It is time for the City of Toronto to take thoughtful and proactive measures to deal with youth violence no matter what neighbourhood it is found in. We cannot wait for another tragedy to spur more calls for blue ribbon panels and simplistic reactions. There have been many good reports that have already provided us with recommendations on how to move forward including The Review of the Roots of Youth Violence by Dr. Alvin Curling and The Honourable Roy McMurtry. Genuine, evidence-based action is needed now and without delay.
In February, 2013, with City Council’s unanimous support, I asked City staff to develop a plan to take immediate action. I am very happy to share with you a letter from Dr. Curling commending Toronto City Council for addressing this priority and encouraging us to not stop until this work is done.
In July, the Toronto Youth Equity Framework was approved by City Council. This Framework is the first step of a three-stage process to support the most marginalized youth in Toronto who are most likely to be involved in or victimized by violence. It sets out the principles of how the City of Toronto will target the roots of youth violence and how it will organize, over the course of the summer, so that all City departments and community stakeholders are on the same page, working together.
City staff will present the Toronto Youth Equity Strategy to the Community Development and Recreation Committee this autumn and I will work to have it approved by City Council before the end of the year.