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Ontario adds $16.4M to guns and gangs reduction funding

Last Updated Mar 26, 2019 at 1:55 pm EDT

Ontario Attorney General Caroline Mulroney announces $16.4 million in funding on March 26, 2019, to create a guns and gangs support unit. CITYNEWS/Tony Fera

The Ontario government will be contributing $16.4 million towards reducing guns and gangs, on top of the $11-million federal commitment.

Attorney General Caroline Mulroney made the announced Tuesday morning alongside Minister of Community Safety Sylvia Jones.

The initial funding from the federal Liberals’ “Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence” will be spread out over two years.

Mulroney said the combined funds will be used to create a guns and gangs support unit, “to help police forces work together on major investigations that target the drug, gun and human trafficking initiatives that fund criminal gangs.”

The support unit is also expected to improve province-wide intelligence gathering, integration and coordination between police services.

The announcement also included the opening of new justice centres in Toronto, London, and Kenora. The centres will work with health and social service agencies to focus on keeping kids out of gangs.

Several programs were announced as a part of these centres including a “Keeping Students in School Pilot Project,” and “Indigenous Youth Prevention and Intervention Program,” and a “Gang Intervention and Exit Program for Indigenous women.”

The government adds this approach has been effective in cities across North America in “reducing crime rates, breaking the cycle of offending, supporting frontline officers and building healthier and safer communities.”

Mulroney said the Ford government will enhance these programs if they are proven effective.