million from the BSCF to prevent gun crime and gang violence in the city. This funding will help address the underlying conditions that give rise to crime. It will support community-led projects to prevent violence among young people who are involved in gangs, or at risk of joining them – helping them set themselves up for success in life.  

No single program or initiative can tackle the challenge of gun crime on its own. That is why the BSCF is one of many elements in the government’s plan to keep Canadians safe.

Our work begins at Canada’s borders, where we’ve added resources to fight smuggling and stop guns from coming into the country. The Government banned assault-style firearms like the AR-15 two years ago and will soon begin a buyback program to get these guns out of our communities. Last October, a national freeze on handguns was implemented through amendments to regulations under the Firearms Act. Finally, we recently introduced Bill C-21 – Canada’s most significant action on gun violence in a generation. This landmark legislation proposes significant provisions to combat organized crime and address the alarming role of guns in domestic violence. 

Quotes

“My number one priority as Minister of Public Safety is keeping Canadians safe. Investments in grassroots efforts in the Saint John and the Kennebecasis Region are essential to addressing the social conditions that lead youth and young adults to get involved in a life of crime. Put simply, we must stop gun and gang violence before it starts.” 

- The Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety

“The Building Safer Communities Fund is allowing Saint John and the Kennebecasis region to take proactive steps to build better, inclusive, and safer communities. With this significant support being administered locally, we’re making sure the right organizations are getting the right funding, so that we can have the biggest impact on our neighbourhoods.”

- Wayne Long, Member of Parliament for Saint John–Rothesay

“Keeping our residents safe is always a top priority for the City. It aligns with Council's priority of Belong, which values a welcoming community and commits to enhancing the quality of life and social well-being in a safe place to live.  There are many facets to enhancing public safety, and an important element is preventing gun and gang violence. The Building Safer Communities Fund allows us to support preventative programing specifically aimed at children, youth and young adults who are at risk of being impacted by violence and crime.”

- Donna Noade Reardon, Mayor of Saint John

“We know that the Kennebecasis Valley is a safe place for our residents, and we want to ensure it stays that way. This funding from the Government of Canada will allow our two communities to invest in programs for our young people that will set them on a path for future success.”

- Libby O’Hara, Mayor of Quispamsis

“We are most appreciative of this very significant funding for the Kennebecasis Region. While we are recognized as a generally safe community, it is important that we identify social conditions that could lead to violence; this will help us support grassroots initiatives that will help young people to make good life choices.”

-  Dr. Nancy Grant, Mayor of Rothesay

Quick facts

  • Public Safety Canada is finalizing agreements with municipalities and communities that have been identified through 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. This includes the Gun and Gang Violence Action Fund - a five year $358.8 million investment announced in 2018 - that brings together federal, provincial and territorial supports to tackle the increase in gun-related violence and gang activity in Canada. 

  • According to the Kennebecasis Police Force the municipalities have experienced an increase in illicit drugs entering the area which has led to more youth having addiction issues.  

  • The municipalities lack available resources and/or services for at-risk youth.   

  • The City of Saint John will engage partners, stakeholders and community organizations to develop a gun and gang strategy with prevention and intervention programming designed for at-risk youth.

  • The Townships of Quispamsis and Rothesay will partner with the Kennebecasis Police Force and work directly with community organizations to develop and implement initiatives to provide vulnerable youth resources and education to lead a life free of criminal activity.   

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Contacts

Audrey Champoux
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety
Audrey.Champoux@ps-sp.gc.ca

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657
media@ps-sp.gc.ca

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