Given the COVID-19 pandemic, and to protect the health and well-being of all involved, this Board Meeting will proceed as a virtual meeting with only a small number of Board members, Board Office staff and Toronto Police Service staff attending in-person. Members of the public and media are welcome and encouraged to attend the meeting through our livestream at https://youtu.be/WCVKZAthY3s.
The Board Office is actively working towards a transition towards full hybrid and/or in-person meetings. However, this is an evolution that we must approach reasonably and in incremental steps. New technology to assist with hybrid meetings requires a period of acclimation and testing. We also acknowledge that we are currently in the midst of a sixth wave of COVID, with the situation constantly evolving. We must, as always, proceed in a way that ensures the health and safety of all those participating in Board meetings is protected.
We will keep the public and media updated on any changes to the format of our meetings.
Items of Interest at this virtual Board meeting include:
MISSING AND MISSED IMPLEMENTATION UPDATE
The Board will hear a presentation and consider a report from Chief Ramer regarding an implementation update on Missing and Missed - the Report of the Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations. Missing and Missed was released on April 13, 2021, the culmination of almost three years of inquiry and research, resulting in 151 recommendations all of which were accepted by both the Service and the Board.
The update will generally detail the community-centred approach to developing work plans for the implementation of the recommendations, as well as the approaches to maximizing transparency of implementation. More specifically, the update will include details of the work of the Missing and Missed Implementation Team (M.M.I.T.), which is comprised of both community and police representatives. Notably, the M.M.I.T. community representatives have identified recommendations for which they would like to consult and engage in activities to implement. To date, four working groups have been established to ensure community members are engaged in the implementation of the identified recommendations. These working groups will provide diverse perspectives and views that will guide and inform many aspects of implementation, and are designed to bring together individuals with the relevant knowledge and skills to individually or collectively undertake assigned tasks and activities to achieve each group's objectives.
2021 ANNUAL HATE CRIME REPORT
The Board will hear a presentation and consider a report from Chief Ramer regarding the Service’s 2021 Annual Hate Crime Statistical Report. The annual report provides statistical data about criminal offences in the City of Toronto that are committed against a person or property that are motivated by bias, prejudice, or hate, based on the victim’s (either perceived or real) race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other similar factor.
Last year, there was an increase in the total number of hate crimes reported to the Service, an increase from 210 to 257, a difference of approximately 22%. The report comments that the fluctuation in the number of reported hate crimes and the community groups that are victimized may be attributed in various instances to multiple factors including international events, community educational programs, and hate crime training. It also notes that, in 2021, the global coronavirus health crisis and geopolitical events are believed to be key contributing factors to the increase in hate crime reporting. The report details that, in 2021, the Jewish community, followed by the Black community, the East and Southeast Asian communities, and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Two-Spirit (LGBTQ2S+) community were the most frequently victimized groups, and mischief to property, assault, and uttering threats were the three most frequently reported criminal offences motivated by hate.
The Report also provides an overview of the hate crimes committed in 2021, as well as the various hate crime-related education, training, and community outreach initiatives that were undertaken by the Hate Crimes Unit and other units within the Service.
‘KNOW YOUR RIGHTS’ PRESENTATION
The Board will receive a presentation by the Service regarding the “Know Your Rights” Campaign. In 2012, the Chief’s Internal Organizational Review examined all aspects of community engagement, leading to the creation of the Police and Community Engagement Review (PACER) Committee. Recommendation #27 from the PACER Report involved a communications strategy that focused on several aspects, including the community’s rights when interacting with the police and a police officer’s responsibilities.
In 2022, Chief Ramer reconstituted the PACER committee as PACER 2.0, in order to complete the outstanding recommendations from the PACER Report, and to assist with the Toronto Police Service Board’s 81 Police Reform Recommendations.
The strategy includes a Know Your Rights website, videos and social media posts. These education and awareness tools are the product of close collaboration between PACER and the Service, as well as community consultation conducted by Collective Impact. Based on the consultations, four areas of police-community interactions are profiled in the Know Your Rights material: 1) rights during searches, 2) rights during traffic stops, 3) use of Body-Worn Cameras by police, and 4) Mental Health Act apprehensions.
The presentation will include video clips from the campaign.
This presentation is the final element being presented to the Board on this item; the Board previously received a presentation on the campaign at its meeting in January 2021.
BAIL AND RELATED REFORMS
The Board will consider a report from Chief Ramer regarding opportunities for evidence-based bail and related reforms to enhance community safety. The report details the comprehensive context related to gun violence in Toronto, noting that shootings continue to be the most significant public safety concern to the people of Toronto and that the frequency of gun and gang activity has a direct impact on victims, their families and whole neighbourhoods. The report also notes that the root causes of gun violence, gang violence and trauma are complex and extend far beyond the scope of policing. It notes that community members and organizations have repeatedly called for greater coordination between police, community supports, city resources and all levels of government. Additionally, it has been recognized that getting upstream of the need for enforcement and reactive emergency response, including prevention and intervention strategies, must be a continued priority of any sustainable policing model.
The report recommends that the Board authorize the Chief to explore, with the Ministry of the Attorney General and other partners, appropriate methods to capture, record and present in court at bail hearings the community impact of violent gun crimes in Toronto, so that this information can be considered when a judicial official decides whether to grant or deny bail. The report also recommends that the Board engage the Federal government to seek legislative changes to the Criminal Code that would hold the most high-risk offenders accountable and provide strong deterrence and repudiation of those engaged in violent firearm offences, while balancing an individual’s liberty interests during the bail process.
As with all meetings, a recording of this meeting will be posted and archived to the Toronto Police Service YouTube account at https://www.youtube.com/TorontoPolice for members of the public to access later at their convenience.
The Toronto Police Services Board is the civilian body responsible for governing the Toronto Police Service. The Board is responsible for ensuring the provision of adequate and effective police services in the City of Toronto, setting priorities and objectives for the Toronto Police Service, approving the annual police budget and selecting the Chief of Police.