Toronto Mayor John Tory is asking for the Toronto Police Services Board to approve a move that will allow the city’s new traffic wardens to gain special constable status in order for them to direct traffic on city streets.
In a letter sent to the board on Thursday, Tory said section 134 of the Highway Traffic Act only authorizes police officers to direct traffic and close highways.
Rather than amending provincial legislation, Tory said an alternative would be to have the new wardens appointed special constables instead.
“The Toronto Police Services Board has the ability to appoint special constables, as outlined in the Police Services Act, who will be able to engage in active traffic direction, as long as they are approved by the Minister of Community Safety & Correctional Services,” Tory wrote.
Earlier this week, Tory announced new measures to tackle the city’s gridlock problem, which included the addition of full-time traffic wardens.
The initiative comes after the city conducted a pilot project in 2016 with paid-duty police officers.
“We hired paid duty officers to go to key intersections where there have been bottlenecks, both for pedestrians and drivers, and we asked them to be there and take an active role,” Tory said on Monday.
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“When officers were actively engaged managing vehicles and pedestrians we found a minimum of 90 per cent reduction of intersection blockage by vehicles and a 70 per cent reduction in intersection blockage by pedestrians.”
Tory said the full-time traffic wardens will not be police officers but hired staff employed by the municipality. The city plans to have the traffic wardens in place by early next year.
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Read the letter below: