Vancouver News: Mayor’s public safety plan does not receive provincial funding

B.C.’s recently announced public safety plan does not allocate funds for Vancouver’s mayor’s plan to hire more mental health nurses and police officers in the city, the premier’s office has confirmed. minister.

After Premier David Eby announced sweeping new measures to tackle public safety issues, Ken Sim said the province would cut funding for one of his key campaign promises – which was to hire 100 new agents and 100 new nurses.

$3 million in provincial funding, he said Sunday, would make up the difference between the $4.5 million the city is proposing to give the Vancouver police department to hire new officers and the $1.5 million dollars for Vancouver Coastal Health to hire mental health nurses.

But on Monday his chief of staff, Kareem Allam, reiterated that claim in a social media post, saying “we misunderstood”. A spokesperson for the mayor reiterated this in a statement emailed to CTV News.

“To correct the record. The province did not offer the $3 million to Vancouver. We misunderstood,” it read in part. “We are excited about the alignment of policies between Vancouver and the province to increase frontline mental health supports and restorative justice as part of a broader public safety strategy.

The “Safer Communities Action Plan” includes $3 million to expand “mobile integrated community crisis response” programs in which a mental health nurse is paired with a police officer. There are currently 10 such programs in British Columbia that are partnerships between police and health authorities – only one of which is in Vancouver. How the funding will be allocated has yet to be determined, with the provincial announcement saying “an application process will be established for communities.”

In a statement, a spokesperson for the premier said no funding had been earmarked for the City of Vancouver.

“We haven’t tied specific dollars to Vancouver, but there will be significant benefits for the city from our provincial investments in the plan, which will focus first on the areas most in need,” said an e e-mail to CTV News.

The province’s announcement earmarked significantly more money for civilian-led “peer-assisted care teams,” which don’t include police at all. These teams pair a mental health professional, such as a social worker or psychiatric nurse, with a peer worker. Ten million has been pledged to create 12 more such teams in BC communities, some of which will be Indigenous-led.

“Care teams of mental health professionals and peer helpers respond to calls related to feelings of hopelessness or hopelessness, social isolation, loneliness, fear, anxiety, thoughts of self-harm and suicide, substance abuse or other mental health issues,” the province’s announcement explains, adding that they may be called in place of the police or in addition to the police – according to the situation.

The Canadian Mental Health Association is one of the proponents of this model.

“We know that when someone is going through a mental health or addiction crisis, what they need and want is support from someone who knows what they are going through,” wrote ACSM BC Division CEO Jonathan Morris in a statement. accompany the provincial announcement.

“Today marks a bold commitment by this government to support mental health for all. A community-led care response, informed by people with lived and lived experience, managed by local organizations is part of the transformation we need.

Meanwhile, Vancouver council is set to vote Tuesday on the motion that would see $6 million set aside for the city to start delivering on Sim’s election promise. During the campaign, Sim promised to requisition the hiring of 100 officers and 100 nurses on “day one”, estimating that it would cost the city $20 million a year.