At the June 16, 2021 Meeting of Council, Council accepted the North Hastings Community Safety and Well-being Plan on behalf of the Coordinating Committee and approved it in Principal pending further discussions with the Coordinating Committee.
On January 1, 2019 The Government of Ontario mandated municipalities under the Safer Ontario Act, 2018 to prepare and adopt a Community Safety and Well-being Plan (CSWBP) using the provincial government’s Community Safety and Well-Being Framework. As part of these legislative changes, municipalities are required to work in partnership with police services, health/mental health, education, community/social services and children/youth services as they undertake the planning process. Municipalities have the discretion and flexibility to develop joint plans with surrounding municipalities or First Nation communities [s. 143(2)]. This new legislative requirement came into force on January 1, 2019 [s. 143(2)]. Additional legislative requirements related to the CSWBP process include:
• Establishing a multi-sector advisory committee [s. 145(3)].
• Conducting consultations with the advisory committee, members of the public, including youth, members of racialized groups and of First Nations, Métis and Inuit communities, as well as community organizations that represent these groups [s. 145(6)].
Contents of the plan must include [s. 146]:
• Identifying priority risk factors (e.g. including, but not limited to, systemic discrimination and other social factors that contribute to crime, victimization, addiction, drug overdose and suicide);
• Identifying strategies to reduce the prioritized risk factors (e.g. new services, changing/coordinating existing services);
• Setting measurable outcomes. There are also requirements to publish a completed CSWBP – online, in print for review by anyone who requests it, and in any other manner or form determined by the municipality – within 30 days after adopting the plan [s. 149(2), O. Reg. 527/18]. Originally, all municipalities were to have completed and adopted their plans by January 2021, however the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed that deadline to July 1 of this year. The aim of the Community Safety and Well-Being plan is to ensure all residents in the community feel safe, has a sense of belonging and can meet their needs for education, healthcare, food, housing, income, and social and cultural expression.
In 2018, the seven (7) municipal governments in North Hastings agreed to work collaboratively on a regional plan. Our plan is a three year collaborative commitment to address priority risk factors and improve the safety and well-being of all.
Representatives from 30 organizations from across North Hastings shared data, insights, and anecdotes. Two hundred and ninety (290) adults completed the North Hastings Community Safety and Well-being (NHCSWB) Survey. Twenty-three (23) youth responded to the NHCSWB Under 16 survey. Thirty-two (32) youth also participated in CSWB focus groups. In addition, town halls were held across the region, and dozens of interviews were held with residents and experts.
The purpose of the NHCSWB Plan is to detail a strategy to direct public policy, social programs and resources, and community awareness, interests and activities to where they can be most effective in increasing public safety, improving health and well-being, and reducing crime, disorder and social isolation in the area.
Based on local data, and community consultation three priority areas were identified in North Hastings; Poverty, Mental Health and Addictions, and Housing. Priorities were selected based upon their frequency of mention in community and advisor consultations, local data, rate of occurrence, their level of community impact, and building upon current successes.
This is the first regional community safety and well-being plan. Our planning has involved a great deal of care, consideration, and effort with the goal of making North Hastings a healthier and safer place to live. This is a three-year plan to be reviewed annually. Ongoing municipal communication and cooperation are needed to ensure the plan’s success. Accordingly, the CSWB Coordinating Committee will continue meeting regularly to assess progress and make amendments where necessary. In addition, the advisory committee will meet twice annually to share their insights and evaluations.
To ensure that the burden of responsibility does not solely fall on municipalities and that residents, local experts, and organizations are actively involved, the Coordinating Committee will recruit and guide small action committees for each priority concern. Potential participants are listed throughout the Plan. The Coordinating Committee will empower each action team to identify and recruit local and County organizations to assist in the promotion of protective factors. The action teams will convene to develop implementation strategies to address action items by way of an implementation plan.
For more information on the North Hastings Community Safety and Well-being Coordinating Committee please contact:
Coordinating Committee Co-Chair Dawn Switzer 613 332-3638 [email protected]