Jun 29, 2021

By Bob Komsic

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In the wake of high profile deaths following Toronto police confrontations with those of colour, including Ejaz Choudry, Regis Korchinski-Paquet and D’Andre Campbell; all of whom were in the midst of a mental health crisis, a policing alternative pilot project is set to launch in January.
The $11-million pilot, which will become Canada’s largest non-police alternative response program, will see community-based teams primarily respond to mental health calls.   
Leading the project will be Denise Campbell, the city’s executive director of social development. 
”I hope that the legacy of George Floyd in Canada is what we’re seeing right now, which is police services across the country, communities saying we’ve got to do better,” says Campbell.
The teams will likely include community nurses, harm-reduction workers and those trained in de-escalation.
Totally separate from Toronto Police, it’ll most likely be accessible through both 911 and 211; a non-emergency line that connects callers with community service.
The pilot will begin in the city’s northeast and northwest areas with the aim of adding two more by the middle of next year.
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