Feb. 23, 2017
The Toronto Police Board met on Thursday to approve the Transformation Task Force report, which aims to modernize the police force. However, much of the discussion at the board meeting revolved around the transparency of the actual costs.
Since the the transformation process started, the project has cost $1 million. The force anticipates it might require $3.5 million in 2018 and 2019.
Former mayor John Sewell, who spoke to the board as part of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, was adamant there is not enough public accountability in the report. He recommended the force compare last year’s budget with this year’s “so everybody will be able to see the difference between last year and where this is going.”
Mayor John Tory responded to those remarks by holding up an example of a page that he said is available to the public that lists examples of salaries and comparisons between last year and this year. “I’m not saying it’s enough but I’m saying it’s an awful lot more than has been there before and in the last recent number of years.”
Chief Mark Saunders underlined the point to reporters. “We are very transparent with the budget. When we’re giving hundreds of pages of information – it’s there. If you want to take the time to sit down and look at it and scrutinize it, we’re giving it to you, so it’s not that we’re holding information back; that is incorrect.”
In response to a reporter’s questions about how long it will be until the public sees massive changes in policing, Saunders said: “Well I was told if you have to eat an elephant you do it one bite at a time. It’s going to take a long time.”