Ontario Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods Legislation Stuck in 2010 Limbo

Lethbridge SCAN House
The Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN)

Thunder Bay – INSIGHT – Over the past several years, NetNewsLedger has reported on the efforts of Alberta’s Safer Communities and Neighbourhood program (SCAN).

Under this legislation, Alberta Sheriffs have closed drug houses, boarding them up and preventing access to the property. This comes not as a first step but as part of a continued process of escalation toward solving problems.

What is SCAN?

Safer Communities and Neighbourhoods (SCAN) is a unit of the Alberta Sheriffs that helps keep communities safe by dealing with problem properties that are being used for specific illegal activity such as:

  • drug trafficking
  • prostitution
  • child exploitation
  • gang-related crime

Reporting suspicious properties through SCAN:

  • improves community safety
  • empowers citizens
  • targets properties, not individuals
  • holds property owners accountable for activities on their properties

How SCAN works

When community members report a suspicious property, SCAN investigators can:

  • begin an investigation
  • gather information
  • issue a warning letter
  • mediate the dispute
  • work with the landlord to facilitate an eviction or resolution
  • apply to the courts for a Community Safety Order that can:
    • call for owners to meet a number of conditions, or
    • allow the property to be closed for up to 90 days
  • take any measures necessary to safely and effectively close the property

This offers authorities a solid way forward to deal with either property owners, or landlords who have had their properties in effect taken over by illegal activities.

Ontario had similar legislation going through Queens Park back in 2010. This was under the McGuinty Government.

It was Bill 106 back then and the bill itself did not make it past third reading during the parliament session at the time, and then was not re-introduced after the 2011 election. The legislation now appears long forgotten.

Under that proposed legislation now seemingly long forgotten, Ontario officials would have the ability to close down properties where drug trafficking, prostitution, child explotation, and gang-related crime were occurring.

New Brunswick has similar legislation in effect.

If Ontario had this legislation it could be a real help toward solving some of the issues that police across the province, but especially right here in Thunder Bay are having with trap houses.

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