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North Huron disbands Police Services Board

August 12, 2022  By Cory Bilyea, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

August 12, 2022, North Huron, Ont. – Council passed a bylaw to disband the North Huron Police Services Board on Aug. 8, effective Dec. 31.

This decision will allow the township to transition the Wingham Ward to the OPP billing model, also referred to as transitioning to a Section 5.1 policing arrangement.

Deputy Reeve Trevor Seip spoke to council about the new arrangement, telling them that this decision does not mean that a new board or advisory committee can’t be formed if needed.

“I want to make sure that is very clear,” Seip said. “As the clerk and myself have reiterated to this council a number of times, the Police Services Act is being amended, which then dictates what a police services board is going to look like.”

In March 2019 and as part of the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019, the provincial government passed the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 (CSPA). While some sections of the act have come into force, others have not. Once in full force, the CSPA will replace the current Police Services Act (PSA).

Seip said that when the new Section 5.1 billing arrangement comes into effect in 2023, any new board or committee will be under the Huron County umbrella, with municipalities having members on that board if they so choose.

The OPP and North Huron entered into an agreement in 2019 to provide police services to the Wingham Ward.

A report from CAO Dwayne Evans dated July 18 said, “The agreement took effect on Feb. 21, 2019, and expires on Dec. 31, 2022. As council will recall, an agreement was required as a result of the transition from the Wingham Police Service to the OPP. The agreement was required to enable the OPP to collect sufficient data and determine what resources are needed to ensure adequate and effective police services are provided.”

Evans added, “Through the OPP contract, the Wingham Ward has dedicated police resources. The dedicated resources are equivalent to those of the former Wingham Police Service. The township’s contract with the OPP for the Wingham Ward consists of seven full-time equivalent police officers.”

Evan’s report indicated that these resources exceeded the need from the Wingham Ward, and the township was credited for the unused police resources. This is expected to be the case in 2022 also.

Township Clerk Carson Lamb said that adopting the bylaw to disband the board will “ensure that the Ministry of the Solicitor General no longer appoints Provincial appointees to a Police Services Board for North Huron.”

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