The MississaugaWatch Sniff Test

This question is the MISSISSAUGAWATCH Sniff Test for all Ontario municipal Mayors and Councillors:

Do you support asking the Ontario government to extend the investigative authority of the Ontario Ombudsman to include municipalities?

If the answer is not an UNQUALIFIED "Yes!", ask "Why not?" and proceed with extreme caution.


MIRROR: Complete Mississauga Judicial Inquiry Transcripts

McMurtry/Curling, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS -word-surfing for “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities”

December 29th, 2008  

Hey Missy Dudes and Dudettes,

Just repeating the intro that I wrote in my two previous Blogs…

I’ve been an observer of Mississauga municipal governance of over two years, researching various aspects of its conduct and operations through direct observation (thoroughly documented with audio and videotape) as well as through Freedom of Information.

The Mississauga Muse videotapes Mississauga Council

It’s been well over a month since The Province released the McMurtry/Curling Review of the Report on the Roots of Youth Violence I’ve written five Blog entries on that report.  Click on any one of these links:

In my last Blog I provided a searchable summary —a Readers Digest/Coles Notes version of all instances of the word “accountable” and “accountability” in the 468 page McMurtry/Curling primary document, Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS.

In today’s Blog, I took the 468 page document and did a word search for “munici”.

“munici” would help me find all instances of the words “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities”. Why? Because MISSISSAUGAWATCH believes that Ontario municipalities and their lack of ethical infrastructure are themselves a major Root of Youth Violence.

There can be no better example of municipal failure to legitimately address Youth Violence than this comment from Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito as she trumpets the “amazing” success of the Peel Youth Charter and the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Strategy.  Apparentlly, their progress is so “amazing” that it prompted this former City of MIssissauga employee of Public Affairs, to fling out the word “phenomenal” four times:

“Thank you, Mr. Chair.  As Gael said, I think we’re all amazed –those of us on the Committee, at the success and how quickly we’ve been successful over the past two years…”

–Mississauga Councillor Pat Saito  PEEL REGIONAL COUNCIL (October 25, 2007)

Watch Councillor Saito in action and it’ll help you understand why the McMurtry/Curling “Roots of Youth Violence” report (and at-risk Youth) are doomed.  It’ll also go a long way in understanding why I’ve taken McMurtry/Curling’s “Roots of Youth Violence” and word-searched for “accountab-” and now, “municipal-“

(Click here to go directly to the clip on YouTube and Google Video)

To reiterate, I have knifed through the McMurtry/Curling Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS word-searching for “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities” and also included the sentence before and after to provide context. (We did not search for “local” as in “local government” and acknowledge this work as incomplete.)

Like the previous Blog, this “municipal”, “municipality” and “municipalities” entry is also a work in progress, and will over time include links to other Youth-related reports, articles, images and even YouTube videos.

So we begin:

MISSISSAUGAWATCH Highlights: The report of the Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

(Word Search “munici“) Volume 1 FINDINGS, ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSIONS

 

WORD SEARCH: “municipal” “municipality” and “municipalities” in RED.


Violence involving youth is a challenge for many Ontario municipalities and rural areas.  To help ensure a provincewide lens on available youth programs and services, we asked ministries most impacted by violence involving youth for an inventory of relevant programs and services they deliver or fund.    p. 13

We obtained exceptionally valuable information on areas of particular interest, including addressing social exclusion, crime prevention and poverty reduction through place-based policy and service delivery strategies; the structural governance initiatives necessary for success in these areas; data collection, particularly in the area of race; targeting and monitoring mechanisms; community engagement; and the United Kingdom’s wide-ranging anti-racism strategy. Our work with the City of Toronto and the United Way led to their representatives asking to join us on this visit, and we were very pleased to have the perspectives of a major funder and a municipal government at our meetings.    p. 14

In the case of the first two items, the Province must move quickly to put in place the necessary governance structures. In the case of the other recommendations, and subject to discussions with municipal governments and community groups, we believe that substantial progress could be achieved within six months.

And yet, municipal and provincial planning and design processes are not traditionally inclusive of youth, and especially not of youth who are racialized minorities.    p. 51

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and Its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.    p. 108

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.    p. 110

Prosecution recommended that the Nova Scotia Police Commission, municipal police departments and police commission boards develop innovative outreach programs and liaison roles to provide visible minorities with more positive police interaction (Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution, 1989a).    p. 117

The Race Relations and Policing Task Force and many other reports recommended creating a community and police advisory group on racism training to reflect the community perceptions of policing (e.g., Rolf, 1991). Stephen Lewis (Lewis, S., 1992) and Clare Lewis (Lewis, C., 1992) both recommended establishing a community-based monitoring and audit board to work with police forces and municipalities, in conjunction with the Race Relations and Policing Branch of the Ministry of the Solicitor General, to conduct a systematic audit of police race relations policies.    p. 119

The typical approach of provincial and federal governments remains to identify a provincial or national priority, develop a program and a service delivery model, and then either provide the service or contract out its provision in accordance with standards set by the government. While there is some experience with regional approaches, and some evidence of support for the place-based initiatives of municipal governments, the paradigm remains centrally driven universality.    p. 142

This involves looking in each neighbourhood to determine what is working already, and to find and support local sources of strength. Those sources may be municipalities, individuals, organizations, programs or institutions. What is important is that the operating orientation not be to simply focus on naming problems, but rather on finding, supporting and building on strengths.    p. 145

To advance the strategy overall, the government also created Local Strategic Partnerships with the local authorities (municipalities), community agencies and residents. These partnerships (discussed in more detail in Chapter 9) connected local funding priorities with national polices by identifying urban neighbourhoods in need of assistance, helping them form a plan and arranging necessary service agreements with other organizations.    p. 149

Before we outline Prof. Ellis’s approach in more detail, we should first indicate how we would see it being used to identify priority neighbourhoods. We would regard the rankings determined by the index as the basis to start a conversation with each affected municipality to determine areas requiring priority attention. We believe that the factors and approach used by Prof. Ellis will usefully identify areas for careful consideration, but that the Province must work with the affected municipalities to ensure that local, on-the-ground knowledge is taken into account to verify that the identified areas are indeed the most disadvantaged ones locally.    p. 155

We note, for example, that Toronto has been able to develop a more comprehensive approach to identifying priority neighbourhoods, using more indicators and looking at the local availability of services. These and any similar initiatives elsewhere should be respected by the Province, and the lessons learned from them should also be included in conversations with other municipalities. In particular, every consideration should be given to adopting Toronto’s approach of using a local mapping exercise to assess the practical availability of core public services in determining that an area warrants priority attention.    p. 155

Similarly, municipalities should have the lead in determining the boundaries of any such areas. The units of analysis proposed by Prof. Ellis are small, which permits them to be either used individually or combined into approximations of actual neighbourhoods.    p. 155

The immediate value, though, remains that the index will provide the Province and its municipal partners with an objective way to identify the areas of the province that should be considered as priority areas for a place-based approach.    p. 157

The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services oversees policing in Ontario. However, costs concerning youth-related programs, including those of the Ontario Provincial Police and municipal police, are not aggregated at the provincial level. We do know, however, that according to the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, the total cost of policing in Ontario in 2006 was $3.4 billion.    p. 207

The OPP helped develop content for CyberCops in Ontario and, in partnership with the Ontario Physical and Health Education Association, delivered training to teachers on its use. The Ontario government provided financial support for development of CyberCops and distribution across the province to schools, OPP detachments and municipal police services.    p. 210

Healthy Babies, Healthy Children

Babies and mothers are screened to detect problems that could limit a child’s abilities later in life, allowing early interventions. The program is delivered through public health units, and the cost is shared with municipalities. Other early years initiatives include programs involving preschool speech and language, infant hearing, blindness/low vision early intervention and infant development.    p. 212

In addition to public investments in public housing, steps must be taken to improve the living conditions in private rental accommodation. We did not receive much information on the best ways to do this, but can say that the provincial interest in addressing the roots of violence involving youth may well require increased public interventions in the form of low-cost loans or other ways to ensure the necessary investments are made. Federal programs for this remain in place, but they fall short of the mark. The Province should seriously consider cooperating with municipal governments to close the gap as part of its strategy to address the roots of violence involving youth. We cannot wait to resolve theoretical turf wars among governments while the quality of the actual turf on which people live is generating violence.    p. 237

Second, the ministry needs to find ways to prevent a period of incarceration becoming a “gang-entry” program. We were advised that many youth, while in custody, develop relationships with gang members that lead to gang affiliation. They then take that association with them when they return home. In some instances where youth are incarcerated with youth from other cities, this transition jumps municipal lines and brings a new and more dangerous gang culture to areas that did not have that problem before. The ministry needs to be sensitive to this issue and should implement a strategy to prevent it from occurring.    p. 288

Our belief that the Province should fund the social infrastructure we propose for disadvantaged communities does not absolve the other orders of government of their responsibilities for services. There is an obvious need for the federal government to recognize the impact of its own cutbacks and to begin to invest seriously in the health of disadvantaged communities. The Province should continue to be vocal in this regard and to press for enhanced federal funding. The Province should also take every opportunity to nurture and build on the workmunicipal governments are doing in these neighbourhoods.    p. 301

Ontario has made some moves in the direction of using schools as delivery points for services. More than 300 Ontario Early Years Centres are located in schools. So too are many of the province’s Best Start hubs, which integrate public health, education, children’s aid, programs for children from 0 to 6, and municipal and other services. Parenting and Family Literacy Centres are also located in schools.    p. 308

The leasing body would have two key characteristics: facilities management expertise, and knowledge of community and other programming. Municipalities might want to use or establish agencies to do this, or organizations like the Y might well be interested. No doubt there are other service organizations with the skills and interest that should have this opportunity.    p. 309

In summary, we see the Province’s role in this area being to support these efforts by making clear in tangible ways that they are valued, by providing structural and financial supports, by being active participants in resident engagement work already underway in municipalities and by demonstrating a continuing commitment to work in partnership as these efforts build community capacity. We emphasize the word “support” because, if communities are to be strong for the long haul and the tough issues, it is the individuals within them who must have the will, and invest the substantial time and commitment required, to function in more cohesive ways.    p. 313

We speak largely about a provincial obligation in this regard because of the need for a provincewide approach to community building and because of the clear provincial interest in the outcomes to be obtained. Nonetheless, it is clear to us that this community development work needs to be done in close collaboration with the municipalities, which have an essential and central role at the local level. This is especially true in places like Thunder Bay and Toronto and others where this kind of foundational work is already.    p. 313

A Role for Colleges and Universities

Outside the governmental sphere and in addition to the valuable related work that many funding bodies and municipalities are undertaking, there is another very important but largely untapped public resource, which can be brought to bear on this issue. We refer in this regard to the resources and talents within our colleges and universities, many of which are located near the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods, and all of which we know to be interested in building and supporting their local communities.    p. 314

There are many opportunities to help community groups or agencies conduct evaluations, service mapping and needs assessments, reviews of relevant best practices and other small-scale research projects. And, on a larger scale, the community and the post-secondary sector can also work together, often with the local municipality, which knows well the longer-term research needs, to identify and carry out research agendas and projects to support long-term social investments. One leading example of this is the collective role a number of postsecondary institutions in British Columbia played with their communities in developing the evidentiary case for the early childhood learning initiative discussed in Pillars 1 and 2.    p. 315

Second, the provincial government must work with the other orders of government to create both the structures and the relationships that permit the coordination of the relevant activities across governments. We appreciate that this may be a challenge with the federal government, but there are no external impediments to the Province’s building a new governance relationship with the municipalities on these issues. As that is done, we believe that success will encourage the federal government to accept its significant and serious responsibilities in this area.    p. 327

Third, the Province must begin to work with municipalities, and if possible the federal government, to bring communities into the governance framework in meaningful ways.    p. 327

Towards New Relationships With Governments and Communities

In this section, we move to a discussion of the other two governance elements we consider essential to advance progress on the roots agenda. The first is the creation of both the structures and the relationships that permit the coordination of the relevant activities of the three orders of government, with an initial emphasis on work with the municipalities. The second is working with municipal governments to bring communities into the governance framework in meaningful ways as a core part of building new governance relationships.    p. 344

In our view, notwithstanding the many advantages of collaboration, the Province must move vigorously to accomplish everything it can do on its own if collaboration cannot reasonably be obtained. In doing so, the Province should of course always value and seek cooperation with other governments, and even in its absence act in a way that respects the existing leadership and knowledge that reside there, especially at the municipal level. It should also always act in a way that builds community partnerships wherever possible and that leaves space for and encourages other governments to come to the table.    p. 345

A Municipal Focus

We accordingly believe that, while the Province should pursue federal cooperation in the course of its ongoing business, the priority for seeking intergovernmental collaboration within the proposed governance framework should be with the municipalities. For reasons we will go on to discuss, we also believe that the major focus and locus for building that collaboration should be in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods discussed in Chapter 7.    p. 345

We will accordingly focus most of our analysis on building collaborative structures with municipalities in the disadvantaged neighbourhoods.    p. 345

Building Collaboration With Municipalities and Communities in Disadvantaged Neighbourhoods

i) Rationale and Approach

Collaboration with the regional governments and municipalities is paramount. This is due to the highly local nature of what has to be done, the knowledge municipalities have about their communities and what works on the ground, and the leadership many have already demonstrated on issues related to the roots of violence involving youth. The challenge is how to create and sustain that collaboration on matters central to addressing the roots agenda. Getting caught up in, or undercutting, the work to restructure the provincial-municipal relationship more broadly, or embarking on yet another complex and time-consuming process of structural negotiations with the large number of highly diverse municipal governments in Ontario must be avoided.    p. 346

In the result, our advice is to combine the second and third aspects of our governance model by focusing on working with municipalities in and for the identified priority neighbourhoods. In this approach, the neighbourhood becomes the place where the provincial-municipal relationship on roots issues is built, not the place it is rolled out after having been negotiated somewhere else. In this approach, residents and local service providers are inside the governance model at the outset and integral to how it is built and operated. This approach will make sure that results flow early, with any structural agreements to anchor the local work made as needed, being tailored to local reality and forged from practical experience. Agreements, where required, would follow experience rather than preceding it.    p. 346

This approach builds on the discussion in Chapter 7 and earlier in this chapter about the importance and value of focusing program and policy initiatives in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods in the province. Chapter 7 also outlined a methodology to identify those neighbourhoods in conjunction with the municipalities. Among the many benefits of this approach are that it allows the Province (and other partners as well) to increase the return on investments by putting resources where they are most needed and by drawing on local knowledge and strengths. To these, we would add that it creates a natural forum for collaboration.    p. 346

The City of Toronto, using a more comprehensive approach than is possible provincewide at the moment, has already identified and undertaken important groundbreaking work in 13 such neighbourhoods. These should be the foundation of the Province’s place-based work there, as should any The City of Toronto, using a more comprehensive approach than is possible provincewide at the moment, has already identified and undertaken important groundbreaking work in 13 such neighbourhoods. These should be the foundation of the Province’s place-based work there, as should any other defined, disadvantaged neighbourhoods in which other municipalities are already focusing work to address the roots of violence involving youth.    p. 346-347

Within all of these neighbourhoods, the Province should, as a governance initiative, work closely with the municipality to engage with residents and service providers in ways that build community strengths and a provincial-municipal-community culture of collaboration. This work must, of course, be done with great care to understand what is in place and working already in priority neighbourhoods.    p. 347

ii) Our Proposal

Based on the above premises, the core of our proposal is that the Province and municipal governments should come together with local agencies and community members in a partnership in each identified neighbourhood. They would do this by forming a Neighbourhood Strategic Partnership (NSP), modelled in part on Britain’s Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs), and in part on the City of Toronto’s neighbourhood action teams and partnerships.    p. 347

As that funding can constitute in the range of 50 per cent of local authority budgets, the role and influence of the LSPs cannot be underestimated. By contrast, we do not see our Neighbourhood Strategic Partnerships as being involved across the whole of a municipality, nor as becoming involved in the whole provincial-municipal relationship. Our focus is on the roots of violence involving youth, and our interest in LSPs is focused on the vital governance role they can play on that issue, specifically in disadvantaged neighbourhoods.    p. 348

We believe that partnerships broadly similar to the local strategic partnerships should be established in each priority neighbourhood in Ontario. They should be anchored in representation from the provincial and municipal governments, and should also draw together the service providers in each neighbourhood and a number of community representatives. The federal government should be encouraged to take a seat at these tables and to play a significant role at them.    p. 350

For the Province, the internal alignment measures we propose, along with the public commitment to meeting the outcome targets provincewide, should already be achieving this, but those alignment measures would be strongly supported by the pressure for alignment being driven up from these partnerships. Similarly, the municipality, having endorsed this process and been at the partnership table, would also have a strong incentive to align its efforts and resources to help meet the targets.    p. 351

Similarly, we believe that the municipal focus on the roots issues at the NSP tables will drive alignment on the roots agenda at the municipal level, as the Toronto experience has already demonstrated, and lead to a desire to collaborate with the other orders of government.    p. 352

These inherent alignment pressures should mean that new structural mechanisms are unnecessary to bring governments together on the roots agenda. As well, as we have noted above in related contexts, the complexity of negotiating broad agreements encompassing numerous municipalities on the many issues relevant to the roots agenda would in all likelihood materially impede real progress on the many core issues.    p. 353

We believe that if the Province and the municipalities, and ideally the federal government as well, start their collaboration on the roots agenda at the neighbourhood level they will address the most pressing needs and also begin to develop better working relationships on the ground. It seems to us that on the basis of those relationships, and experience in these communities, they will know better whether a broader structure is necessary, and will be better placed to achieve it if it is. We also think the structure, if needed, will be a better one if brokered through experience in working together as a body involving service providers and community members.    p. 353

It seems to us that the Province and the municipalities could usefully consider making available a fund to facilitate this. That fund could support crisis counselling for youth and families who may have been traumatized by the enforcement exercise. The fund could also permit an immediate boost to key programs and activities in a community where police action has taken place. The boost to community programs and services would serve two purposes. First, the community would see immediate positive consequences following the police action, and might be more inclined to cooperate with the police as a result. And second, the increased activity in the community and on the streets could help the community take back its parks and streets before a new gang starts up to fill the vacuum created by the enforcement action.    p. 357

8.  To identify the neighbourhoods for the place-based approach, the Province should employ the Index of Relative Disadvantage we have proposed to determine on a provincewide basis the areas where disadvantage is most concentrated. Once the index results are available, the Province, through a lead ministry for community building, should immediately open discussions with the affected municipalities to identify local factors, such as the availability of services, for inclusion in the determination of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods and to define the boundaries of such neighbourhoods.    p. 374

19. The Province must recognize the value of sports and arts in supporting learning, development and creativity of youth. The Province should work with municipalities, school boards and community agencies to remove barriers that include income level, transportation and a lack of usable space. The Province should move to immediately embed accessible sports and arts programs in the priority neighbourhoods. (pages 257–260)    p. 378

30. Steps Towards Community Hubs: There is an overwhelming consensus in favour of building community hubs and, accordingly, no reason to delay action on that front. In neighbourhoods where it is clear that the Index of Relative Disadvantage will demonstrate a high level of disadvantage, or where similar methodologies have already done so, the Province should promptly initiate discussions with the municipal governments, to begin to plan for a hub if none exists and in particular to determine the availability of recreational and arts facilities. Where the latter facilities are lacking, the Province should work actively with the Ontario Realty Corporation and the municipality to lease alternative space for youth and youth services until a hub is developed. Another winter and spring should not go by in the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods with there being no safe place for youth to gather and play.    p. 381

♦ Hold focused discussions on the Index of Relative Disadvantage with a view to finalizing it in time for an initial data run in early 2009. This will identify areas for conversations with municipalities to select and define the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods for the priority actions we outline.    p. 382

In the case of the first two items, the Province must move quickly to put in place the necessary governance structures. In the case of the other recommendations, and subject to discussions with municipal governments and community groups, we believe that substantial progress could be achieved within six months.    p. 382

Short to Medium-term Initiatives

We believe the Province must also work to make steady progress on the following components of our strategy and appreciate that several will require more in depth consultations among ministries and with municipal governments, agencies and community groups.    p. 382

♦ Launch an assessment of recreational, cultural and other hub needs with municipalities in areas identified as likely to be determined as areas of high disadvantage when the Index of Relative Disadvantage is run.    p. 383

♦ Begin discussions with the community agency sector on ways to streamline and stabilize their funding, involving municipal governments and other funders as appropriate.    p. 383

♦ As disadvantaged neighbourhoods are formally identified, work with municipalities to define areas for joint effort and begin to establish Neighbourhood Strategic Partnerships, or work within existing equivalent structures.    p. 384

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto    p. 386

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto    p. 394

Mandate

♦ Formulate recommendations on:

◊ Immediate and longer-term actions and solutions involving all related parties, including government (provincial, federal, municipal), communities, private sector.    p. 400

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, The Impact of Urban Design and Infrastructure on Youth Violence    p. 408

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Youth Violence, the UK’s Neighbourhood Regeneration Strategy and Housing    p. 408

Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing    p. 409

Expanding access to specialized courts for youth was also recommended, as well as improved availability of drug treatment, a central source of information for families and better access to mental health treatment with extension of the mandatory treatment period. Three-year funding was recommended for agencies showing positive results. The task force also encouraged municipalities to develop safe communities strategies.    p. 411

Canadian Criminal Justice Association (1989). Safer Communities: A Social Strategy for Crime Prevention in Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 31 (August), 4–23

In association with major national organizations concerned with policing, social development, children and youth, natives and municipalities, the Canadian Criminal Justice Association set out a strategy for crime prevention calling for all levels of government, police, citizens, voluntary organizations and private enterprise to take responsibility.    p. 412

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

The Council of Metropolitan Toronto asked Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter, Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, to act as a mediator or conciliator between the civic authorities, in particular the police and minority groups in the city.    p. 412

Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group (1992). Towards a New Beginning: The Report and Action Plan of the Four-Level Government/African Canadian Working Group. Toronto: African Canadian Community Working Group

Federal, Ontario, City of Toronto and Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto officials and members of Toronto’s Black community formed a working group to formulate proposals for specific strategies to address the concerns of the Black community with respect to justice, social services, education, youth and policing.    p. 414

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto

In 1977, in the wake of incidents of violence toward the South Asian community in Toronto, Chairman of Metro Council Paul Godfrey appointed Walter Pitman, then-president of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, as a one-man “Task Force on Human Relations” to probe the issue of racism in the city. He found that a disturbing degree of racial tension existed in the city and that the city had not yet addressed the issue of racism directly.    p. 423

The Role of Government

What, in your opinion, is the role of government (federal, provincial or municipal) in reducing violence involving youth in your neighbourhood. Please indicate whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree with each of the following statements.    p. 449

END


Signed,

The Mississauga Muse

ACCOUNTABILE ONTARIO MUNICIPALITIES: Major Root of Youth Violence


 


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