Blue Line

Three municipalities form coalition to reduce cost of policing

April 21, 2022  By Blue Line Staff

Apr. 20, 2022, Kenora, Ont. – The municipalities of Kenora, Pickle Lake, and Sioux Lookout have agreed to form a coalition to address the significant costs of providing police services in their respective communities.

In 2015, the Ontario Government introduced a cost-formula for all municipalities using the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) to deliver local services. Since that time, taxpayers in these three municipalities have collectively paid $4 million more a year for policing than the average cost paid in other communities – money that could have been invested in critical infrastructure projects such as shelter, housing, roads, bridges, and other community needs.

The OPP cost-formula is based on a combination of basic costs charged to every municipality in Ontario, then adding different costs for each municipality based on the number of calls for police services, overtime, and other items such as prisoner transportation and security for jails and court houses, plus the cost of holding people in detention cells.

Of all 306 municipalities served by the OPP, the three municipalities represent less than one percent of the total number of properties the OPP serves yet make up over four percent of the total calls-for-service hours. By a significant margin, the coalition municipalities have the highest policing costs of all communities that use the OPP to provide local police services.

Since the cost-formula was first introduced, each of the three municipalities has repeatedly attempted to convince the provincial government that the cost-formula is unfair and, for them, needs to be changed or scrapped. They have achieved varying degrees of success as the government has responded differently to each municipality.

The goal of the coalition is to work with the Government of Ontario to seek a solution that is fair to its municipal taxpayers and financially sustainable. With the provincial election scheduled for June 2, the coalition members will be asking all local candidates and the three party leaders commit to solving this issue by the end of this year.

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