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Provinces approves new police service boards

By Randy Thoms Aug 1, 2023 | 8:29 PM

The Ministry of the Solicitor General is approving new police services boards for the Rainy River District.

One would represent communities from Fort Frances to Rainy River and will consist of seven members.

Four members will be council appointments. Two will be community appointments, with one member to be appointed by the province.

The other board will represent Atikokan, maintaining an existing five-member one that will include two council appointees, two community reps and one provincial appointee.

The boards are necessary to comply with a new Police Services Act known as Community Safety Policing Act, scheduled to come into effect in 2024.

While only one was required for the Rainy River District because it is policed by the Ontario Provincial Police, Fort Frances and Atikokan lobbied for two police services boards because of their differences and unique policing issues.

The Ministry agreed.

“I acknowledge and value the significant efforts undertaken to create a proposal for a detachment board that addresses the unique needs of each community that receives OPP policing services in your detachment,” states Sarah Caldwell, Assistant Deputy Minister, Strategic Policy Division for the Ministry of the Solicitor General, in a letter to the Fort Frances Police Services Board.

The proposed board compositions will be posted to the Ontario Regulatory Registry for comment.

Chair of the Fort Frances board John McTaggart does not see any immediate change until next year.

“The letter has confirmed that the submission that we made to the Solicitor General about 13 months ago, or 25 months ago, maybe, has been approved, and it will now start to move ahead through the process. So, nothing is going to happen with this until probably into the new year when the Community Safety and Policing Act is finally enacted,” says McTaggart.

The Ministry’s proposal for the board governing communities in the west end of the district differs from what was submitted.

It called for two council representatives from Fort Frances, one representing the townships of Alberton, LaVallee and Emo and another to represent the town of Rainy River and the townships of Morley, Chapple, Dawson, and Lake of the Woods.

“That differs a little bit from the details that we had in the submission where it was allocated by certain communities. So, I’ve got to go back and make sure that they have approved what we submitted and have just summarized it in this manner,” says McTaggart.

McTaggart says there will be other issues to sort out, including the appointments of a board secretary and how the costs of managing the new board will be dealt with.



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