FSWC Welcomes Toronto Mayor and City Council's Approval of Additional Funding for Police

February 15, 2024

News Release

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Toronto (February 15, 2024) – Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center (FSWC) welcomes Mayor Olivia Chow and Toronto city councillors' approval of the additional $20 million in funding requested by the Toronto Police Service (TPS) as City Council finalized the 2024 municipal budget yesterday.

This comes after the City of Toronto budget committee proposal released earlier this month cut nearly $13 million from the recommended budget increase recommended by the TPS Board.

TPS Chief Myron Demkiw had previously said if the budget shortfall were to pass, it would undermine the police’s ability to address emergency response times and the hiring and training of more police officers needed to better police a growing city.

FSWC and other Jewish community organizations urged Mayor Chow and city councillors to grant the TPS its requested budget increase.

FSWC President and CEO Michael Levitt issued the following statement:

“At a time when we are seeing a surge in hate and violent crimes in Toronto, including antisemitic incidents, these funds will help ensure Toronto police have the necessary resources to protect Torontonians. As our city grapples with multiple crises, it's critical that Council has supported this police budget and is working with police to maintain the safety and security of local residents, businesses and other institutions.”

In 2023, hate crimes spiked 42 per cent compared to 2022. Despite accounting for only 3.6 per cent of Toronto’s population, the Jewish community was the target of 37 per cent of all hate crimes reported last year.

Since October 7, the Toronto Police Service, under the leadership of Chief Demkiw, has devoted additional resources to addressing rising hate crimes, including bolstering its Hate Crime Unit with additional investigators and deploying mobile response units to protect both Jewish and Muslim communities.