February 12, 2016 6:48 pm
Updated: February 12, 2016 6:52 pm

Ontario says consultations to reform the Police Services Act begin next week

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Jennifer Tryon and Trevor Owens/Global News

OTTAWA – The province is launching public consultations – beginning on Feb. 18 – on the changing policing in Ontario.

The community safety and correctional services ministry says the nature of policing and the role of police officers have changed since the Police Services Act was written in 1990.

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It says policing has evolved as a result of advancements in technology, the increasing frequency of police interactions with vulnerable people – such as those with mental health or addiction issues – and enhanced expectations about oversight and accountability of law enforcement.

Officials say public meetings will be held in Cobourg, London, Newmarket, Hamilton, Thunder Bay, Ottawa, Sault Ste. Marie, and Toronto.

And they say the consultations will seek input on promoting collaborative partnerships between police, the public and other sectors such as education, health care and social services, to ensure that those in need of help receive the right response.

They will also look for suggestions on clarifying police duties, modernizing training programs and delivering services using a range of public safety personnel, while enhancing accountability and ensuring police oversight bodies are effective.

In addition, the province will develop a framework for First Nations policing to ensure equitable and culturally responsive policing for the province’s First Nations communities.

Ontario residents can also provide feedback through an online survey.

© 2016 The Canadian Press

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