Review of the Roots of Youth Violence

Volume1, Appendix 3:

Synopses of Previous Reports

Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force (2007). Keeping Communities Safe: Report and Recommendations of Alberta’s Crime Reduction and Safe Communities Task Force. Edmonton: Government of Alberta.

The Justice Minister and Attorney General of Alberta established a task force to make recommendations on effective ways to reduce crime, make Alberta’s communities safer and improve public confidence in the criminal justice system. After a six-month study and public consultations, the task force set out recommendations for a provincial crime prevention strategy. With respect to youth, the task force recommended targeted pilot projects for comprehensive, community-based services for at-risk youth and their families, and education for children and youth to reduce the risk of their involvement in gangs, drugs, violence or other crime. Expanding access to specialized courts for youth was also recommended, as well as improved availability of drug treatment, a central source of information for families and better access to mental health treatment with extension of the mandatory treatment period. Three-year funding was recommended for agencies showing positive results. The task force also encouraged municipalities to develop safe communities strategies.

Archibald, B. (1989). Report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. Vol. 6 Prosecuting Officers and the Administration of Justice in Nova Scotia: A Research Study. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia.

Law professor Bruce Archibald led a working group that researched and made recommendations on the administration of justice in Nova Scotia as part of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution (see “Royal Commission”). The report recommended a computerized system of data collection for the criminal justice system to make it possible to monitor and evaluate its performance. It also recommended expanded diversion and sentencing options and focused on measures to eliminate the disadvantages inherent in the justice system for Aboriginal and Black Nova Scotians

Brodeur, J-P. (1991). Access to Justice and Equality of Treatment. Ottawa: Law Reform Commission of Canada

University of Montreal criminology professor Jean-Paul Brodeur reviewed eight previous reports touching on access to justice for minorities for the Law Reform Commission of Canada. His report illustrated that inquiries and commissions had repeatedly made similar recommendations on this issue.

Canadian Bar Association (1993). Touchstones for Change: Equality, Diversity and Accountability. Report of the Task Force on Gender Equality. Toronto: Canadian Bar Association

The Canadian Bar Association Task Force on Gender Equality set out to examine and report on gender equality issues. A number of recommendations also touched on barriers minorities encounter in the legal profession, including that the association should annually analyze the status of women and minorities in leadership positions in the association.

Canadian Criminal Justice Association (1989). Safer Communities: A Social Strategy for Crime Prevention in Canada. Canadian Journal of Criminology, 31 (August), 4–23

In association with major national organizations concerned with policing, social development, children and youth, natives and municipalities, the Canadian Criminal Justice Association set out a strategy for crime prevention calling for all levels of government, police, citizens, voluntary organizations and private enterprise to take responsibility. It recommended targeted improvements in social services, housing, education, employment and race relations as ways to reduce crime.

Carter, G. (1979). Report to the Civic Authorities of Metropolitan Toronto and its Citizens. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.

The Council of Metropolitan Toronto asked Gerald Emmett Cardinal Carter, Catholic Archbishop of Toronto, to act as a mediator or conciliator between the civic authorities, in particular the police and minority groups in the city. After seven weeks of consultations with the authorities and numerous community groups, Cardinal Carter submitted his findings and recommendations. His recommendations focused on anti-racism education, positive contact between the police and citizens, and an independent mechanism for citizen complaints about the police.

Clark, S. (1989). Research study prepared for the Report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. Vol. 3 The Mi’kmaq and Criminal Justice in Nova Scotia. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia

In a research study for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution (see “Royal Commission”), Scott Clark focused on alleviating discrimination toward Aboriginal people within Nova Scotia’s criminal justice system. His report contained numerous recommendations for reforms to the criminal justice system generally. Recommendations related specifically to youth included alternative sentencing and diversion measures.

Cole, D., and M. Gittens (1994). Racism Behind Bars: The Treatment of Black and Other Racial Minority Prisoners in Ontario Prisons. Interim Report of the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System. Toronto: Government of Ontario

———(1995). Report of the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System. Toronto: Government of Ontario

The Government of Ontario established the Commission on Systemic Racism in the Ontario Criminal Justice System to examine the procedures, practices, policies and processes that may cause or reflect systemic racism in the institutions of the criminal justice system. In their interim report (1994), Co-Chairs David Cole and Margaret Gittens examined Ontario’s prison system. Their recommendations included several measures relating to the detention of youth, including alternative sentencing and diversion measures. Their final report (1995) addressed the entire criminal justice system and included recommendations for community policing reforms, bail conditions, anti-racism education for all criminal justice occupations, a confidential complaints mechanism, formal monitoring of the treatment of racial minorities in the criminal justice system and amendments to the Young Offenders Act to provide for alternative sentencing.

Cooke, D., and J. Finlay (2007). Office of Child and Family Advocacy Review of Open Detention and Open Custody in Ontario. Toronto: Government of Ontario

Ontario’s Office of Child and Family Advocacy undertook a review of all of the open custody and open detention facilities in the province. They systematically gathered information about youth perceptions of the care they received while in custody. Based on the findings of that review, Diana Cooke (advocacy officer) and Judy Finlay (chief advocate) made recommendations for improvements. The authors proposed that facilities should reposition themselves as “reintegration specialists,” and that life skills and vocational training for youth should be an integral part of the reintegration plan for individual youths. They also recommended regular review of basic care facilities and policies, enhanced supervision to ensure safety, respect for privacy rights, family access, reintegration plans and maximized services for youth with special needs.

Etherington, B., W. Bogart, M. Irish, and G. Stewart (1991). Preserving Identity by Having Many Identities: A Report on Multiculturalism and Justice. Windsor Law School Roundtable. Windsor: Faculty of Law, University of Windsor

The authors reported on a round table held at the University of Windsor’s faculty of law. The recommendations arising from the discussion included the need for research on the representation of visible minorities in the criminal justice system. Research on whether racial discrimination is a factor in the treatment of individuals within the system was also called for, which would include gathering data on the racial or ethnic background of those accused, arrested or convicted. The participants recommended that research similarly be undertaken on the representation of racial or cultural minorities in the police services. Further recommendations dealt with police recruitment programs, cross-cultural and race- relations training for individuals working in the criminal justice system, and research on the exercise of prosecutorial discretion.

Four-Level Government/African Canadian Community Working Group (1992). Towards a New Beginning: The Report and Action Plan of the Four-Level Government/African Canadian Working Group. Toronto: African Canadian Community Working Group

Federal, Ontario, City of Toronto and Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto officials and members of Toronto’s Black community formed a working group to formulate proposals for specific strategies to address the concerns of the Black community with respect to justice, social services, education, youth and policing. Based on a series of consultations and an examination of previous studies, the working group presented an action plan to address those concerns. The action plan covered accelerated efforts to appoint Black individuals to the judiciary, anti-racism training at all levels of the criminal justice system, recruitment of Black police officers and outreach to the Black community by the police services.

Gibson Smith, C. (1994). Proud but Cautious: Homophobic Abuse in Nova Scotia. Halifax: Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group

Carol Gibson Smith’s report provided an extensive analysis of discrimination toward lesbian, gay and bisexual individuals in Nova Scotia based on data collected through a survey of close to 300 people. The recommendations related to Nova Scotia’s Human Rights Commission included outreach to the lesbian, gay and bisexual communities, creating a publication detailing the rights of individuals in those communities, and hiring human rights officers with expertise in homophobia and in working with gay, lesbian and bisexual people. The report further recommended that all school boards, colleges and universities develop a zero-tolerance policy with respect to violence.

Hamilton, A., and C. Sinclair (1991). Report of the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry of Manitoba. Volume 1: The Justice System and Aboriginal People. Winnipeg: Government of Manitoba

The Government of Manitoba established the Aboriginal Justice Inquiry in 1988 in response to two incidents. The first was the 1987 trial of two men for the murder of Helen Betty Osborne. The trial did not take place until 16 years after the murder. The second was the death in 1988 of John Joseph Harper, executive director of the Island Lake Tribal Council, following an encounter with a City of Winnipeg police officer. The inquiry recommended that an Aboriginal justice institute be created and that the federal and provincial governments recognize the right of Aboriginal peoples to establish their own justice systems. Recommendations specific to Aboriginal youth included that police should in all cases consider alternatives to the laying of charges and that police departments should designate youth specialists and provide specialized training to all officers dealing with youth. Amendments to the Young Offenders Act were recommended, including rescinding the provisions allowing young offenders to waive the right to have a parent or guardian present during questioning and allowing youth to be transferred to adult court for trial. The commission proposed that judges designate a specific place of custody for young offenders, and that open custody and wilderness training camps be established for Aboriginal youth, especially near Aboriginal communities. Further recommendations related to youth dealt with support for youth justice committees, Aboriginal-focused diversion and alternative measures programs, community involvement in recommendations for sentencing and sanctions originating from, and enforced by, the community.

Head, W., and D. Clairmont (1989). Research study prepared for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. Vol. 4 Discrimination against Blacks in Nova Scotia: The Criminal Justice System. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia

Wilson Head and Don Clairmont conducted a research study for the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution (see “Royal Commission”) on systemic discrimination toward Black people in Nova Scotia’s criminal justice system. Their recommendations included race-relations training for the police and training in Charter and human rights for individuals. They also addressed recruitment policies for criminal justice occupations and improvements to the system of dealing with citizen complaints against the police and the courts.

House of Commons (1984). Equality Now! Report of the Special Committee on Visible Minorities in Canadian Society. Ottawa: Government of Canada

A committee of Liberal, Conservative and New Democrat members of Parliament, chaired by MP Bob Daudlin, was formed as a parliamentary task force to examine the participation of visible minorities in Canadian society. After hearing witnesses and receiving submissions from numerous Canadian communities, the committee made 80 recommendations dealing with social integration, employment, public policy, justice, the media and education.

Joyette, D., and M. Oda (2005). Black Creek West Community Capacity Building Project: Towards Resource &Capacity Development Action Plan. Toronto: Joyette Consulting Services

This report identified aspects of socio-economic need and vulnerability, along with resources and capacities in the Black Creek West community of Toronto. The action plan set out in the report made proposals in strategic directions identified during the process, including promoting economic independence and stability, development of services, community involvement in decision-making, enhanced information and services, showcasing the community, and the need for healthy, safe and esthetic spaces and facilities.

Law Reform Commission of Canada (1991). Report on Aboriginal Peoples and Criminal Justice: Equality, Respect and the Search for Justice (Report 34). Ottawa: Law Reform Commission of Canada

The Law Reform Commission concluded that Aboriginal peoples should have the authority to establish Aboriginal justice systems. Recommendations included bringing more Aboriginal people into all occupations within the justice system and expanding cross-cultural training for all individuals currently working in the justice system. The recommendations also addressed alternative sentencing and community involvement in advising on sentences.

Law Society of British Columbia Gender Bias Committee (1992). Report on Gender Equality in the Justice System, Vols. 1 and 2. Vancouver: Law Society of British Columbia

The Law Society of British Columbia’s Gender Bias Committee made recommendations for improving equality for women in British Columbia’s justice system, but several of the recommendations also touched upon minorities. These included the recommendation that the Attorney General of British Columbia consider ways of enhancing the representation of women and minorities on the Judicial Council.

LeSage, P. (2005). Report on the Police Complaints System in Ontario. Toronto: Government of Ontario

The Government of Ontario asked the Hon. Patrick LeSage to advise it on the development of a model for resolving public complaints about the police. After consulting widely with interested parties, Justice LeSage set out a series of systemic changes, including civilian oversight and monitoring of the complaints process through the mechanism of a complaints body, headed by a civilian who had not been a police officer and informed by community/police advisory groups in each region.

Lewis, S. (1992). Report on Race Relations in Ontario. Toronto: Government of Ontario

In 1992, the fatal Los Angeles police shooting of a young Black man, the eighth such shooting in three years, just days after the acquittal of Los Angeles police officers in the beating of Rodney King, led to demonstrations in Toronto that were characterized as riots. In the immediate aftermath, the Government of Ontario appointed Stephen Lewis, former leader of Ontario’s New Democratic Party, to consult widely and advise the government on race relations. In his reports, Mr. Lewis urged the reconstitution of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force (see “Lewis, C.”) and a race-relations audit for the police forces. He also made recommendations relating to the use of force by police and to enhanced police training. His report also addressed the issues of employment, education and the reestablishment of a Cabinet committee on race relations.

Linden, S. (2007). Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry. Toronto: Government of Ontario

The Ipperwash Inquiry was established to inquire into and report on events surrounding the death of Dudley George, who was fatally shot in 1995 during a protest by First Nations representatives at Ipperwash Provincial Park in Ontario. The inquiry was also mandated to make recommendations related to avoiding future violence in similar circumstances. In addition to recommendations related to treaty relations, natural resources, education and the resolution of land claims, the Hon. Sidney Linden made recommendations with respect to bias-free policing and First Nations police services.

He recommended that police services devote time and resources to building capacity to respond to Aboriginal protests and occupations; ensure that police leadership and officers are trained in Aboriginal history, law and customs; include Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal officers in an integrated peacekeeping approach; and improve consultation and outreach activities. He further recommended that the Government of Ontario issue a directive to all Ontario police services requiring police officers to report any incidents of racism or other culturally insensitive behaviour by other officers to supervisors.

Ma, S. (2004). Just Listen to Me: Youth Voices on Violence. Toronto: Government of Ontario Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy

The Ontario Office of Child and Family Service Advocacy organized a series of Youth Roundtable Discussions on Violence in 2004. Participant Stephanie Ma reported on the proceedings and recommendations arising from the round tables. The young people who participated recommended that youth be involved and engaged in anti-violence policies and programs, that violence prevention be taught in schools, and that sensitivity to diversity be promoted through revised curricula and initiatives to bring youth together for multicultural experiences in their communities.

McLeod, R. (1996). A Report and Recommendations on Amendments to the Police Services Act Respecting Civilian Oversight of Police. Toronto: Government of Ontario

Rod McLeod, QC, was asked to review civilian oversight of police in Ontario and advise the Attorney General and Solicitor General on ways to simplify the system to make it more efficient and effective. He recommended simplifying legislation, streamlining various civilian oversight bodies into one, establishing alternative locations for filing complaints and creating a mechanism for informal complaints resolution. Mr. McLeod also found, from a review of the literature and the submissions he received, that a continuing perception of systemic racism in policing existed in many racial minority communities.

National Crime Prevention Centre (2000). National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention: Policy Framework for Addressing Crime Prevention and Children Ages 0 to 12. Ottawa: Government of Canada

———(2000). National Strategy on Community Safety and Crime Prevention: Policy Framework for Addressing Crime Prevention and Youth Ages 12 to 18. Ottawa: Government of Canada

From 1995 to 2000, the National Crime Prevention Centre/National Crime Prevention Council undertook a series of studies and consultations on the prevention of youth crime. In the two reports cited above, the centre set out comprehensive, multi-layered strategies to prevent childhood victimization and the early onset of criminal behaviour. The strategies addressed underlying societal factors, such as poverty and unemployment, as well as more immediate individual, family and community risk factors linked to crime prevention policy.

National Crime Prevention Council (1995). Clear Limits and Real Opportunities: The Keys to Preventing Youth Crimes. Ottawa: Government of Canada

———(1997). Preventing Crime by Investing in Families: An Integrated Approach to Promote Positive Outcomes in Children. Ottawa: Government of Canada

———(1997). Preventing Crime by Investing in Families: Promoting Positive Outcomes in Children Six to Twelve. Ottawa: Government of Canada

———(1997). Preventing Crime by Investing in Families and Communities: Promoting Positive Outcomes in Youth Twelve to Eighteen Years Old. Ottawa: Government of Canada

In the four reports cited above, the National Crime Prevention Council developed models for the prevention of delinquency and crime generally and for three different age groups. The reports noted the combination of risk factors, which, if not balanced by protective factors, predispose children and youth to negative outcomes. The models stressed the need to address child poverty as part of any crime prevention strategy and the need to see children in a holistic way rather than isolating them from their living and learning contexts.

———,Economic Analysis Committee (1996). Money Well Spent: Investing in Preventing Crime. Ottawa: Government of Canada

In this report, the Economic Analysis Committee of the National Crime Prevention Council sought to demonstrate that crime prevention through social development is a cost-effective way of promoting personal and community security

———,Youth Justice Committee (1995). Mobilizing Political Will and Community Responsibility to Prevent Crime. Ottawa: Government of Canada

The Youth Justice Committee of the National Crime Prevention Council consulted a range of people working with and for young people in Canada and consulted directly with young people, including those who had been in trouble with the law. The committee evaluated and suggested improvements to existing youth-oriented programs and youth-related crime prevention strategies.

Nova Scotia. (2007). Our Kids Are Worth It: Strategy for Children and Youth. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia

In response to the findings and recommendations of the Nunn Commission (see “Nunn, M.”), the Government of Nova Scotia formulated a comprehensive plan for creating a “well child system” through improving services and facilities, identifying and dealing with problems early in the life of the child, coordinating programs and services, and evaluating and reporting on the effectiveness of various projects.

Nova Scotia Department of Justice, Policy, Planning and Research (2006). Perspectives on Youth Crime in Nova Scotia. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia

Responding to public concern about youth crime, the Planning and Research department of Nova Scotia’s Justice Department compiled information on youth criminal activity and system responses to it. The report provided an overview of risk and protective factors, insights on effective interventions, and perspectives from government officials and others providing youth services. The authors observed that enforcement is not enough, and that crime and the causes of crime must both be addressed. The study concluded that risk factors are often interrelated and occur together, creating added risk, and therefore successful interventions must address multiple risk factors.

Nunn, M. (2006). Spiralling Out of Control: Lessons Learned From a Boy in Trouble. Report of the Nunn Commission of Inquiry. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia

The Nunn Commission in Nova Scotia was established following the fatal injury of Theresa McEvoy in a car crash caused by a young person, Archie Billard, who had been released from custody just two days earlier. Retired Chief Justice Merlin Nunn was asked to investigate why Mr. Billard was released and examine the procedures and practices pertaining to the handling of the charges against him at the time of his release and thereafter. Commissioner Nunn’s recommendations included separate courthouse facilities for youth matters, a standard approach to pretrial detention for young persons and the development of a comprehensive strategy to coordinate provincial programs, interventions, services and supports to children and youth at risk and their families.

Office for Children, Youth and Family Support (2004). Action Plan for Young People. Canberra: Australian Capital Territory Government

In 2004, the Australian Capital Territory Government launched a new framework focusing on young people, including young people at risk. A three-pronged approach was proposed involving enhancing support, providing more coordinated assistance and strengthening age-specific supports and services. Within each of these components, the government set out a series of strategies, including enhanced prevention and early intervention programs, the development of common case-management approaches throughout government and community organizations, a stronger focus on the effectiveness and evaluation of programs, improved transitions for young people between service systems, responsible information-sharing practices and enhanced awareness of privacy issues. The keys to success identified included supporting the individual young person, improving education and employment prospects, providing ongoing age-appropriate support, addressing multiple risk factors through holistic multidisciplinary approaches, and working with families, schools, and the community

Ontario Human Rights Commission (2003). Paying the Price: The Human Cost of Racial Profiling. Inquiry Report. Toronto: Government of Ontario

The Ontario Human Rights Commission conducted a study of racial profiling in Ontario and recommended that all organizations and institutions entrusted with responsibility for public safety, security and protection monitor for and prevent racial profiling. The report also addressed anti-racism training for police and the recruitment of minorities by police services. The commission recommended that the police develop educational materials, particularly aimed at youth, to explain citizens’ rights. It called for multicultural and anti-racism policies for school boards and for school curriculums to include anti-discrimination and diversity training.

Peterson, K. (1992). The Justice House: Report of the Special Advisor on Gender Equality (to the Minister of Justice). Yellowknife: Department of Justice, Northwest Territories

Katherine Peterson, Special Advisor on Gender Equality to the Minister of Justice of the Northwest Territories, studied the treatment of women in the justice system in the Northwest Territories. She recommended reforms pertaining to judicial appointments to render the judiciary more representative of the population and changes to school curricula to better reflect women. Her report also encouraged the government to research possible sentencing and conviction discrepancies between male and female young offenders and to research the causes of offending by young women.

Pitman, W. (1977). Now Is Not Too Late. Toronto: Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto

In 1977, in the wake of incidents of violence toward the South Asian community in Toronto, Chairman of Metro Council Paul Godfrey appointed Walter Pitman, then-president of Ryerson Polytechnical Institute, as a one-man “Task Force on Human Relations” to probe the issue of racism in the city. He found that a disturbing degree of racial tension existed in the city and that the city had not yet addressed the issue of racism directly. His recommendations focused on the role of the police, settlement services and schools, and set out measures to combat racism in each of these areas.

Race Relations and Policing Task Force (1989). Report of the Race Relations and Policing Task Force. Toronto: Government of Ontario

In response to concerns expressed by visible minority organizations about interactions between the police and members of their communities, then Solicitor General Joan Smith established a six-member task force to carry out an inquiry. The chair of the task force was Clare Lewis, then Ontario’s public complaints commissioner (see “Lewis, C.”). The task force gathered information from the police services, community organizations, institutions, associations and individuals, and reviewed previous reports and recommendations made to government. Each section of the report began with an apt quote, including one from the Carter report (see “Carter, G.”) of 10 years earlier: “I must confess to a certain sense of déjà vu in this operation.” The task force was “haunted by a sense of cynicism” throughout its deliberations, and concluded that it could only restate in the strongest possible terms, as others had before them, that the cycle of inaction must be broken. To that end, the task force report included 57 detailed recommendations, with specific deadlines and implementation criteria, in the areas of monitoring, hiring and promotion, race-relations training, use of force, community relations, First Nations peoples and police commissions.

Region of Peel Public Health (2006). Peel Youth Violence Prevention: Toward a Bright Future. Brampton: Region of Peel

The steering committee of the Peel Youth Violence Prevention Committee formed by Region of Peel Public Health included representatives from Peel Region’s Regional Council, Peel Regional Police, the Health Department, schools and numerous community organizations. The committee studied youth violence in Peel, reviewed the region’s existing programs, and developed strategic actions related to services and support for youth, community development, working with families, and education policy and programs.

Rolf, C. (1991). Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Policing in Relation to the Blood Tribe. Edmonton: Government of Alberta

The Government of Alberta appointed the Hon. C. Rolf as a one-man commission of inquiry to review and make recommendations on Blood Tribe police services in the province. The recommendations in Justice Rolf’s report included reforms to protocols for cooperation among various police services, cross-cultural training for police officers, public legal education on the criminal justice system and community involvement in policing and cultural education.

Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution (1989). Report of the Royal Commission on the Donald Marshall, Jr. Prosecution. Vol. 1 Commissioners’ Report: Findings and Recommendations. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia

Donald Marshall, Jr., a young Mi’kmaq man, was prosecuted and wrongly convicted and imprisoned for the murder of William Sandford Seale in 1971. In 1986, the Government of Nova Scotia established a royal commission to inquire, investigate and report on these events. Chief Justice T. Alexander Hickman (chair), Chief Justice Lawrence Poitras and the Hon. Gregory Evans, QC, were appointed commissioners. The commission discharged its mandate through an expansive inquiry into the Nova Scotia justice system, its treatment of visible minorities, and the role of police and politicians within the system. In 1989, the commission released its seven-volume report: Vol. 1 Commissioners’ Report: Findings and Recommendations; Vol. 2 Public Policing in Nova Scotia; Vol. 3 The Mi’kmaq and Criminal Justice in Nova Scotia; Vol. 4 Discrimination Against Blacks in Nova Scotia: The Criminal Justice System: a research study; Vol. 5 Walking the Tightrope of Justice: An Examination of the Office of the Attorney General; Vol. 6 Prosecuting Officers and the Administration of Justice in Nova Scotia: a research study; and Vol. 7 Consultative Conference, November 24-26, 1988: edited transcript of proceedings.

In the first volume, the commissioners made recommendations relating to reforming Nova Scotia’s criminal justice system and the policies within its components to eliminate systemic bias. For example, they recommended that the Attorney General and Solicitor General adopt and publicize a policy on race relations, that a Cabinet committee on race relations be established, that visible minority judges and administrative board members be appointed whenever possible, that the Attorney General establish continuing education programs for Crown prosecutors, including material on the nature of systemic discrimination toward Black and Aboriginal peoples in Nova Scotia, and that all police training include content reflecting the concerns of visible minorities.

———(1989). Vol. 2 Public Policing in Nova Scotia. Halifax: Government of Nova Scotia

Recommendations focused on policing included recruiting visible minorities for police forces using outreach recruitment methods, enhancing human and minority relations content in police training courses, especially for those whose first assignment will be in areas of high visible minority concentration, and formulating official policies regarding racism.

Safe Cities for Youth: A Culture of Smart Choices (2007, December 3). Conference report. Toronto: Department of Justice Canada, City of Toronto. University of Toronto, Toronto

Funded by Justice Canada and organized by the City of Toronto’s Community Safety Secretariat, this conference brought together about 250 people, including over 100 youth, to discuss four themes: youth engagement, the myths and realities of gangs, traditional and alternative approaches to justice, and culturally competent and multi-sectoral approaches to creating safer cities for youth. Recommendations arising from the event included providing long-term sustainable funding for youth programs, youth involvement in all aspects of programs and engaging youth to find out what motivates them. It was also recommended that “youth” be defined as under 29. The participants urged that, while it is important to understand risk factors, programs to address gang involvement be built on protective factors. The justice system, the participants felt, should be restorative rather than punitive. To support young children, a wraparound approach to services was recommended. The need for programs, skills and education, rather than more basketball courts, was highlighted, as well as the need for more police community liaison officers.

School Community Safety Advisory Panel (2008). The Road to Health: A Final Report on School Safety. Toronto: Toronto District School Board

The Toronto District School Board appointed the School Community Safety Advisory Panel in 2007, following the shooting death of 15-year-old student Jordan Manners inside C.W. Jefferys Collegiate Institute. The panel’s goal was to understand the events leading to Jordan Manners’ death and to make recommendations to prevent similar tragedies. In its four-volume report, the panel set out its findings and recommendations in 12 areas that it felt fundamentally affected the health of school environments: gender and school safety, barriers to reporting school safety issues, tracking violent incidents at schools, the breakdown in the relationship between students and teachers, the lack of youth activities, inadequate funding, lack of clarity regarding the role of trustees, discipline measures in schools, strategies for detecting and deterring safety threats, supports for students with complex needs, school safety concerns specific to Aboriginal students, and the relationship between safety and equity. The panel found it imperative to dismantle the culture created by the Safe Schools Act and to replace it with a new and inclusive concept of safety. Though this approach would include discipline, it would also be capable of operating beyond enforcement (see also “Toronto District School Board Safe and Compassionate Schools Task Force”).

Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General (1988). Taking Responsibility: Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General on its Review of Sentencing, Conditional Release and Related Aspects of Corrections. Ottawa: Government of Canada

Chaired by MP David Daubney, the Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General examined and presented findings and recommendations on government policy with respect to sentencing. This came in the wake of a protracted debate on reintroducing capital punishment in 1987. The committee took the view that criminal justice reforms must occur in a context responsive to the needs and interests of victims and the community. It examined public attitudes toward sentencing and identified areas of misunderstanding that contribute to lack of public confidence in the criminal justice system. The committee’s proposals for sentencing and conditional release reform included providing better information to the public about sentencing objectives, developing alternative sentencing resources and alternatives to incarceration, providing feedback to the courts on the effectiveness of community sanctions, establishing better linkages between the criminal justice system and other services, promoting greater community participation in institutional programs, creating additional halfway houses, and ensuring that inmate transfers do not result in a loss of access to post-secondary education programs.

———(1993). Crime Prevention in Canada: Toward a National Strategy: Twelfth Report of the Standing Committee on Justice and the Solicitor General. Ottawa: Government of Canada

Chaired by MP Dr. Robert Horner, the committee set out the components of an integrated crime prevention policy. Recommendations included federal support for a national crime prevention council and allocating a percentage of funds earmarked for the police, the courts and the correctional system to crime prevention measures (starting with one per cent and growing by one per cent per year to five per cent after five years). The committee also recommended that the federal government cooperate with the provinces, the territories and qualified professionals in promoting the prevention of violence as an integral part of elementary and secondary school curricula in Canada.

Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and its Impact on the Indian and Métis People of Alberta (1991). Justice on Trial: Report of the Task Force on the Criminal Justice System and its Impact on the Indian and Métis People of Alberta (Cawsey Report). Edmonton: Government of Alberta

Concerns about the disproportional number of Aboriginals in Alberta’s correctional institutions and the treatment of Aboriginal people within the criminal justice system prompted the establishment of a task force to examine the issue. Through a consultative process, the task force looked at the criminal justice system in the province and its impact on Aboriginal and Métis people. With reference to crime prevention and policing, the task force recommended initial and refresher cultural and anti-racism training for police officers, including the stipulation that cultural training be delivered by members of the relevant community. The task force called for concerted efforts to recruit Aboriginal people to the police force, for officers to spend time in Aboriginal communities in a non-enforcement capacity, and for public legal education and community outreach on the justice system. It was recommended that crime prevention and other proactive police initiatives have the same weight as other activities in assessing the police workload, and that crime prevention programs be initiated by communities.

The Griffin Centre (2005). Jane Finch Neighbourhood Action Plan Report. Toronto: City of Toronto

The City of Toronto provided funding for the Griffin Centre to work with the Jane Finch community to develop a youth services strategy. The strategy developed was based on a literature review, a youth-led research project, a community needs assessment and a case study of a successful local youth organization. The key findings in the resulting report pointed to the need for more sustainable services for youth, strategies to address the discordant relationships between youth and police and youth and the school system, and better coordination of services to the community. The plan called for investment in new social infrastructure and investment in helping local citizens and community groups become active participants in the development of solutions to local problems. The report also highlighted the need for more outreach and more youth outreach workers, youth mentors, peer education, early intervention, multi-disciplinary approaches and the development of crisis response protocols.

Toronto District School Board Task Force on Safe and Compassionate Schools (2004). Report: Task Force on Safe and Compassionate Schools. Toronto: Toronto District School Board

Following the implementation of policies flowing from the introduction of the Safe Schools Act in 2001-02, the Toronto District School Board formed a task force in December 2003, chaired by Julian Falconer, to assess the effectiveness of the board’s policies. The task force felt that the Safe Schools Act should be repealed. It recommended that the board collect and analyze statistics on expulsions and suspensions to begin to address inequities, develop mandatory programs for suspended and expelled students and ban suspensions for children in kindergarten through Grade 3. It further recommended that staff involved in disciplinary action receive cultural awareness, equity and anti-racism training. More than 500 anti-bullying and preventative programs were found to exist, and the task force recommended that a much smaller number of programs, having been evaluated and found effective, should operate in all schools. The task force called for restoring lunch room supervisors, child care workers, youth support workers, attendance counsellors, hall monitors, caretakers, community liaison workers and education assistants to schools, and urged that a way be found to provide study support after school hours (see “School Community Safety Advisory Panel”).

Tymchak, M., &Saskatchewan Instructional Development &Research Unit (2001). Toward a New School, Community and Human Service Partnership in Saskatchewan. Final Report of the Task Force and Public Dialogue on the Role of the School to the Minister of Education of Saskatchewan. Regina: Government of Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s Task Force and Public Dialogue on the Role of the School, chaired by Dr. Michael Tymchak, proposed a new educational framework built on an integrated services model (referred to as SchoolPLUS). Under the new framework, all schools would adopt a community school philosophy. Responsibility for SchoolPLUS would go to all human services departments and their agencies, including social services, health, justice and education, and to community organizations. Services to children and youth would be delivered in an integrated, school-linked and, where possible, school-based environment. Where sentences for youth included school attendance, the justice system would ensure followup and the provision of appropriate background information to school division officials. Educational opportunities for troubled youth in institutional settings would be provided within the SchoolPLUS framework. The Government of Saskatchewan accepted the recommendations and adopted the SchoolPLUS concept.

Ubale, B. (1977). Equal Opportunity and Public Policy: A Report on Concerns of the South Asian Canadian Community Regarding Their Place in the Canadian Mosaic. Submitted to the Attorney General of Ontario

The late 1970s saw an escalating number of increasingly violent attacks on South Asian Canadians in Toronto. In 1977, members of the South Asian community, the Human Rights Commission, the Metropolitan Toronto Police Department and the Ministry of the Attorney General were brought together to discuss the situation, chaired by then Attorney General Roy McMurtry. Following that meeting, Indian Immigrant Aid Service, together with other South Asian organizations, asked Dr. Bhausaheb Ubale to undertake an investigation and consultations with the diverse South Asian community in the Toronto area and produce a unified submission and recommendations for the Attorney General. Dr. Ubale examined the reasons for and the manifestations of racism at every level of society and proposed a comprehensive set of policy reforms. He recommended that police receive training in the implications of a multiracial society, recruit more non-white applicants at senior levels, and introduce psychological testing to screen for racial prejudice. Dr. Ubale proposed that teacher training and school curricula should be reorganized to be more inclusive of the historical and cultural contribution of Asia and Third World countries and to eliminate stereotypes.

He included several recommendations for government policy measures to combat racism, as well as policy proposals for the business sector, trade unions, professional bodies, the media and universities. Finally, he pointed out that race relations is a two-way process and suggested that South Asian communities would also have to take action to facilitate their integration into Canadian society. As a framework for implementing the proposed policy reforms, Dr. Ubale suggested changes to the structure of the Human Rights Commission or the option of a new institution to be responsible for community relations and research.

The Government of Ontario responded to Dr. Ubale’s report with Forward Together: A Statement of the Position of Ontario on the Issues Raised in the Ubale Report on the Concerns of the South Asian Community, which outlined the ways in which Dr. Ubale’s recommendations were being implemented in the areas of the administration of justice, education, employment, multiculturalism and other issues. Dr. Ubale was subsequently appointed commissioner of the Human Rights Commission, with additional responsibility as the province’s first race-relations commissioner.

Urban Alliance on Race Relations (1993, March 26). Conference report: The Justice System: Is It Serving or Failing Minorities? The Canadian Bar Association–Ontario, The Law Society of Upper Canada, the Ontario Women’s Directorate and the Ministry of the Attorney General. Osgoode Hall, Toronto

The Urban Alliance on Race Relations conference examined the manner in which the legal and justice system affects women, Aboriginal peoples and racial minorities, and developed policy recommendations. The report on the conference proceedings noted recommendations regarding immigration, including educating immigration officers about human rights abuses in countries of origin and preventing race-related crime issues from influencing individual immigration decisions. With respect to Charter rights, recommendations included establishing a racial minority, community-based legal clinic to uncover systemic racism through test cases and research. Recommendations regarding the justice system centred on examining courtroom procedures and the discretionary use of power by justice officials; examining police use of force to determine whether it varies by race, gender and socio-economics status; community-specific legal and supplementary services; and enhanced legal protection for Aboriginal and racial minority women. Further recommendations dealt with police accountability and training and jury participation by minorities

Warner, R., and Grassroots Youth Collaborative (2005). Youth on Youth: Grassroots Youth Collaborative on Youth Led Organizing in the City of Toronto. Toronto: Ontario Region of the Department of Canadian Heritage

The Grassroots Youth Collaborative consists of youth-led, non-profit, community-based organizations in the Greater Toronto Area. The Ontario Region of the Department of Canadian Heritage funded a project for the collaborative to conduct a series of focus groups and interviews with front-line youth workers and to report findings and recommendations. Recommendations related to organizations serving youth included support for youth-led organizations and programming, in which youth staff reflect the ethnic, race, class and gender composition of the community. A long-term, prevention-focused community development approach to youth programming was also recommended, and the report highlighted the importance of increasing sustainability through diversified revenue streams. The use of the arts and popular culture to engage youth was presented as a key strategy. The recommendations envisioned capacity-building through partnerships, including cooperation with adults and adult-run organizations for ongoing transfer of knowledge, skills and expertise. Funding agencies and policy-makers were urged to make a greater investment in youth and in youth-led organizations and programs and to ensure better representation of youth, women and minorities in decision-making positions in government and funding agencies.

Youth Networking Forum (2006, January 20). Conference report. City of Toronto. City Hall, Toronto

The City of Toronto held a forum for 33 organizations that had received funding for youth-oriented projects through Access, Equity and Humans Rights Grants from the Community Partnerships and Investment Program. The purpose was to evaluate existing initiatives and propose others. Key messages derived from feedback on the forum were that “by youth, for youth” initiatives should be supported; that core and sustainable funding should be dedicated to planning and delivering youth programs; that youth-to-youth mentorship and leadership should be supported; and that stable funding for race-relations education, anti-oppression initiatives, and programs to combat systemic racism should be available. The participants urged repeal of the Safe Schools Act and elimination of zero-tolerance policies in schools. They saw a need for increased availability of affordable meeting spaces for youth and for more support for youth organization capacity-building. Meaningful long-term vocational/skills-training programs for youth were also considered important. A final key message was that the participants had attended many such forums and had heard much of the information before.


Volume 1. Findings, Analysis and Conclusions

Volume 2. Executive Summary

Volume 3. Community Perspectives Report

Volume 4. Research Papers

Volume 5. Literature Reviews