Policies

According to United Nations guidelines, "crime prevention considerations should be integrated into all relevant social and economic policies and programs, including those addressing employment, education, health, housing and urban planning, poverty, social marginalization and exclusion."1

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In keeping with these recommendations, some European governments – such as the United Kingdom – have adopted legislation and strategies to ensure that all departments make crime prevention a goal. They offer inspiring models of crime prevention through social development (CPTSD) for Canada to consider.

Canada cannot claim to have gone as far. Its Social Union Agreement (SUFA), signed in February 1999 by all provinces and territories except Québec, could facilitate collaboration for CPTSD. The agreement commits governments to strengthen Canada’s social safety net, involve Canadians in the development of social programs, and strengthen partnerships among governments. But SUFA has not yet taken on CPTSD as a goal, and the absence of Quebec – a leader in many social policy areas, including CPTSD – creates a gap.

However, some initiatives are being taken at every level of government.

Federal government:
At the federal level, the most direct contributor to crime prevention through social development is the National Crime Prevention Strategy.

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Provincial and territorial governments:
The provinces and territories hold some of the important levers of crime prevention through social development. Only one Canadian province has adopted a clear policy on crime prevention.

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Municipal governments:
This is where the rubber really hits the road – when it comes to public safety, community members look to their municipal government for leadership.

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Notes:

1 Economic and social council, official documents 2002/13 – United Nations : Commission for Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, report on the 11th session, Avril 2002, see www.crime-prevention.ca/aefiles/Action.doc