Government of Ontario
Ministry of the
Solicitor General




Building Awareness of the Ministry’s Strategic Direction

October 2008
  1. Introduction
  2. Directional Statement and Ministry Values
  3. Ministry Overview
  4. Overview of the Strategic Planning Process
  5. Ministry Situational Analysis
  1. Environmental Scan
  2. Key Drivers
  1. Ministry Goals, Objectives and Strategies
  2. Going Forward


As the Deputy Ministers responsible for community safety and correctional services in Ontario, we are pleased to present our Ministry’s strategic plan.

The purpose of the strategic plan is to guide the Ministry in meeting its public safety mandate over the next five years (2008-2013). The strategic plan identifies the challenges that lay ahead, what strategies are under development to address these challenges and how progress will be measured. It allows all areas of the Ministry to engage in discussion and planning activities that complement and support the Ministry’s strategic direction.

The strategic direction focuses on five central goals that are fundamental to the Ministry’s operations and represent the heart of our work. These goals are:

  1. Deliver services and set standards, policies, and guidelines in policing, corrections and public safety to keep Ontario’s communities safe.
  2. Contribute to an effective, efficient and seamless justice system that serves all of Ontario’s diverse communities.
  3. Deliver responsive programs and services that meet the unique needs of Ontario’s diverse communities.
  4. Work with Aboriginal communities to address their community safety service delivery needs and develop harmonious and mutually respectful relationships.
  5. Lead and promote a healthy, diverse and engaged workforce and organization that reflects the Ministry’s values and the communities we serve.

We encourage you to read this plan and hope that it will give you a better understanding of the reasoning behind our priorities and an appreciation of how they will be pursued through 2008 and beyond.

Deborah Newman

Deputy Minister

Community Safety

Jay C. Hope

Deputy Minister

Correctional Services


The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services’ (MCSCS) Directional Statement is: “serving all of Ontario’s diverse communities to keep our province safe.” The Ministry strives to meet this commitment through high performance policing, strong enforcement, leading edge scientific and technological investigative work, emergency management expertise, community safety preparedness and effective offender supervision and rehabilitation.

The ability to achieve our goals will depend on the active participation of all employees. As a Ministry, we value the following principles and behaviours when conducting our work:

  • Accountable Leadership that is modelled at every level;
  • Fiscal Responsibility that ensures the public’s trust;
  • Employees who are committed to public service
  • Ethical Behaviour that demonstrates our professional integrity; and
  • Diversity and Equity that drive organizational performance.


The Ontario government is committed to making Ontarians safer in their communities by being tough on crime through strong enforcement and tough on the causes of crime through effective prevention.

The mandate of the Ministry is to ensure that Ontario's communities are supported and protected by law enforcement and that public safety and correctional systems are safe, secure, effective, efficient and accountable.

The Ministry has a wide range of responsibilities, which include:

  • Frontline policing;
  • Establishing and ensuring policing and private security standards;
  • Providing police oversight services
  • Coordinating community safety initiatives, such as forensic and coroner
  • services, fire investigation and prevention, and emergency preparedness and response; and,
  • Supervising and positively influencing the rehabilitation of adult offenders in correctional institutions and in the community.

The Ministry, working through the Public Safety Division and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), is improving the protection of victims, children and other marginalized Ontarians through assertive action against violent crime and activities that fund crime.

Working through Emergency Management Ontario, the Ministry is ensuring community emergency preparedness and response capabilities throughout the province.

The Correctional Services Division is committed to enhancing community safety through effective supervision, care, custody and intervention, influencing the behavioural change and re-integration of offenders into communities as productive members of society.

Working with our Justice Sector partners, the Ministry of the Attorney General and the Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Ministry is committed to transforming the way justice works for the people of Ontario by building a more responsive and efficient justice system.


A strategic plan identifies where an organization is going over a specified period of time (e.g., five to 10 years) and how it is going to get there. The "strategic" part of the planning process is its responsiveness to changes in the organization and its environment, and how these changes affect the future direction of the organization.

The strategic planning process attempts to answer five key questions:

  1. What is the current situation or environment in which the organization is operating?
  2. What results should be achieved?
  3. What are the priorities or objectives?
  4. What action will be taken?
  5. What progress has been made and what adjustments are necessary?

Consequently, strategic planning influences the setting of organizational goals, how programs and services will be designed and delivered, organizational structure, performance outcomes and the allocation of resources.

The Directional Statement is comprised of External Factors and Internal Factors. Questions asked at this stage include “What is the current operating environment?”

Establishing Goals is next. “What are we trying to achieve?”

Objectives come next. “What are our priorities?”

Next come Strategies, Action Plans and Resources. “What action will be taken?”

Next is Revisiting the Planning Cycle. This evaluation process will Review, Adjust and Redirect. “What progress are we making and what adjustments are needed?”

To begin the strategic planning process, the Ministry first looked at the plans, challenges and opportunities of its community safety, emergency planning, and correctional services portfolios. The next step was to develop long-term goals and strategies to address the challenges and make the most of the opportunities.

To support the process, an intra-ministerial working group was formed, made up of representatives from each program area. The working group met regularly to discuss and analyze socio-economic, demographic and justice sector trends that were likely to influence the future direction of the Ministry. The analysis helped the working group develop an evidence-based understanding of both the Ministry’s current and potential operating environment.

The materials that were produced by the working group were used to inform Ministry leaders and staff in their discussions on drivers, goals, objectives and strategies. Over a period of several months, all Ministry employees were given opportunities to provide input into the strategic plan.

The remainder of this report highlights the issues that emerged as a result of this review. 5.


A. Environmental Scan

A critical component of a strategic plan is an assessment of an organization's operating environment. To ensure this assessment is evidence-based, the Ministry considered a number of sources of information including:

  • Ontario Public Service (OPS) organizational values
  • Environmental scans and strategic plans from other ministries and jurisdictions
  • (e.g., provincial, national and international agencies and departments)
  • Statistics Canada and academic publications
  • Operational plans from the Ministry’s divisions
  • Results from the Ministry’s Employee Engagement Survey and
  • Input from Deputy Dialogue sessions.

The Ministry acknowledges the assistance of the Ministry’s program areas, Statistics Canada and other external sources in compiling the information in the environmental scan.

The research review resulted in the development of a detailed environmental scan. While not intended to be comprehensive, the following are some highlights:

Crime Rates:

  • Ontario’s crime rate per 100,000 population (total Criminal Code incidents excluding traffic) has dropped 46 per cent since peaking in 1991, including a 9 per cent decrease in 2007.
  • In 2007, Ontario’s crime rate was at its lowest point in over 30 years and has been the lowest in Canada since 2003.
  • In 2007, violent crime in Ontario decreased by 3.5 per cent from 2006, including decreases in several major violent crime categories such as the rate of attempted murders (-12 per cent ), robberies (-6.4 per cent) and abductions (-25.4 per cent).
  • After a 52.8 per cent increase in 2005, the rate of homicides in Ontario committed by the use of a firearm decreased by 23.1 per cent in 2006, to the same level as four years previously (0.52 victims per 100,000 population).
  • There were 104 gang-related homicides reported in Canada in 2006, 27 per cent of which occurred in Ontario. In 2006, 14 per cent of Ontario’s homicides were gang related (i.e., 28 of 196 homicides).
  • Similar to previous years, shootings were the most common method used to commit gang-related homicides. Almost three-quarters of the gang-related homicides were committed with a firearm, usually a handgun. In comparison, less than one-quarter (23 per cent) of non-gang-related homicides were shootings.
  • In 2004, 3 per cent of victims believed that the crime had been motivated by hate.
  • In 2004, 61 per cent of hate crime incidents were motivated by race/ethnicity.

Changing Corrections Population:

  • In 2007/08, approximately 65 per cent of the average daily institutional population were remanded offenders.
  • In 2007/08, the average number of days stay in remand was 35.5.
  • From 2002/03 to 2007/08, the number of women admitted to custody in Ontario increased by approximately 31 per cent
  • As of May 30, 2008, the Ministry estimates that 15 per cent of detained inmates in the Ontario correctional system required some form of clinical intervention for mental health issues.
  • The number of accused with mental health alerts remanded to provincial custody increased by 44.1 per cent over the last decade.
  • Aboriginal Peoples continue to be over-represented in Ontario’s correctional system, as is the case nationally. In 2006/07, Aboriginal Peoples represented 1.8 per cent of the adult population in Ontario, but accounted for 9 per cent of the remand population and 8.5 per cent of the sentenced population.


  • Re-offending rates for sentences served in Ontario, completed in 2004/05, show the following percentage of adults returning on a new conviction:
  • 41.6 per cent of adults released with a provincial sentence of more than 6 months returned within 24 months;
  • 22 per cent departing from probation returned within 24 months; and,
  • 21.1 per cent departing from conditional sentence returned within 24 months.

Traffic Enforcement:

  • From 1980 to 2005, the number of licensed drivers in Ontario increased by 75 per cent, however the number of fatalities decreased by 49 per cent.
  • From 2004 to 2005, the number of traffic fatalities declined from 799 to 766, the lowest number of fatalities since 1948.
  • Alcohol is the major contributing factor in 23 per cent of all fatal collisions in Ontario.
  • In Ontario, the number of drinking and driving fatalities declined from 192 in 2004 to 174 in 2005, a 9 per cent decrease.
  • In 2005, 23,366 traffic collisions occurred in Ontario because the driver was either driving too fast or driving too fast for conditions. Data collected by the OPP between March and September 2008 indicate that speed was the most frequent contributing factor in motor vehicle collision fatalities occurring during that period.

Public Confidence and Expectations:

  • For the fifth year in a row, Ontario has recorded the lowest crime rate in Canada, yet public confidence in the criminal justice system remains relatively low. The most recent General Social Survey on Victimization (2004) data indicates that Ontario residents’ attitudes are comparable in many areas to those of Canadians surveyed, including the following:
  • In Ontario, 62 per cent of respondents thought local police were “doing a good job” ensuring the safety of citizens – 66 per cent felt that police were approachable.
  • About 29 per cent of respondents in Ontario thought the prison system was “doing a good job” supervising and controlling prisoners – 16 per cent believed that the prison system helped prisoners become law-abiding citizens.


  • In Ontario, the population aged 65 and over will more than double to 3.5 million by 2031.
  • In 2006, 52 per cent of immigrants settling in Canada chose Ontario.
  • In 2006, 42 per cent of Ontarians resided in the Toronto Census Metropolitan Area.
  • Most Northern Ontario Census Divisions have experienced net population loss.


Over the next five to seven years:

  • The OPS will move to an Enterprise Information Management system providing one set of standardized tools and approaches for managing electronic records, documents and other content.
  • Government will be a major player in the existing Web 2.0 space and the emerging Web 3.0 space taking full advantage of web-delivered information to interactively communicate with clients, partners and colleagues.
  • Wireless technology will continue to increase in bandwidth capacity while hardware will continue to decrease in cost and size. The laptop will be succeeded by smaller “ultra-portable” personal devices with full connectivity and capacity.

Power efficiency and other green initiatives will be critical considerations in choosing between technologies.

Aboriginal Issues:

  • The Aboriginal population is growing faster than the non-Aboriginal population. In Ontario between 2001 and 2006, the number of people who self-identified as Aboriginal increased by 28.3 per cent.
  • Children and youth aged 25 and under make up almost one-half (48 per cent) of the total Aboriginal population.
  • Aboriginal Peoples continue to be over-represented in Ontario’s correctional system, as is the case nationally. In 2006/07, Aboriginal Peoples represented 1.8 per cent of the adult population in Ontario, but accounted for 9 per cent of the remand population and 8.5 per cent of the sentenced population.
  • Compared to non-Aboriginal offenders, Aboriginal offenders are: younger, more frequently unemployed, more likely to have learning and behavioural problems, and have lower levels of education.
  • Aboriginal Peoples are three times more likely than non-Aboriginal Peoples to be victims of violent crimes.

B. Key Drivers

In addition to the above, there are a number of challenges facing the Ministry. Some issues identified as having the most influence on the environment in which the Ministry operates include:

Impact of Technology:

The impact of science and technology on the justice sector is significant, bringing challenges such as new types of crimes or new environments where crimes can occur (e.g., cyber space).

Advancements in science and technology can also identify new and/or enhance investigative methods, internal communications, information management systems and streamline business processes (e.g., e-warrants, video remand, Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) technology for non-invasive autopsies and, enhanced forensic identification techniques for police).

Public Confidence and Public Expectations:

Community/public expectations often drive the Ministry’s priorities. While crime rates continue to decline, public confidence in the justice system is relatively low.

The media is a key player in influencing the public’s perception of crime, as well as its expectations regarding public safety services. The media’s characterization of public safety incidents can often result in misplaced public perceptions and expectations regarding the Ministry’s services (e.g., the “CSI effect”).

Changing Demographics:

Changing demographics (e.g., age, immigration patterns and urbanization) have implications for the Ministry, both internally and externally (e.g., the workforce, the community, victims and offenders). The Ministry must position itself to meet the dynamic and unique needs of Ontario’s changing population.

Impact of Federal Initiatives:

Changes to criminal law and other federal commitments can have impacts throughout the criminal justice system. Federal initiatives and legislative measures (e.g., Tackling Violent Crime Act) often have significant financial, operational and human resource implications for the provinces and territories.

Changing Nature of Crime:

Technology is playing an increasing role in the organization and execution of crimes (e.g., Internet, mobile technologies) and, as a result, the nature of crime is becoming more complex. Crime is also becoming more transnational or borderless, making partnerships with other jurisdictions necessary to effectively prevent crime and apprehend those responsible.

Changing Corrections Population:

Over the last decade, the in-custody population in Ontario’s correctional institutions has changed from a predominance of sentenced offenders to accused awaiting court proceedings (remand). In 2007/08, the remand population comprised approximately 65% of the average daily institutional population. In addition to a decrease in the number of sentenced offenders, the average length of a provincial sentence has also dropped by approximately 21%.

From 2002/03 to 2007/08, the number of women admitted to custody in Ontario increased by approximately 31%. Aboriginal Peoples continue to be disproportionately represented in Ontario institutions and in community corrections.

In addition, the needs of Ontario’s correctional population often differ by region.

Emergency Management and Preparedness:

Advancements in technology, urban growth and a changing cultural and linguistic environment create challenges with respect to effective emergency management and preparedness (e.g., evacuation planning, outreach programs).

Marginalized Groups:

Marginalized groups (e.g., children, seniors, newcomers and persons with mental health issues) are the largest client group that the Ministry serves. Government service providers need to better coordinate and integrate services to these client groups.

Aboriginal Issues:

Community safety in all its aspects remains an important issue for both Aboriginal Peoples and the Ministry. Frequency of contact between Aboriginal Peoples and the justice sector continues to increase (e.g., Aboriginal Peoples continue to experience rising rates of violent victimization and to be overrepresented in the correctional system).

Increasingly, the Ministry will experience pressure to act on issues related to public safety in First Nations communities and improve the relationship between police and Aboriginal Peoples.

The Report of the Ipperwash Inquiry (2007) contained 100 recommendations, 46 of which directly fall under the responsibility and lead of MCSCS. These recommendations relate to relations between police and Aboriginal Peoples, sustainability of First Nations policing and policing critical incidents.

Community safety in all its aspects remains an important issue for Aboriginal communities in Ontario, and there is an expectation that government will work collaboratively with Aboriginal communities to address needs.

Ageing Infrastructure:

New and renewed infrastructure (e.g., Centre of Forensic Science, Ontario Police College, Ontario Fire College, Ontario Correctional Services College, correctional facilities and police detachments) is important for the Ministry to maintain its domestic and international reputation of excellence in the delivery of community safety services.

The environmental scan and identification of key drivers impacting the Ministry were instrumental in framing the discussions that led to the development of the Ministry’s long-term goals and objectives.

The following charts and accompanying one page “place mat” provide a high-level overview of the Ministry’s strategic plan and outline the organization’s goals, objectives and examples of strategies that will be pursued over the next five years and what they mean for Ontarians.


Goal #1:

Deliver services and set standards, policies, and guidelines in policing, corrections and public safety to keep Ontario’s communities safe.

Goal #1



Reduce incidence, impact and fear of
crime by focusing on crime
prevention and enforcement

  • Cross-jurisdictional (OPP, municipal police services, courts, correctional services) enforcement related initiatives to target and address the problems posed by guns and gangs
  • Policy, operational and tactical solutions to address emerging organized crime issues
  • Policy and program initiatives to enhance child safety, including targeting predators who use the internet to lure children
  • Modernize legislation related to animal welfare
  • Professionalize the private security and investigative services industry by ensuring


Reduce death and injury rates related to the use of commercial and personal vehicles/vessels

  • Highway Safety – legislative and policy enforcement initiatives directed at high-risk behaviours (e.g., Street Racing, RIDE)

Effectively manage the adult institutional corrections population

  • Infrastructure renewal and infrastructure expansion, particularly in the GTA, to deal with increasing remand numbers
  • Diversion of people with Mental Health issues – connection local police services with mental health resources and diversion programs

Reduce re-offending through early intervention, intensive supervision, enforcement, diversion and rehabilitation

  • Rebalancing of Correctional Programming – complete a program inventory to determine whether programs meet the needs of the offender populations and make adjustments as appropriate.

Reduce preventable death and injury rates related to fire

  • Fire Safety Outreach Strategy, including a Fire Education and Awareness Strategy for Newcomers

Increase emergency preparedness

  • Critical Infrastructure Assurance Program – Collaboration with the private sector to assure the continuity of critical services (e.g., key facilities, systems and networks)

Support victims of crime

  • Partner in the Domestic Violence Action Plan to provide a collaborative approach to help prevent violence against women and improve community supports for abused women and their children
  • Continue to implement the recommendations of the Hate Crimes Community Working Group’s Report

Utilizing/leveraging emerging science and technology to support effective public safety services

  • Plan for a new forensic sciences facility to meet caseload, technology, accreditation, justice system and health and safety standards

Support opportunities to strengthen and advance training and service delivery in Ministry core businesses

  • Pursue training partnerships among government(s) and the private sector to improve service delivery

Increase public confidence in public safety services

  • Develop appropriate responses to the Goudge Inquiry recommendations
  • Deliver professional frontline services, one contact at a time

Goal #2:

Contribute to an effective, efficient and seamless justice system that serves all of Ontario’s diverse communities.

Goal #2



Modernize Correctional Services to be collaborative, responsive, and relevant to current and future correctional trends in Ontario and Canada

  • Infrastructure renewal and re-alignment strategy to address capacity pressures
  • A national study to assess correctional services/programs in Ontario/Canada in light of the changing dynamics of today’s correctional population (e.g., more remands, fewer sentenced, shorter sentences)

Greater integration and improved service delivery by working in partnership with other ministries, agencies, governments, and community organizations

  • Justice Modernization/Upfront Justice/Justice on Target – move or divert accused through the criminal justice system in a more timely manner
  • Cross-border policing – legislative and policy options to allow police officers to retain their police powers when traveling to another jurisdiction on police business
  • Promote and support excellence in policing (e.g., working with partners to develop guidelines, regulations, training)
  • Continue to partner with the federal government on projects such as the national DNA databank and the Canadian Integrated Ballistics Identification Network

Leverage science and technology to improve service delivery

  • Technology to support joint force operations, forensic science services and major case management
  • Develop e-service to improve liaison between police and other justice partners


Goal #3:

Deliver responsive programs and services that meet the unique needs of Ontario’s diverse communities.

Goal #3



Make measurable progress in delivering responsive programming (e.g., gender, culture, age, (dis)ability, geography, Aboriginal and racialized people, sexual orientation)

  • More consultations with diverse communities to better understand their community safety needs
  • Continue to implement the recommendations of the Hate Crimes Community Working Group’s Report
  • Continue to support our ageing population through programs such as Crime Stoppers, Senior Busters and Phone Busters


Increase community dialogue and engagement in developing responsive programming

  • Public education regarding fire safety for newcomer communities
  • Community crime prevention – continue to consult/work with community organizations to develop crime prevention strategies

Goal #4:

Work with Aboriginal communities to address their community safety service delivery needs and develop harmonious and mutually respectful relationships.

Goal #4



Improve safety in Aboriginal communities

  • Community engagement regarding police services, public safety, fire safety, emergency preparedness, and crime prevention in order to develop culturally appropriate programming
  • Continue to work with the Ministry of Aboriginal Affairs, the Ministry of the Attorney General and other key partners to respond to the recommendations of the Ipperwash Report

Engage with Aboriginal communities to increase their participation in service delivery

  • Partnerships with First Nations communities to assist in the delivery of community corrections and police services

Goal #5:

Lead and promote a healthy, diverse, and engaged workforce and organization that reflects the Ministry’s values and the communities we serve.

Goal #5



Systems, processes and practices that are free of bias and support the attraction, recruitment, promotion and retention of a workforce that has the range of skills and abilities to address the needs of its diverse client population

  • Corrections systemic human rights and culture change – incorporate fairness and diversity principles into all planning activities
  • Proactively recruit from diverse communities, including Aboriginal communities

A workforce that is diverse and culturally responsive to the Ministry’s clients and that represents the community demographics served

  • Implement outreach, recruitment, retention and promotion programs to create a more representative workforce

Increase staff engagement

  • Continue to involve staff in ministry-wide employee engagement initiatives


The objectives and strategies captured in the strategic plan represent some of the Ministry’s current work and future priorities. Over time, these priorities will be influenced and adjusted by changing government direction, external drivers and discussions with our partners. The strategic plan is flexible and will be responsive so that it continues to be relevant to the needs of the communities the Ministry serves.

Moving forward, the Ministry will measure its progress towards meeting its objectives through the development of performance measures.

Ongoing discussions with Ministry partners and changes to the Ministry’s operating environment will be reflected in the strategic plan through an annual refresh process. Adjustments to the Ministry’s objectives and strategies will ensure the organization is aligned for success.