Community safety and well-being are priorities in every Ontario community. Changes made to the Ontario Police Services Act in 2019 require municipalities to develop and adopt plans that address root causes of crime and complex social issues by focusing holistically on social development, prevention, and risk prevention. These plans – referred to as Community Safety and Well-Being (CSWB) plans – recognize that complex issues cannot be addressed in isolation or solely on an incident response basis. As such, municipalities must work on CSWB plans in partnership with multi-sectoral advisory committees that include representatives from social and community organizations, school boards, boards of health, the police service, and any other local service providers working to protect or enhance safety and well-being.
In 2019, the nine lower-tier municipalities in Huron County joined forces with police, boards of education, health, child welfare, social services, community organizations, and other committees to initiate the Community Safety and Well-Being planning process. At the June 7, 2021 Regular Council Meeting the Municipality of Bluewater Council adopted the final Community Safety and Well-Being Plan.
Utilizing survey and consultation findings to identify key themes, supplemented by a review of the literature and focus group discussions, four Priority Areas have been established to address community safety and well-being in Huron County:
- Mental Health and Addictions
- Housing and Homelessness
- Domestic and Family Violence
- Community Safety and Security
An Implementation Plan is in the process of development to address these priority areas for action.