OPP costs too high, says Kenora city councillor

Municipalities across northwestern Ontario have complained for years about the high cost of policing.

Central Ontario communities looking to establish municipal police forces

(Yvon Theriault/Radio-Canada)

Municipalities across northwestern Ontario have complained for years about the high cost of policing.

Kenora was the last community in the region to move from a municipal police force to the OPP, back in 2009. As part of the agreement, the city of Kenora leases the former Kenora Police Service detachment to the province.

But it comes at a cost.

Kenora city Coun. Ron Lunny said "policing is very expensive here." He notes the city pays over $900 per household to the OPP for policing. (City of Kenora)
Kenora city Coun. Ron Lunny said the city continues to lose money on its contract with the OPP. 

"It's costing us somewhere around $85,000 a year. I believe we're even cleaning the bathrooms for them," he said.

Lunny said something needs to be done by the province to reign in the cost of policing.

"Over $920 per year per household, whereas down east and other places it's somewhere around a hundred and anywhere in between that and 900. Policing is very expensive here."

Central Ontario solution

One community on another side of the province has a possible solution.

Carling Township, along with several rural townships near Parry Sound, is looking into establishing its own police force.

Gord Harrison, the mayor of Carling Township, said estimates prepared by a consultant show a local force would be half the price the OPP is currently charging the municipality.

"We're prepared to move in that direction. We're looking at it because of cost, and that's the only reason we're looking at it," said Harrison.

"We've always been served by the OPP. And the only reason we're looking at it is that for the early cost estimates that we've had, we'd be looking at cutting the number in half."

Kenora not interested

Back in Kenora, Lunny said re-establishing the Kenora Police Service would not be easy.

"We just couldn't possibly do that here. We could not afford that here to go back," he said. "It would cost us a fortune to get all of the equipment back and everything."

Lunny said he hopes the province will move forward with its new costing formula for policing, to bring down the cost of providing emergency services to the taxpayer.