Community partners confirm joint action on priorities to enhance community safety and well-being

Cobourg, ON – July 19, 2021 – Following Northumberland County Council’s endorsement on June 16, 2021, a Northumberland Community Safety and Well-Being Plan has been submitted to the Province. Co-designed by an Advisory Committee of local agencies, this plan is the product of two years of community consultation and multi-sector collaboration. It will guide the efforts and investments of partner agencies to address the root causes of crime and complex social issues, improving quality of life in Northumberland.

The plan outlines four overarching priorities for enhanced inter-agency coordination, including homelessness/affordable housing; substance use/addictions; poverty, employment, and income; and mental health. By jointly tackling these priorities, community partners seek to achieve:

  • a community that is both safer and more consciously supportive of social development for vulnerable residents;
  • agencies that are more coordinated, informed, and efficient;
  • member municipalities that have a clear path forward for development that meets the needs of their communities; and
  • a lower reliance on incident response initiatives and crisis interventions.

Municipalities were required, under the Province's Safer Ontario Act, 2018, to develop a Community Safety and Well-Being Plan and submit this to the Province by July 2021. In April 2019, County Council passed a resolution that Northumberland County would lead this effort on behalf of local municipalities. Following the County’s consultation with residents, stakeholders, and agency partners, an advisory committee was established to review this public and agency input, along with key local, provincial and national data-based indicators, in order to identify priorities for the plan, and define related action items.

The Community Safety and Well-being Plan Advisory Committee had representation from service sectors identified by the Province including municipalities, police and fire services, health/mental health, education, social and community services, and custodial services for children and youth. Participating organizations included:

  • Highland Shores Children’s Aid
  • Rebound Child & Youth Services
  • Northumberland Family Health Team
  • Northumberland Paramedics
  • Salvation Army
  • Northumberland United Way
  • Northumberland County Community & Social Services & Northumberland County Council
  • Community Health Centres of Northumberland
  • Port Hope Fire and Emergency services
  • Haliburton Kawartha Pine Ridge District Health Unit
  • Cobourg Police Services

With the plan now submitted to the Province, the advisory committee structure will transition to a new governance model focused on implementation. The Northumberland Safety & Well-being Collaborative Table will report annually to County Council on the progress of actions identified in the plan and the successes achieved, as well as challenges and new opportunities that have been identified.

To review the final report, along with supporting details, please visit Northumberland.ca/SafetyAndWellbeing.

QUOTES:

“The creation of a Community Safety and Well-Being Plan for Northumberland has been an opportunity to build on a strong history of partnership and shared services between local human service agencies to meet the needs of our community. The development and implementation of a made-in-Northumberland strategy for community safety and well-being will promote coordinated action across sectors and agencies to assess and address areas of risk in our community that contribute to crime and complex social issues. Using evidence-based strategies and programs, we will collaboratively advance local priorities to achieve measurable outcomes and improve the overall well-being of our community.” Lisa Horne, Advisory Committee Chair and Northumberland County Director of Community and Social Services.

“Like every other community across Canada, we are dealing with poverty, mental health, homelessness and addiction. Those social issues are directly linked to an increase in calls for service for police and an increase in crime rates. This collaborative approach, utilizing the community and social wellness experts, will make our communities safer and increase the feeling of well-being.” Paul VandeGraaf, Chief, Cobourg Police Services

“As County Council’s representative on the Advisory Committee, I would like to express my thanks to everyone who contributed their time and expertise, and shared their experience, as part of the collaborative process to develop a robust Community Safety and Well-Being Plan for Northumberland. Such widespread engagement reflects the shared commitment often demonstrated by our residents, businesses, human service agencies and local government to work together to improve quality of life for all in Northumberland.” Bill Cane, Mayor of Hamilton Township and Northumberland County Councillor

“Collaboration between public services and community agencies ensures a wholistic vision for delivery of essential health and public safety services to our community. As a key partner in the design of this plan, the Northumberland Paramedics team is looking forward to contributing to the positive outcomes generated by this coordinated approach to safety and well-being in Northumberland.” Susan Brown, Chief, Northumberland Paramedics

“We know that best practice in community building is to work collaboratively with partners across municipalities and regions. This Community Safety & Wellbeing Plan embodies what it means to create collective strategies for pervasive social issues in our community. We also know that safety and wellbeing contributes to overall life satisfaction and a better community for everyone who lives here. We are grateful to have been part of this process and we thank every partner who has developed, and will ensure the delivery, of this timely and relevant plan for Northumberland County.” Bobbie Dawson, Executive Director, Northumberland United Way

“The work of this committee exemplifies the strong ties across all community partners in providing a safe place to live and grow.” Dan Smith, Chief, Port Hope Fire and Emergency services

“Northumberland County agencies work well together in addressing the needs of the community and in anticipating future needs - there is strong commitment to ensuring we have a safe community where all residents can have a strong sense of community well-being and expectation of support for wellness.” Carol Beauchamp, Executive Director, Rebound Child & Youth Services