South Huron's Acting CAO brought council up to date on the municipality's Community Safety and Well-Being plan recently.
Rebekah Msuya-Collison explains in 2019, changes were made to the Ontario Police Services Act that required municipalities to develop plans that would address the root causes of crime and complex social issues. She adds, the focus was to move holistically on social development and risk prevention. Msuya-Collison says all municipalities were mandated to develop a plan and different municipalities took different approaches. She says in Huron County all of the municipalities decided to work together, and some municipalities have started to move the plan forward.
“There was a lot of identified characteristics. We have an older and aging population, more than the Ontario average, there was population growth and out-migration, there was a lower ethnic and cultural diversity than urban communities," explained Msuya-Collison.
Msuya-Collison says the Huron County working group worked on highlighting four basic areas.
“So the working group worked to highlight four basic areas that the lower tier municipalities could focus on. The first one was mental health and addiction. The second one was housing stability and homelessness. The third was domestic and family violence and the fourth is community security," Msuya-Collison stated.
The plan was undertaken in 2019 as a mandate, but it is a living document and is reviewed on a regular basis. Msuya-Collison says there is no reporting mandate, but the working group in Huron County has decided to meet at least twice a year. She also notes the issues differ significantly from one municipality to another, and that depends largely on the size of the municipality and the resources that are available in that municipality.