SURREY, BC, Nov. 17, 2017 /CNW/ - Communities across Canada are experiencing the devastating effects of gun violence and gang activity. Gun and gang violence is a complex issue that requires strong collaboration between all levels of government, law enforcement and communities.
As part of its commitment to make it harder for criminals to get and use handguns and assault weapons and to reduce gun and gang violence, the Government of Canada is announcing up to $327.6 million over five years, and $100 million annually thereafter, in new funding to help support a variety of initiatives to reduce gun crime and criminal gang activities.
The Government of Canada will also bring together experts, practitioners, front-line personnel, and decision makers for a Summit on Criminal Guns and Gangs in March 2018. The Criminal Guns and Gangs Summit will be an unprecedented national summit on challenges, solutions and best practices in the fight against gun crime and in combating the deadly effects of gangs and illegal guns in communities across Canada. The government hopes to hear from key stakeholders, including law enforcement agencies, provincial, territorial and municipal governments, community and mental health organizations, Indigenous groups, government and non-governmental organizations.
"Too many young people have been killed and too many communities have been marred by gun crime and gun violence. It doesn't have to be this way. By working together, we can make our communities safer through greater enforcement, collaboration and prevention. The federal government is making major new investments to tackle this scourge and will bring all levels of government and our partners together to confront this problem at the Summit on Criminal Guns and Gangs."
- The Honourable Ralph Goodale, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- There were 2465 criminal firearms violations in 2016, an increase of 30% since 2013.
- Gang-related homicides continue to involve firearms at a rate significantly higher (76%) than non-gang-related homicides (20%).
- Between 2012 and 2016, nationally, jurisdictions have reported an increase in the number of incidents of several offences related to organized crime such as reported incidents of first degree murder (+17%), manslaughter (+12%), extortion (+74%), and human trafficking (+300%).
- The fentanyl crisis is expanding, facilitated by organized crime groups. The production, trafficking and sale of illicit drugs, such as fentanyl, are often the main cause of guns and gangs violence.
- The federal government is also taking action to address the opioid crisis, including:
- Allowing officers at the border to open mail weighing 30 grams or less, in order to detain or seize, illicit substances (such as fentanyl) that may be in smaller packages;
- Requiring any pill presses or encapsulators to be registered with Health Canada and giving officers at the border the authority to detain any unregistered pill presses or encapsulators;
- Investing $100 million over five years, and $22.7 million ongoing, to support national measures associated with the Canadian Drugs and Substances Strategy.
- Making legislative changes to help with harm reduction, such as streamlining the application process for supervised consumption sites;
- Making naloxone available without a prescription and expediting the approval of the nasal spray version so it is now available in Canada;
- Allowing the import of medications for immediate and urgent public health needs, that are not yet authorized in Canada;
- Passing the Good Samaritan Drug Overdose Act, which provides some legal protection for individuals who seek emergency help during an overdose;
- Investing in more than $350 million each year in community programming to help address the mental wellness needs of First Nations and Inuit populations.
- Providing $10 million in urgent support to the Province of British Columbia and $6 million to the Province of Alberta to assist with their responses to the overwhelming effects of the opioid crisis in these provinces. $5M will also be given to Manitoba for targeted health issues – including responding to the opioid crisis.
SOURCE Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Canada
For further information: Scott Bardsley, Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, 613-998-5681; Media Relations, Public Safety Canada, 613-991-0657, firstname.lastname@example.org