Collaborative, cross-sector Community Safety and Well-Being Planning leads to numerous benefits for individuals, the broader community, and participating partner agencies and organizations, including:
- enhanced communication and collaboration among sector, agencies and organizations;
- stronger families and improved opportunities for healthy child development;
- healthier, more productive individuals who positively contribute to the community;
- increased understanding of – and focus on – priority risks, vulnerable groups and neighbourhoods;
- transformation of service delivery including realignment of resources and responsibilities to better respond to priority risks and needs;
- increased engagement of community groups, residents and the private sector in local initiatives and networks;
- enhanced feelings of safety and being cared for, creating an environment that will encourage newcomers to the community;
- increased awareness, coordination of an access to services for community members and vulnerable groups;
- more effective, seamless service delivery for individuals with complex needs;
- new opportunities to share multi-sectoral data and evidence to better understand the community through identifying trends, gaps, priorities and successes; and
- reduced investment in – and reliance on – incident response.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services has been working with multi-sectoral government partners and local community and policing partners to develop the Provincial Approach to Community Safety and Well-Being.
This work began in 2009 with a partnership between the Ministry and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) – together, these two groups initiated the development of a provincial response to crime and victimization.
This collaboration has culminated in both resources and legislation intended to support all communities across Ontario to develop their own Community Safety and Well-Being Plans. Links to these booklets can be found on the “Resources” page.
Mandating CSWB Planning
New legislative amendments outlined under part XI, Section 143 of the current Police Services Act (1990) mandates every municipal council to prepare and adopt a Community Safety and Well-Being Plan (CSWBP). Under the legislation [s. 4(1)], the responsibility to prepare and adopt a CSWBP applies to:
- single-tier municipalities;
- lower-tier municipalities in the County of Oxford and in counties; and
- regional municipalities, other than the County of Oxford.
Municipalities have the discretion and flexibility to develop joint plans with surrounding municipalities or First Nation communities [s. 143(2)], although First Nation band councils are not required to engage in Community Safety and Well-Being Planning by legislation.
This new legislative requirement came into force on January 1, 2019, and municipalities have until January 1, 2021 to prepare and adopt a plan [s. 143(2)]. Additional legislative requirements related to the CSWBP process include:
- Establishing a multi-sector advisory committee, including representatives from, but not limited to [s. 145(3)]:
- LHINS or health/mental health services;
- Educational services;
- Community/social services (if such an entity exists in the municipality);
- Community/social services for children/youth (if such an entity exists in the municipality);
- Municipal council member or a municipal employee; and
- Police service board member or a detachment commander (or delegate) [this is a new addition under the Comprehensive Ontario Police Service Act (2019)].
- 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].
Additional regulations prescribing requirements related to monitoring, evaluating, reporting on, and reviewing the CSWBP may be outlined at a later date.
CSWB Planning Framework
Community Safety and Well-Being Planning needs to occur in all four areas of the Framework, however the majority of investments, time and resources should be spent on developing and/or enhancing social development, prevention and risk intervention strategies to reduce the number of individuals, families and communities that reach the point of requiring an incident response.
Developing strategies that are preventative as opposed to reactive will ensure efficiency, effectiveness and sustainability of safety and well-being service delivery across Ontario. It is also important to explore more efficient and effective ways of delivering services, including frontline incident response, to ensure those in crisis are receiving the proper supports from the most appropriate service provider.
How to Plan
Communities who have already created a Community Safety and Well-Being Plan suggest that it can take between 1-2 years to develop a plan – Bruce and Grey began this work in the summer of 2019 and are well positioned to adopt and post their collaborative Plan before the end of 2020.
Taking a continuous quality improvement approach, the CSWBP process involves:
- Obtaining collaborative commitment;
- Creating buy-in;
- Focusing on risk and the social determinants of health;
- Assessing and leveraging community strengths and existing programs, services and collaborative work;
- Gathering evidence to inform evaluation; and
- Putting the plan into action.
Bruce Grey Governance Structure
This diagram shows the governance structure for the CSWBP process within Bruce and Grey Counties – it highlights the various participants in the process, as well as the steps taken in the CSWBP process.
Champions are public figures who express their commitment to community safety and well-being planning and rally support from the public and community agencies/organizations.
The Advisory Committee should be reflective of the communities being served and should include – in addition to representatives from those sectors listed in the legislation – multi-sectoral representation from organizations and committees who have an interest in improving community safety and well-being. Representatives should have the authority to make decisions on behalf of their respective agencies/organizations, or will be empowered to do so for the purposes of developing the plan.
The Steering Committee is responsible for facilitating the work of the Advisory Committee, and for overseeing the work of the Coordinator. The members should come from sectors/agencies who have a mandate for community safety and well-being.
The Action Teams will be assigned or created to address priority risks; the number of action teams (and the focus of those teams) will vary based on the risks identified, and the geography of the communities being served.
The Coordinator is someone who has knowledge over community safety and well-being and comes from a sector such as social services or health. This should be someone who has working relationships with community members and agencies/organizations and is passionate about improving the safety and well-being of the communities being served.
The Community Safety and Well-Being Planning timeline for Bruce and Grey is as follows:
Phases of Work
Start-Up: Creation of the Steering Committee, Advisory Committee and/or Implementation Teams; Creation of Terms of Reference
Asset Mapping: Reviewing Existing Bodies; Analyzing Social Networks; Creating an Inventory of Strategies
Engagement: Development of Communication Materials; Organizing Community Engagement
Risk Analysis: Summary of Community Engagement Sessions; Identifying Risks; Priority Risk Analysis
Performance Measurement: Logic Model Creation; Inputs, Activities, Outputs, Outcomes Identified
CSWBP Creation, Presentation & Adoption: Advisory Committee to Recommend the Plan to Municipalities for Adoption
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (2017). Community Safety and Well-Being Planning Framework: A Shared Commitment in Ontario (Booklet 3, Version 2). Ottawa, ON: Government of Ontario.