The Toronto Police’s $48.3 million funding request for 2023 was approved by the Services Board this week.
The approval will increase the city’s police budget to about $1.6 billion dollars after more than six hours of presentations, questions and deputations.
Plans for the funding increase were announced by Toronto Police and Toronto Mayor John Tory.
Funding is expected to be used to hire more officers and 9-1-1 operators. Other funded projects include community initiatives like the community crisis program that respond to mental health crises without a police presence.
The city’s police chief Myron Demkiw presented the funding request. He said the police continue to rely on a “lean budget” compared to other major cities including Montreal, London and Chicago.
More than 200 individuals signed up to present deputations at the meeting.
Bill Worrell asked police services to consider funding other areas of need including public services, mental health services and youth program.
Worrell spoke on behalf of the Oakwood-Vaughan Community Organization in the Little Jamaica community.
University of Toronto(UofT) ph.D student Sean Ihn voiced his opposition to campus police, arguing that their presence causes more harm than good.
Ihn represented the students mobilizing against systematic hardship (SMASH), a group based at UofT.
Plans to continue opposition against the funding approval will include a protest at Nathan Philip Square outside city hall on Jan. 24.
The protest organizers, including activist Desmond Cole, is calling on the Toronto Police to allocate 50 per cent of its budget to urgently needed community supports.
Cole also spoke at the meeting, calling on the police to be defunded instead and to remind the public of the names of individuals that were killed in 2022 during police interventions. This includes Taresh Bobby Ramroop who died in his Jane and Finch home during a mental health crisis.
CJRU reached out to Cole and are awaiting a response.
Details of the increased police budget can be found here.
More details to come.
Listen to CJRU’s coverage of the Toronto Police budget committee meeting: