Community Safety and Effective Policing
Central to an inclusive, safe and livable city are universal access to affordable housing, quality health and human services, effective policing, meeting the needs of diverse communities and an unflinching commitment to equity, and anti-racism. As Mayor, I will work tirelessly with council to ensure:
Over the past year, Ottawans have come to understand how public safety is an integral part of the city we call home. We all want to live in a community where everyone feels safe, welcome, included, successful, and able to achieve their hopes and aspirations.
Effective community policing involves sound law enforcement practices. It also requires public trust and engagement, meaningful open dialogue, and a commitment to equity and responsiveness to needs of diverse communities. Deeply integrated with public health, community development and access to social and human services, effective policing is one component of building an Ottawa “where everyone is safe, has a sense of belonging, opportunities to participate and where individuals and families are able to meet their needs for education, health care, food, housing, income and social and cultural expression.” – “Ottawa’s Community Safety and Well-Being Plan 2021-2031” *
Ottawa police and emergency services face many challenges and need to be well funded and resourced, but they cannot do it all. Other social service and health professions should be more fully integrated into effective policing and emergency services. We also know from recent experience that effective policing requires community engagement and effective civilian oversight.
As Mayor, I intend to sit on the Ottawa Police Services Board and work with Council to ensure broad community representation as well as an effective Board rooted in strong equity principles.
I will ensure people with strong Equity, Diversity and Inclusion training and contributions join the board to address the issues pertaining to systemic racism and underrepresentation of the most affected groups of our society, namely women, Afro-Canadians, Indigenous and people of color.
I will also ensure that the chair of the board is a highly competent person with a significant track record of effective governance practices and ethics. They will oversee law enforcement, effective policing and have an understanding of social, economic, environmental and community safety dimensions.
As last year’s disruptions have shown, Ottawa as the nation’s capital can have unique needs when it comes to safe and livable communities. Our plan calls for more planning, information sharing and coordination with all police forces active in the National Capital Region.
Quality Housing, Health and Community Services for all Ottawans
In these times of economic uncertainty we know that many are struggling. It is increasingly important that social and community support are in place for all Ottawa residents. Poverty reduction strategies, strategies to address homelessness and housing and food insecurity, mental health and substance abuse, support for youth and families, and employment opportunities are among our top priorities.
As well, COVID has taught us that many communities in Ottawa don’t have equal access to important –even life-saving– services. This is a symptom of larger inequities where the most vulnerable face the greatest hardship.
An unflinching commitment to equity requires focused support and targeted resources for women’s shelters, community centres, programs for marginalized and under-served youth, support for recent immigrant and refugee communities, and those experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity.