January 2017
Backgrounder

Under the Police Services Act, Ontario municipal governments are fully responsible to provide police services in Ontario communities. In many smaller, rural communities, where municipalities cannot provide police services, they contract out local policing to the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP).

OPP Billing
A new billing formula, rolled out in 2015, introduced a new way to bill communities for the OPP’s services.  It charges for calls for service, combined with a base cost, calculated per property. This resulted in some communities receiving sharp increases in OPP costs, while others saw reductions. The rollout has had a number of challenges, including which properties are appropriately used in the calculation. Currently, ROMA and AMO are awaiting further information on this matter.

Modernization
Ontarians pay the highest policing costs in the country. This includes both provincial and municipal expenditures.  In 2014-2015, Ontarians spent $347 per capita on policing. We estimate it is at least $20 more than Albertans, $38 more than Quebecers, and $57 more than British Columbians.
 
chart of  2014/2015 Per Capita Policing Costs

In April 2015, AMO provided the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services with its Policing Modernization Report. A ROMA board member sat on the AMO Task Force behind the report. As well, more than half the members were from towns or townships. The report contains 34 recommendations that fall into two broad categories: managing public demand for services and increasing operational effectiveness.

This process was driven by the undeniable need to ensure that all Ontario communities can afford policing, along with all the other public programs and services that keep people not only safe, but healthy.

In August 2015, the Minister announced that the Police Services Act would be updated. Throughout the spring of 2016 the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services held a series of consultations.  New legislation is expected early in 2017.