Defund the Toronto Police: City Budget Edition

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Join Showing Up for Racial Justice Toronto (SURJ TO) and community advocates on January 7th from 6-8:30PM to learn more and plug into action building on the call from June 2020 Black Lives Matter Toronto to defund the Toronto Police Services by 50% in the 2021 City budget. Hear from Desmond Cole, Jane and Finch Action Against Poverty (JFAAP), and Idil Abdillahi about working towards an abolitionist future.

The Toronto Police Service (TPS) is the single largest expense item in Toronto’s budget. That means the largest portion of municipal tax dollars are going to fund policing rather than meeting the direct needs of our communities. This is on top of the tens of millions provided to the TPS by the provincial government. In 2020, the Toronto Police’s net operating budget was approx $1.08 billion – more than the City’s budget for Toronto Community Housing; shelters, support and housing services; transportation; employment and social services; and the Toronto Public Library COMBINED.

Read BLM TO’s full list of demands here (https://www.facebook.com/blacklivesmatterTO/posts/1382886101906876).

SURJ Toronto is one part of a broad, multi-racial movement that is demanding a dramatic shift in the City of Toronto’s priorities to materially transform the conditions and outcomes for Black, Indigenous, People of Colour and other communities most impacted by police violence. The immediate defunding of 50% of the TPS budget (approx. $538 million dollars) will be an important first step in reducing the power and scope of unnecessary and harmful policing in Toronto. In the midst of a global pandemic, these funds must be meaningfully invested into vital initiatives for Toronto residents, such as: secure deeply affordable and long-term housing for street-involved and unhoused communities; overdose response & harm reduction services; food security programs; youth programs; non-police, community-based crisis response models; and other public social services that allow community members to thrive.

Toronto can lead the way in re-defining public safety through community, not policing!

While this workshop will focus on the context in Toronto, anyone is open and welcome to attend to learn from these brilliant speakers on the importance of reducing the power, scope, and violence of police in order to build a more just future.