City of Toronto and Department of Justice Canada host conference on Safe Cities for Youth: A Culture of Smart Choices



    TORONTO, March 12 /CNW/ - The City of Toronto's Community Safety
Secretariat and the Department of Justice Canada today launched the Safe
Cities for Youth: A Culture of Smart Choices conference, at 89 Chestnut
Conference Centre in Toronto.
    Mayor David Miller offered opening remarks to the conference via a
pre-recorded video message. "We must have a city that is liveable for all; is
prosperous and provides opportunity for everyone," said Mayor Miller. "That
is, a city of hope and the open dialogue and sharing of ideas of this
conference help us create it."
    The two day conference will present ideas and strategies and encourage
meaningful dialogue to help build community safety partnerships with youth
that contribute to making Canadian cities safer - particularly for young
people.
    "Canada's New Government strongly believes that all Canadians - including
our youth - have a right to feel safe and secure in their cities," said Rob
Nicholson Q.C., Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada. "Over the
past year, we have reached out to communities and introduced new measures to
help prevent crime and provide youth with opportunities to make smart
choices."
    The first day of the conference focused on youth engagement and the myth
and realities of gangs while tomorrow the focus will be on traditional and
alternative approaches to justice and multi-sectoral and culturally competent
strategies. Presenters will discuss a variety of youth engagement models,
strategies and practices. They will also present differing points of view on
the meaning of "gang" and the impact of youth-directed, "gang-related"
programs and services. Those attending will take part in workshops on these
issues.
    In 2004 the City of Toronto adopted a Community Safety Plan that
recognized that community safety is not just the absence of crime or violence.
Safety requires each person to be treated with respect and dignity; to be able
to equitably participate in the life of the City; and to expect genuine access
to quality education, decent housing and a liveable income. Since 2004 Toronto
has worked to develop and implement neighbourhood investment strategies that
focus on youth in 13 priority localities. Using a multi-sectoral approach that
brings together government, private sector, community based organizations,
residents and young people Toronto has begun to create a culture where the
creation of strong neighbourhoods and safe communities has become a shared
vision. For more information on the City of Toronto Community Safety Plan
visit www.toronto.ca/safety.
    In addition to tabling legislation to ensure Canada's streets remain
safe, Canada's New Government has invested more than $16 million towards youth
crime prevention initiatives, which include community-based prevention and
intervention projects to help youth at risk make smarter choices and prevent
them from engaging in more serious criminal activities. These new efforts will
also work to enhance existing partnerships with provinces and municipalities
dealing with gangs and their effects on communities. For more information
please visit www.tacklingcrime.ca.
    More information about Safe Cities for Youth: A Culture of Smart Choices
is available at www.toronto.ca/scfy.





For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Toronto Social Development
Media Hotline, (416) 560-8726; Media Relations, Department of Justice, (613)
957-4207, www.justice.gc.ca


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