On behalf of the President and the Board of Directors of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP), the Strategic Planning Committee respectfully submit the OACP Strategic Plan. The plan outlines a five year Vision of Success and action plans, which we believe describe and incorporate the values, priorities, and direction for our Association that will increase membership and strengthen our partnership with the communities we serve.
It is a vision, we believe, the members of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police will be proud to support.
Members in attendance at the 1993 Conference of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police identified the need for the development of a five year strategic plan for the Association. A strategic planning committee, chaired by Chief Julian FANTINO, was formed. Committee members were selected from the OACP membership, representing various components of the Association. The mandate of the Committee was to develop and present a strategic plan for the Association at the 1994 OACP Conference. This endeavour, the first initiative of its kind for the Association, was prompted by a critical need to respond in a more proactive and professional manner to the issues impacting on the quality of policing in Ontario.
During the 1930s, Ontario police chiefs realized that existing standards in policing were inadequate to meet the demands of a modern society. The challenge of new technology to law enforcement brought policing standards of the day into sharper focus. Police chiefs in Ontario had an active role in the Chief Constables' Association of Canada, since its inception in 1905. However, that national association was not meeting the specific needs of provincial police chiefs.
The Police Association of Ontario, formed in 1933, complemented the Chief Constables' Association of Canada in presenting police demands to the Ontario government. In 1944, the Police Association of Ontario's perspective started to change.
There was more emphasis placed on police rights and working conditions, as opposed to emphasizing the structure of the police service. By 1951, Ontario police chiefs, identifying a need to re-establish themselves as a recognized police interest group on a provincial level, founded the Chief Constables' Association of Ontario.
The Association gradually evolved, opening membership to senior officers and police managers. The Association's influence was a significant factor in the establishment of the Ontario Police College in 1963, an initiative that enhanced the organization's prestige and growth. A formal name change to the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) was adopted in 1965.
The OACP currently has more than 1,500 members and represents the RCMP, the OPP, First Nations, and Municipal Police Services. Members are divided into six categories: Active, Honorary, Life, Associate, Associate Retired and Affiliate. The Association's members maintain a global perspective by going beyond provincial issues to address national and international concerns.
The OACP's philosophy has changed little since the organization's inception: to promote competent administration of policing services; to co-ordinate police training and education; to provide a timely and efficient flow of information to its members; and to address membership concerns and priorities through a unified voice to government.
The Association has continually strived to increase the efficiency of law enforcement agencies for the protection and service of the people of Ontario.
Ontario continues to experience a difficult period of change and restructuring. The Strategic Planning Committee identified three major issues in this climate of change, which have impacted directly on policing in the Province of Ontario: the economy, race relations and community safety. An understanding of these major issues was seen by the committee as the key to the development of the future goals and priorities of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.
The residents of Ontario have become increasingly dissatisfied with the slow economic recovery and government policies, which are perceived as holding back the recovery. Forecasts for renewed growth have not been positive, and total employment is not expected to return to its pre-recession peak until 1995. In Ontario, 89 per cent of the job losses have occurred in the manufacturing and construction industries, which continue to have a very low projected growth. The restructuring away from manufacturing and construction sectors toward service industries is becoming a reality. Further, continued government and business restructuring has led to increased unemployment amongst the middle management ranks.
Ontario residents have developed a sense that the system no longer works to their benefit. There is a general cynicism towards government programs and initiatives.
The growing number of unemployed and those receiving social assistance have competing interests with those who believe they are being overtaxed. Many people who feel they are subjected to over taxation are helping to fuel a huge underground economy.
Difficult economic times push certain people away from the political centre, as evidenced by the political situations in many European countries. Although there has been some success in expenditure reductions as a result of the social contract, it is now a reality that a weaker than anticipated economy, pressure on revenue sources, and increased spending has pushed the deficit well over $10 billion rather than the original $9 billion forecast.
The requested greater share of transfer payments to this province has been ignored by the federal government. The Province of Ontario has enjoyed a number of years of economic prosperity and is now experiencing difficulties in dealing with high levels of unemployment. It is unlikely, however, that these difficulties will be alleviated in the short term, especially with other economic problems. Addressing the debt problem may have to be approached in a more aggressive fashion, as has been done in other provinces.
In terms of race relations, the sheer volume of immigrants and refugees has already transformed the face of the large urban centres in the Province of Ontario.
High levels of immigration have encouraged the provincial government to make employment equity and racism issues a priority. This is especially evident in the steps taken to make the criminal justice system responsive to the changing society it is meant to serve. Race relations issues have become more prominent as the economic recession takes its toll on the provision of criminal justice services.
The integration of new Canadians into the community will remain a priority. The needs and perceptions of the existing government institutions will continue to compel changes in government priorities and related service provisions.
Community safety issues are attracting increased public attention. There is a strong interest in the reintegration of high risk offenders into the community and release of information about them. The public is expressing interest in the powers of police to arrest offenders violating terms of parole and other early release provisions. Along with this interest is strong support for a stricter stand on criminal justice issues, such as changes to the Young Offenders Act, and greater control on illegal immigration.
The proliferation of firearms in our society and increasing crime rates have produced a fear that we are following the American way into the future.
The issue of police officers now being allowed to carry semi-automatic weapons will be met with a new demand by police associations for ammunition more suitable for policing.
In addition, victims' groups have a heightened public profile and continue to improve the delivery and effect of their message. Their voices are increasingly heard at all levels of government. There is a growing concern with the treatment of victims by a criminal justice system that has traditionally relegated victims to the role of witness. Victim's rights groups will continue to challenge the system to deal more effectively with serious, violent offenders.
Many of these groups recognize the importance of investing resources in community programs which reduce the number of individuals who are candidates for involvement with the criminal justice system.
Note: Information for the Environmental Scan was drawn from studies and surveys done in 1993 and 1994.
Using the Environmental Scan as a reference point, the Strategic Planning Committee met on a regular basis over a twelve month period. The firm, 1 Page Planning ™ Systems, was retained to assist the Committee in the development of the Strategic Plan. The company president, Bart VAN CROMVOIRT, acted as a facilitator and consultant, guiding and working with the Strategic Planning Committee through the year. A process to carry out the Strategic Plan was developed early in the Committee's work. The group produced a Vision of Success which describes the values, the direction, and the type of association that its members would be proud to support.
Subsequent meetings dealt with the identification of impediments or barriers to the achievement of the Vision of Success. Four Key Barriers were identified, that required the development of action plans:
- The need for a strong proactive role that is effectively communicated both internally and externally.
- The need for financial resources to implement the objectives of the Strategic Plan.
- The need to address professional development.
- The need to raise the OACP's profile, politically and publicly.
The committee developed action plans to ensure that the Key Barriers would receive appropriate attention. The goal was to translate the Vision of Success into reality.
The process undertaken to develop the Strategic Plan was extensive. It included numerous meetings and interactions with Key Influencers, groups that would be affected by, or could affect the success of the Strategic Plan. The primary Key Influencer, the OACP membership, was surveyed with the assistance of the Progressive Research company. The survey was carefully designed in a manner that was intended to secure feedback from members on important issues and priorities facing the Association.
Bart VAN CROMVOIRT and Bill MALPASS, Executive Director of the OACP, then finalized research objectives and completed the final draft of the questionnaire. There were 375 surveys sent to Association members.
The completed questionnaires were returned to the office of Progressive Research, for statistical analysis by computer. A total of 239 replies were received; 188 from Active members; 34 from Associate members; 17 from Life members. This represents a 64 per cent response to the survey. This response demonstrated a high level of interest in the Association and provided a strong statistical basis for sound analysis.
The survey results had a major influence on the deliberations of the Strategic Planning Committee and were embodied in the final recommendations.
Key Influencers such as the Ontario Association of Police Service Boards, the Solicitor General for the Province of Ontario, the Policing Services Division of the Ministry of the Solicitor General and Correctional Services, a provincially representative group of the media, the Police Association of Ontario and others were contacted.
The opinions of these Key Influencers were sought regarding the Strategic Planning Committee's Vision of Success, the Key Barriers and the nature of action required to ensure the overall success of the Association.
The Vision of Success and the accompanying action plan describe and incorporate the values, priorities and direction for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police that will strengthen membership and broaden support from the communities we serve in the years to come.