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e-3218 (Public safety)

Initiated by Frances Deverell from Nanaimo, British Columbia

Original language of petition: English

Petition to the Government of Canada

  • Violent crimes create unimaginable trauma, suffering, and pain;
  • Canadians are victims in 2.2 million incidents of violent crime a year;
  • Youth, women, Indigenous Peoples, and other marginalized groups are more likely to be victims of violent crime;
  • Indigenous Peoples report being victims of violence at twice the rate of non-Indigenous people, and are six times more likely to be murdered;
  • Municipalities are best positioned to mobilize services to tackle the causes of violence, but large budgets for policing crowd out early prevention;
  • Canada must act to significantly reduce violent crime, consistent with its commitment to the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals;
  • Mandate letters of Canada’s ministers require evidence-based decision making to deliver results; and
  • Public health strategies that tackle causes of violent crime, such as poverty reduction, education, and health, are proven the most effective and least costly way to stop violence.
We, the undersigned, citizens of Canada, call upon the Government of Canada to:
1. Make Canada safer for all by using evidence-based interventions to significantly reduce violent crime;
2. Engage with vulnerable groups to develop violence prevention strategies;
3. Establish a permanent office for violence prevention, reporting to the Prime Minister, to spearhead action across all relevant ministries, in partnership with the provinces, territories, municipalities, and Indigenous Peoples, and to ensure significant measurable reductions in victimizations; and
4. Redirect the equivalent of 10% of current federal expenditures on policing, courts, and incarceration towards adequate and sustained funding for effective local prevention programs.

Response by the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

Signed by (Minister or Parliamentary Secretary): JOËL LIGHTBOUND, M.P.

Canadians deserve to live in a society where they feel safe and secure. That is why our Government is supporting the development and implementation of a number of measures aimed at preventing and reducing violence. These measures combine evidence-based policies, and funding for programs that address the root causes of crime, and support research and evaluation activities to build the knowledge-base of effective practices and strong partnerships with provinces, territories and local communities. We welcome the public’s interest in crime and violence prevention, as community support is essential to advancing these efforts.

Crime prevention is a critical component of the Government of Canada’s approach to addressing violence. It is recognized that evidence-based preventative strategies and interventions can reduce offending, victimization, and costs to the criminal justice system. Since 1998, the National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS), administered through Public Safety Canada in partnership with the provinces and territories, has provided 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. Through the NCPS, the Government of Canada invests over $40 million annually in community-based crime prevention programming.

The NCPS is focused on addressing risk factors among vulnerable children, youth, and young adults; preventing youth gangs and youth violence; and fostering prevention in Indigenous communities. Evidence-based initiatives supported by the NCPS focus on addressing a wide-range of risk factors. The 2017-2018 Evaluation of the NCPS showed that the Strategy has contributed to positive changes in awareness, skills and attitudes among targeted populations and to the reduction of risk factors and offending behaviours.

Through the NCPS, the Government of Canada also provides support to communities at risk of being victimized by hate-motivated crime. The Communities at Risk: Security Infrastructure Program (SIP) was created in 2007 and provides funding to support private, non-profit organizations to make security improvements to their community gathering spaces. Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has had an unequal impact on Canadians, with an increase in reports of harassment and attacks against certain groups, Budget 2021 announced an additional $2 million in 2021-22 to the SIP to prevent hate-motivated crime. This is in addition to the 2020 Fall Economic Statement announcement that provided $13 million over 5 years and $2.6 million ongoing to the enhance safety and security of Canadian communities.

In addition to implementing programs for at-risk populations and vulnerable communities, the Government of Canada also disseminates information to stakeholders, at all levels of government and in communities, to increase the knowledge-base of what works in crime prevention. Public Safety Canada in collaboration with provinces and territories, launched the Crime Prevention Inventory (CPI) in April 2018. The CPI is the first national database of evidence-based crime prevention programs in Canada. The database, as well as crime prevention research and information can be accessed on the Public Safety Canada website. These resources are meant to help communities plan and implement local, evidence-based crime prevention activities, including activities that can be undertaken to reduce violence.

The Government of Canada is also working to engage vulnerable populations in developing tailored prevention strategies. The Aboriginal Community Safety Planning Initiative (ACSPI), led by Public Safety Canada, is a component of the Government’s response to addressing violence against Indigenous women and girls. Since 2010, the ACSPI has engaged 139 Indigenous communities through a holistic approach that encourages the whole community to identify local safety concerns and become active participants in the development of solutions. Through this work, communities are supported in developing community-driven safety plans which can serve as an important tool in achieving their vision for long-term safety and well-being. In December 2021, as part of the Government’s continued response to the recommendations from the final report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, the ACSPI was renewed through the 2020 Fall Economic Statement for  $6.275 million over five years, and $1.255 million ongoing, to provide continued support for Indigenous community-led safety planning. Further, Budget 2021 provided for $64.6 million over five years, beginning in 2021-22, and $18.1 million ongoing, to enhance Indigenous-led crime prevention strategies and community safety services.

Steps are also being taken to prevent and address specific forms of violence that continue to threaten the safety and security of Canadians. In 2017 the Government of Canada launched the first ever federal strategy on gender-based violence (GBV). It’s Time: Canada’s Strategy to Prevent and Address Gender-Based Violence is implementing a whole of government approach that brings together GBV-related efforts of federal departments and agencies, builds on existing federal initiatives and programs, and lays the foundation for greater action on GBV. Efforts are being advanced in three areas: preventing GBV; supporting survivors and their families; and promoting responsive legal and justice systems. The Strategy is also helping to address gaps in support for diverse populations, including Indigenous women and girls, women living in northern, rural, and remote communities, women living with disabilities, newcomers, children and youth, seniors, LGBTQ2 and gender non-binary people.

In December 2019, the Minister for Women and Gender Equality Canada (WAGE) was mandated to build on the foundation laid by the Federal GBV Strategy and move forward to develop a National Action Plan to End Gender-Based Violence. Through an evidence-based and trauma-informed approach, the National Action Plan will aim to address the root causes and systemic factors that perpetuate GBV, and to ensure that victims, survivors and their families are supported no matter where they live in Canada. The Government of Canada is currently collaborating with stakeholders as well as its provincial and territorial counterparts and National Indigenous leaders and representatives on development and next steps.

Gun and gang violence also continues to be a serious matter of concern for Canadians. Numerous communities have been marred by gun crime and gun violence often resulting in the tragic loss of a life, primarily affecting youth. The Government is implementing effective measures with respect to strengthening firearm regulations and gun and gang initiatives that prioritize public safety. In the 2020 Fall Economic Statement, the Government committed $250 million over five years to be allocated directly to municipalities and Indigenous communities to protect Canadians from gun violence and support anti-gang and prevention programs for youth-at-risk. The Government is currently developing the program using evidence-based measures to ensure the needs of Canadians impacted by gun and gang-related violence are met.

This funding complements the Government’s previous investment of $358.8 million over five years to help support a variety of initiatives to reduce gun crime and criminal gang activities under the Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence. Of that, over $214 million has been made available to the provinces and territories to help them respond to their specific needs and bolster local prevention, gang exit, outreach and awareness programming, while over $125 million is being provided to law enforcement agencies to increase capacity in priority areas, ensure front line officers have access to an integrated suite of resources to support firearms investigations, as well as to help prevent illegal firearms from coming into the country. The Government also invested an additional $8 million over four years beginning in 2019, to the Youth Gang Prevention Fund, under the NCPS.

The Government of Canada remains committed to addressing the root causes of violence and crime through the implementation of evidence-based prevention policies and programs and by fostering strong partnerships with provinces, territories and communities.

Open for signature
March 3, 2021, at 1:19 p.m. (EDT)
Closed for signature
May 2, 2021, at 1:19 p.m. (EDT)
Presented to the House of Commons
Paul Manly (Nanaimo—Ladysmith)
May 5, 2021 (Petition No. 432-00912)
Government response tabled
June 18, 2021
Photo - Paul Manly
Green Party Caucus
British Columbia