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Archived - 2014 Mandate letter: Community Safety and Correctional Services
Premier’s instructions to the Minister on priorities for the year 2014
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September 25, 2014
The Honourable Yasir Naqvi
Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services
Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services
18th Floor, George Drew Building
25 Grosvenor Street
Dear Minister Naqvi:
I am honoured to welcome you back to your role as Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. We have a strong Cabinet in place, and I am confident that together we will build Ontario up, create new opportunities and champion a secure future for people across our province. The people of Ontario have entrusted their government to be a force for good, and we will reward that trust by working every day in the best interests of every person in this province.
As we implement a balanced and comprehensive plan for Ontario, we will lead from the activist centre. We will place emphasis on partnerships with businesses, communities and people to help foster continued economic growth and make a positive impact on the lives of every Ontarian. This collaborative approach will shape all the work we do. It will ensure we engage people on the issues that matter the most to them, and that we implement meaningful solutions to our shared challenges.
Our government’s most recent Speech from the Throne outlined a number of key priorities that will guide your work as minister. Growing the economy and helping to create good jobs are fundamental to building more opportunity and security, now and in the future. That critical priority is supported by strategic investments in the talent and skills of our people, from childhood to retirement. It is supported through the building of modern infrastructure, transit and a seamless transportation network. It is supported by a dynamic business climate that thrives on innovation, creativity and partnerships to foster greater prosperity. And it is reflected across all of our government, in every area, and will extensively inform our programs and policies.
As we move forward with our plan to grow the economy and create jobs, we will do so through the lens of fiscal prudence. Our 2014 Budget reinforces our commitment to balancing the budget by 2017-18; it is essential that every area adheres to the program-spending objectives established in it. We will choose to invest wisely in initiatives that strengthen Ontario’s competitive advantage, create jobs and provide vital public services to our families. The President of the Treasury Board, collaborating with the Minister of Finance, will work closely with you and your fellow Cabinet members to ensure that our government meets its fiscal targets. The President of the Treasury Board will also lead the government’s efforts on accountability, openness and modernization as we implement new accountability measures across government.
As Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, you will ensure that all of Ontario’s diverse communities are supported and protected by law enforcement — and that public safety and correctional systems are safe, secure, effective, efficient and accountable.
Your ministry’s specific priorities include:
Focusing on Policing and Public Safety
- Leading the implementation of a new, fairer, more transparent Ontario Provincial Police billing model. You will work with municipalities to support the implementation of the new model and monitor its impact on small, rural and northern municipalities with challenging fiscal circumstances.
- Continuing to develop a new strategic vision and plan for community safety and policing by working with municipalities, ministers and the Future of Policing Advisory Committee (FPAC). You will continue to consult with stakeholders and work with FPAC to accelerate the development of a package of reforms to policing service delivery.
- Working with stakeholders, municipalities and other ministers to control the rising cost of policing.
- Working with the federal government and First Nation communities to address the sustainability of First Nation policing.
- Maintaining a strategic focus on community safety through a made-in-Ontario Community Safety and Well-Being Planning Strategy that builds on the Crime Prevention in Ontario - Framework for Action and complements other key government initiatives — such as the Youth Action Plan and Mental Health Strategy.
- Continuing to develop measures to keep guns out of Ontario and handguns off our streets. This issue requires engagement at all levels of government.
- Engaging with stakeholders and ministry partners to review issues that intersect between policing and civil liberties to bring forward change. You will consider issues that include undertaking a review of police record checks, the current bail and remand system, officer suspension without pay and the use of body-worn police cameras.
- Working with ministry partners and stakeholders to undertake a comprehensive review of the province’s emergency management systems. This will build on lessons learned from recent experiences, such as the 2013 ice storm. Your goals are ongoing improvement, protecting public safety and adapting to the growing impacts of climate change. You will also work with the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing to ensure alignment between this review and the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program review.
Transforming Correctional Services
- Moving forward with plans for longer-term transformation of the correctional system. This will include: developing and implementing an intermittent offender strategy to help relieve capacity pressures, improving release planning efforts, addressing programmatic and service requirements for female inmates, enhancing inmate training and education programs — and expanding educational offerings in provincial institutions to further enhance rehabilitation and correctional services for clients.
- Continuing to transform correctional services by working to improve strategies for the assessment, care and community reintegration of offenders. These efforts will include collaborating with other ministers to enhance skills training — and techniques for probation and parole staff to better address client risk factors and reduce recidivism. You will look for opportunities to pilot these transformation efforts prior to full implementation.
Moving Ahead on a Mental Health Strategy
- Engaging in a co-ordinated approach and working with community partners, stakeholders and other ministers, consider mental health and substance abuse issues when delivering frontline services — such as emergency response, police services and correctional services. When considering mental health strategies, you will draw upon the recommendations of the Iacobucci report, Police Encounters with People in Crisis.
- Considering the mental health of first responders and correctional services staff by continuing to address systemic challenges related to issues such as post traumatic stress disorder.
We have an ambitious agenda for the next four years. I know that, by working together in partnership, we can be successful. The above list of priority initiatives is not meant to be exhaustive, as there are many other responsibilities that you and your ministry will need to carry out. To that end, this mandate letter is to be used by your ministry to develop more detailed plans for implementation of the initiatives above, in addition to other initiatives not highlighted in this letter.
I ask that you continue to build on the strong relationships we have with the Ontario Public Service, the broader public sector, other levels of government, and the private, non-profit and voluntary sectors. We want to be the most open and transparent government in the country. We want to be a government that works for the people of this province — and with them. It is of the utmost importance that we lead responsibly, act with integrity, manage spending wisely and are accountable for every action we take.
I look forward to working together with you in building opportunity today, and securing the future for all Ontarians.