TORONTO — The Ontario government is reinvesting $1.5 million in cash and proceeds seized from criminals to help local partners fight back against crime and victimization that threaten their communities. Funding through the Civil Remedies Grant Program is being made available to law enforcement agencies and community partners for 18 community projects focused on helping victims of crime and strengthening local capacity to prevent intimate partner, family, and gun and gang violence.
“Our government is committed to strengthening every available tool, including civil forfeiture, to help police, prosecutors and local partners confront and dismantle the criminal networks that prey on our communities,” said Attorney General Doug Downey. “Crime should never pay, and these seized funds will help communities support victims of crime and fight back to break the cycle of offending.”
The initiatives funded this year will:
- use investments in mobile surveillance to help fight the current drug crisis in rural and remote Northern First Nations communities
- help keep youth off the streets by helping improve wellness, safety and positive decision-making to reduce criminal behaviour and victimization
- support people experiencing victimization due to crime through mental health crisis services, specialized care and support, and education and training opportunities
- provide community legal assistance to First Nations people who are hesitant to use outside legal supports
Changes to strengthen the Civil Remedies Act passed under the Smarter and Stronger Justice Act allow personal property, such as cash or cars used by criminals for illegal activities, to be forfeited without a court order in cases where no interested person disputes the forfeiture.
Eligible applicants for the Civil Remedies Grant Program include Ontario and First Nations Police Services, not-for-profit groups, community agencies and Indigenous communities and organizations that help victims of crime or help to prevent crime.