Toronto

Toronto mayor calls for action at border following forum on gun violence

The mayors of cities throughout the Greater Toronto Area say fighting a rise in gun violence in the region will require more decisive action at the Canada-United States border.

Meeting included GTA regional chairs, federal and provincial governments

The mayor of Markham, Frank Scarpitti (far left), the mayor of Brampton, Patrick Brown (second left) and the mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, look on as Toronto Mayor John Tory (far right) speaks to reporters on Tuesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

The mayors of cities throughout the Greater Toronto Area say fighting a rise in gun violence in the region will require more decisive action at the Canada-United States border.

Toronto Mayor John Tory made the comments today following a meeting of municipal leaders and police chiefs from across the region, as well as representatives from the federal and provincial governments.

Tory says a presentation made at the meeting shows 80 per cent of guns seized in Toronto come from international sources, while the percentage in surrounding municipalities is in the high 70's.

He says meeting participants agreed that local police chiefs must meet with the Canada Border Services Agency to tackle the problem.

He says they also discussed the need for legal reform around bail and sentencing protocols, as well as pushing for expanded use of electronic monitoring bracelets.

Tory says co-operation among all levels of government will be necessary to address gun violence, which he says has spiked throughout the GTA.

In Toronto, for instance, police figures show shootings rose from 177 shootings in 2014 to 492 last year.

Ontario Solicitor General Sylvia Jones attended the meeting on behalf of the provincial government. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

"We need the support of ... these other governments to continue to try and attack this menace that poses such a threat to safety in our communities," Tory said following the meeting.

"Far too many neighbourhoods in all of the regions and cities represented today have been terrorized by gun violence, and I think people should not have to endure that."

Last August, Tory requested additional resources after a spate of shootings that police said were largely related to street gangs.

The resulting program, dubbed Project Community Space and funded by all three levels of government, was lauded by Toronto police Chief Mark Saunders, who said in his end-of-year address that the city was moving in the right direction in its approach to fighting gun and gang violence.

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