Community Safety and Well-Being

Community safety and well-being are priorities in every Ontario community. Changes made to the Ontario Police Services Act in 2019 require municipalities to develop and adopt plans that address root causes of crime and complex social issues by focusing holistically on social development, prevention, and risk prevention. These plans – referred to as Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) plans – recognize that complex issues cannot be addressed in isolation or solely on an incident response basis. As such, municipalities must work on CSWB plans in partnership with multi-sectoral advisory committees that include representatives from social and community organizations, school boards, boards of health, the police service, and any other local service providers working to protect or enhance safety and well-being.

In 2019, the nine lower-tier municipalities in Huron County joined forces with police, boards of education, health, child welfare,
social services, community organizations, and other committees to initiate the Community Safety and Well-Being  planning process. At the June 21, 2021 Regular Council Meeting the Municipality of Central Huron Council adopted the final Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.

 Developing the Plan
Phase One: Working Group

Phase One of plan development involved establishing a Working Group of representatives from the nine member municipalities. The Working Group was tasked to then establish an organizing structure, gather community resources, and develop a residential survey with the Canadian Municipal Network on Crime Prevention.


Phase Two: Subcommittees

During Phase Two, several Subcommittees were struck and tasked with taking a deep dive into specific risk areas of focus. These Subcommittees/risk areas included:
• Education
• Seniors/Adults with Disabilities
• Poverty and Housing
• Crime
• Medical and Physical Health
• Children and Youth
• Mental Health
• Addictions


Phase Three: Advisory Committee

The Huron CSWB Advisory Committee had a broad mandate to apply a cross-sector, interdisciplinary lens to known, emergent, and anticipated community and system-level issues. This diverse Advisory Committee came together with cross-sector representation to identify and reduce risk factors that can contribute to individuals engaging in or  becoming victims of crime. Working together is not a new approach for the nine municipalities in Huron; however, the
CSWB planning process expanded on collective impact, cross-sector structures, and processes in place to leverage the best possible outcomes in improving safety and well-being of all residents.


Phase Four: Public Consultations and Stakeholder Interviews

To help identify local risks, partners involved in the development of the CSWB Plan in Huron conducted wide-ranging public consultations seeking perspectives on experiences, priority areas, challenges, and strategies for solutions. Service providers, youth, families, and other stakeholders were engaged through this process. In total, more than 1,500 survey responses, consultations, and discussions were analyzed to identify perceptions and feelings of community safety and well-being in Huron. Consultation work also sought to identify work already underway in Huron to address specific issues, to avoid duplication, identify strengths, resources, best practices, and capture opportunities
for future action. 

 

What is in the Plan?

To advance Community Safety and Well-Being in Huron County, this Plan:

• Examines population data and other statistics for municipalities in Huron County to understand the context within which we are working, where resources are distributed and to identify potential risks and challenges to be addressed;

• Provides an overview of the legislative framework guiding the development of this Plan and the process taken by the nine Huron County municipalities to understand risk and needs;

• Establishes an approach to community safety and well-being in Huron based on collective impact, equity, and social determinants of health to ensure risk and needs are understood holistically;

• Identifies Priority Areas for action to be addressed through this plan;

• Presents an Evaluation Matrix to help us measure progress; and,

• Discusses next steps for Plan implementation.

Priority Areas for Action

Utilizing survey and consultation findings to identify key themes, supplemented by a review of the literature and focus group discussions, four Priority Areas have been established to address community safety and well-being in Huron County:

  • Mental Health and Addictions
  • Housing and Homelessness
  • Domestic and Family Violence
  • Community Safety and Security

An Implementation Plan is in the process of development to address the four priority areas for action.