There are 2 documents that can give us the answer. The first was published by the Government of Ontario, and it can be found here: (POA Consultation Paper)
The Second is a Study published by professors from Guelph and York University and it can be found here: (Can I See Your ID? The Policing of Youth Homelessness in Toronto).
The POA Consultation Paper tells us that there are approximately 1,650,000 Provincial Offence Act Charges (POA Charges) laid per year.
Thanks to the 2011 study we know that in 2011 there were 15,324 Safe Streets Act (SSA) charges laid. The study indicated that the number of SSA charges was increasing every year – but for the sake of argument lets estimate that the charges stayed steady at 2011 levels.
MATH TIME: (15324/1650000)*100 = 0.93% or about 1%
About 1% of all Provincial Offence Charges are Safe Streets Act Charges
POA Consultation Paper tells us that about one quarter of all POA Charges are laid in Toronto and that Toronto POA Court Costs about $50 million dollars per year to run. This accounts for the buildings, the prosecutors and the administration staff. If we assume that Toronto is being about as fiscally responsible as the other cities in the Province we can estimate that POA Court costs the Province of Ontario $200 million per year.
MATH TIME: 1% of $200,000,000 = $2,000,000.
The Ontario Safe Streets Act Costs Ontario $2 Million per year
2 million dollars per year – and what are we getting for our money? With other POA Charges, like speeding, the cost is recouped when people pay their tickets. But SSA Tickets are Only given out to people who are on the street begging for money. The study shows that less than 1% of SSA tickets are ever paid, so almost none of that money is being recouped.
Time to put an end to this wasteful law!
Reprinted with permission from Fair Change Community Services.