Nearly 400 healthcare and social service professionals have signed onto an open letter demanding a commitment from Toronto City Council to endorse all demands from Black Lives Matter Toronto to defund, demilitarize, disarm, and dismantle the police. In the lead up to City Council’s next meeting on June 29, where a motion has been introduced to reduce next year’s police budget by 10%, healthcare and social service providers are demanding a commitment from city council to reduce the $1.1 billion police budget by a minimum of fifty percent. This demand to defund the police comes at a time when the city faces a looming budgetary shortfall of $1.5 to $2.8 billion that threatens the sustainability of vital community services, such as subsidized housing, libraries, and public transit, and Black and Indigenous communities continue to experience deeply unjust levels of police violence and poverty.
Since April of this year, four racialized people in Ontario – D’Andre Campbell, Caleb Njoko, Regis Korchinski-Paquet, and Ejaz Ahmed Choudry – have all lost their lives after experiencing mental health crises and having police arrive to their homes.
The letter makes the following demands of city council:
- Reallocate, at a minimum, 50% of the Toronto Police Service’s $1.1 billion budget to protect and invest in vital community services,
- Endorse the creation of police-free, community-led, and trauma-informed alternatives to the police, and
- Commit to all demands from Black Lives Matters Toronto to defund, demilitarize, disarm, and dismantle the police.
Read the full letter
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