Government taking action on gun crime in Durham Region with up to $4.3 million for prevention programs

News release

February 27, 2023 - Whitby, Ontario

People in Durham Region and communities 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, at the Brooklin Library, the Honourable Mark Holland, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Member of Parliament for Ajax, on behalf of the Honourable Marco Mendicino, Minister of Public Safety, announced that Durham Region will receive up to $4.3 million from the BSCF to prevent gun crime and gang violence in the region. This funding will help address the underlying conditions that give rise to crime. The region will distribute it to  community-led projects for young people 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. 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 . Finally, we recently introduced Bill C-21 – Canada’s most significant action on gun violence in a generation. In addition to the handgun freeze, it proposes significant provisions to combat organized crime and address the alarming role of guns in domestic violence.


“My number one priority as Minister of Public Safety is keeping Canadians safe. Investments in grassroots efforts in Durham 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

“Everyone deserves to feel safe where they live. Supporting our communities and providing more resources for local initiatives is essential to reducing gun crime and violence. This investment in Durham will help do just that.”

- The Honourable Mark Holland, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Member of Parliament for Ajax

“The safety of Canadians remains our government’s priority. This is why we are taking action to support community-led initiatives and anti-gun violence prevention programs. I am proud of the important work our government is engaging in to help keep communities like Durham Region safe.”

- Ryan Turnbull, Member of Parliament for Whitby

“Safety is something that everyone deserves and feeling safe in our communities is absolutely vital. To put it bluntly, safety is not a luxury, but rather, a necessity. Investing in our youth is the best way to invest in the future and safety of our region. By targeting the root causes of crime and gun violence, we strengthen the safety, resilience, and strength of our region.” 

- Jennifer O’Connell, Member of Parliament for Pickering-Uxbridge

“The safety and well-being of our residents is our top priority and we remain committed to doing all that we can to make our region a safe place for everyone. Through the Building Safer Communities Fund, we are able to maximize the impact of the community safety and well-being efforts in Durham Region and work closely with community partners and residents to ensure Durham remains a place where everyone feels safe and has a sense of belonging.”

- John Henry, Durham Regional Chair and Chief Executive Officer

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.

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Audrey Champoux
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Public Safety

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada

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