THUNDER BAY – POLITICS – Candidate at Large Jim Mauro will bring a resolution forward to Council asking the Ford Government to explore the passage of Safe Communities and Neighbourhood Legislation (SCAN) in Ontario if elected.
Mauro states “this kind of legislation is one more piece to returning our city and our neighbourhoods back to a place of safety”. Scan laws provide additional civil remedies that can be used against property owners and residents whose activities could include criminal behaviour such as drug trafficking, prostitution, child exploitation and gang related crime”.
Mauro adds, “This kind of legislation is one more piece to returning our city and our neighbourhoods back to a place of safety. These laws provide additional civil remedies that can be used against property owners and residents whose activities could include criminal behaviour such as drug trafficking, prostitution, child exploitation and gang related crime”.
What is SCAN?
The legislation allows area homeowners to anonymously provide information to authorities that can be used to cause an investigation into the home(s) that may be engaging in activity within a neighbourhood. If there is sufficient cause for the investigation, various steps can be taken from increasing civil penalties against the property owner or residents, to eviction, to the boarding up of the property, to jail terms. This legislation provides more power to residents to reclaim their neighbourhoods and to ensure parents feel safe letting their kids play out on the street.
The process starts when one or more residents of a neighbourhood who fear for their safety or security file a complaint with a law enforcement official who may or not be a police officer. The complaint is kept confidential. The identity of those who file it cannot be revealed at any time.
In provinces with SCAN in place, the director may launch an investigation. If there is evidence to support the claim, the director has several options:
- issue a warning letter to the property owner
- resolve the problem out of court
- apply for a Community Safety Order, with or without a Closure Order against the property
- apply for an Emergency Closure Order
This legislation can improve public safety and can hold property owners accountable for the activities that take place on their property.
Mauro recognizes that some critics of this legislation feel that it can lead to targeting of a communities most vulnerable population. However, Mauro believes protections can be put in place and indicated a regular review of the legislation would be one way to ensure it is achieving the desired outcome of safer neighbourhoods.
“We can take the best of what works in other provinces and discard the areas that may be causing problems” Mauro stated. “No piece of legislation can be perfect but the goal of making a safer community is something that is at the forefront of people’s mind, and I will continue to offer solutions to reducing crime, not just general statements.”
Mauro would like to see the next Council meet immediately with the province and other municipal leaders in Ontario to see if this type of legislation can be passed quickly to improve public safety across Ontario.