Ontario Reinvesting $2.5 Million to Help Fight Human TraffickingPublished on November 17, 2020
The Ontario government is reinvesting $2.5 million in cash and proceeds seized from criminals to help fight human trafficking in communities across the province. Funding through the Civil Remedies Grant Program is being made available to law enforcement agencies and community partners for 33 local projects focused on prevention, crisis counselling, research and public education.
"We are fighting back against human traffickers by investing in training, surveillance technology and equipment to help local police and prosecutors crack down on the criminal networks that prey on and profit from young and vulnerable people in our communities," said Attorney General Doug Downey. "These community-based projects will strengthen local capacity to prevent and respond to these heinous crimes while supporting survivors."
The initiatives being funded under the Civil Remedies Grant Program this year include:
- Programs supporting victims of human trafficking, including mental health crisis services, specialized care and support and education and training opportunities.
- Training for frontline officers to help them better detect and investigate human trafficking.
- IT upgrades to improve investigations of online crimes like child exploitation, harassment, intimate images and fraud.
- Investments in surveillance equipment such as automatic licence plate readers to identify and locate vehicles connected to illegal activity across Ontario's major highways including remote First Nation communities.
"We agree with law-abiding citizens who say crime should not pay and we have made it harder for criminals to hold onto the proceeds of their crimes through the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act, which was passed by the legislature earlier this year," said Attorney General Downey. "These grants will help communities fight back against human trafficking and deter unlawful activity in their regions."
Applications for the 2021-22 Civil Remedies Grant Program open November 3, 2020. The list of eligible applicants includes Ontario and First Nation Police Services, not-for-profit groups, community agencies and Indigenous communities and organizations that assist victims of unlawful activities or prevent unlawful activities that result in victimization. The deadline to apply is December 15, 2020.
"Our government remains committed to providing our frontline police with the tools they need to detect and crack down on crimes like human trafficking," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "These grants will help support local crime-fighting projects that will make our communities safer."
- The 2021-22 Civil Remedies Grant Program will provide funding to projects dedicated to preventing intimate partner and family violence and gun and gang violence. Grants will also be awarded to local programs focused on Indigenous communities, children and youth, rural and remote communities.
- Changes to the Civil Remedies Act passed under the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act allow personal property, such as cash or cars used by criminals for illegal activities, to be forfeited without a court order in cases where no interested person disputes the forfeiture.
- The $2.5 million funding for the 2020-21 Civil Remedies Grant Program builds on the $20 million Ontario invests each year in dedicated anti-human trafficking initiatives, including prevention, specialized supports, victim services, specialized prosecutors and enforcement.
- In August 2020, Ontario announced frontline victim services organizations will receive $7.65 million over five years in funding for specialized services to support human trafficking victims and survivors as part of its comprehensive anti-human trafficking strategy.
- Ontario is investing $307 million from 2020 to 2025 on a new anti-human trafficking strategy, which represents the largest total investment in dedicated anti-human trafficking supports and services in Canada.