The cost of criminality and social issues on business was released in April of 2022. the report highlights the significant costs to business due to issues, as well as identifying opportunities for response agencies to step into the space for our members.
Read the Report Impacts2022_Survey_report
Our General Positions
In relation to building a safer and more vibrant business community, the NSBIA compiled the following public positions regarding social supports and services, social housing, and community response programs. By expressing these positions, we are advocating for a higher level of response, accountability for clients and community equally, and robust needs-driven complex care for our city. The outcome of a refined and more robust system is that the community (business and residential alike) will realize greater positive outcomes, reduced recidivism, and a more positive environment.
Our goal is to build a stronger social system which supports healing, and results in positive community health outcomes for individuals, while creating a safe, secure, and vibrant business and residential community.
We fully support strong and effective social programming. As a business association, before we either endorse or support any program within our community, we will look at the following credibility criteria:
- The provider must be in full compliance with all federal, provincial, and municipal guidelines, legislations, and bylaws.
- The operator must be focused on the healing journey, in that the service provided is intended to create healthier outcomes for the clients they serve, with a clear link to other supportive programming and services in the city.
- The operator must work well in and with the community, reducing duplication by collaborating well with other agencies to address capacity or service gaps within their specific programming; and accept the expertise and opportunities that come with this collaboration to create a better organization and outcomes.
- The organization must provide service which is respectful of the needs of both the client they serve, as well as the community they provide that service within. Resolving social disruptions, issues and community challenges that arise within a reasonable radius of service must be a consideration of service and operation.
- Any provider of service or housing within our area must be open to discussion regarding management issues, social interface issues and have plans in place with responding agencies (Fire, Police, CSOs, etc.) on how issues will be resolved, how services can interface with the operation, and how operations can be respectful of community and individual outcomes. They must embrace resolving these issues in favour of reducing stigmatization and increasing community support of effective programing.
- They must employ financial efficacy, meeting the needs of funding agencies and organizations regarding financial operations and reporting that meet the test of standard accounting principles and practices.
- The operator must have a record of service provision within the community which adheres to the test of responsible and effective operation as outlined in this section. Organizations who have either failed to implement or address issues as noted above, will not be supported by the NSBIA.
Currently, outreach is an agency driven function, which is often funded in an ad-hoc manner and can be the result of cobbling together multiple projects to provide the service required to support our communities. Agencies provide service to their specific clientele, and work to try and bridge organizational differences and processes.
We believe outreach should evolve into a municipally focused model, perhaps through a Health Authority, or Ministry of Health contract. Outreach workers should be seen as the keystone in a complex care entry system. They should receive career salaries and supports and be properly staffed to serve our community (not short staffed and cobbled together). The key to effective outreach outcomes is to ensure all agencies are working across our community for the betterment of all agencies and individuals.
Sobering and Detox care
Sobering and Detox care beds should be expanded across the province. These essential services provide the ladder between active addictions and taking steps for self-care and healing. Currently, access to sobering and detox is difficult to acquire, lacks capacity and is not robust enough to fill the need either locally or provincially. Sobering and Detox servicing should also be a required first step toward entering healing care systems.
Healing Care systems
We have explicitly stated; it is time to start building healthy communities. We feel strongly that Opioid response housing has filled its need. Now, and for our future community prosperity, we need a spectrum of complex care options that includes:
First stage rehabilitation services such as life skills, self-care, counselling, mental and medical care, and a safe environment to rehabilitate. We do not think these services should be offered exclusively in the same location as individuals who are advanced in their recovery, they often once started on their journey require distance from triggering behaviours and influences to achieve success.
Second stage rehabilitation services such as budgeting, life skills, employment skills, community integration, relationship management etc. should be available to allow for healing individuals to prepare to re-enter society and find productive safe and healthy opportunities.
We feel that the “Responsive Housing” model currently in place has fulfilled its original purpose. It provided immediate shelter and opportunities to displaced and struggling people to access housing and care, through low barrier projects. It is now, however, time to change this system. We strongly endorse, and advocate for Complex Care and Healthy Community Outcomes to become the primary focus of our housing and service strategies. This means an evolution in the system of housing, as well as major changes to the way projects are envisioned, funded, and operated.
We fully support positive and predictive housing as a pathway to solving the health crises we currently face in Kamloops. We believe that housing must have a series of steps or tiers to be successful: Low barrier/entry level, step two/trauma treatment focused, step three/Life skills based, step four, semi-independent/supported/affordable, then on to market housing. We do not have a recommended timeline for movement within this structure, as every individual is different in their healing journey. However, we do advocate that housing throughout our city needs to be smaller and cover a wider variety of healthy outcome needs. Warehouse style operations are not appropriate to the healing we require in community.
Persistent Mental Health Issues & Care
We feel our country erred when it decided in the 1980s that individuals could heal in the community, instead of positive institutional settings. We have individuals entrenched on our streets now who do not fit in our health and support systems; they are too mentally ill for housing, while being alert enough to not be remanded for care; are not detain-able (involuntary care) due to mental illness, are often non-medicated (which would allow them an increased quality of life) and in many cases are extremely disruptive to our communities. We believe those who are unable to care for themselves should be directed to closed care accommodations that support a higher quality of life while supporting safer community outcomes.
While we understand that individual rights are the cornerstone of our constitutional law system, we believe accountability for action is becoming an ever-increasing rarity in Canada. We believe that the perception of impunity exists, which leads to significant erosion of public trust in law enforcement, an increase in criminality due to lack of consequence, and a hidden tax on individuals and businesses who must invest in significant prevention measures while paying for significant losses in repairs, insurance premiums and consumer confidence, due to flagrant criminality.
We believe the Judicial system should be held to account to the community it serves. We believe that this can be accomplished in the follow ways:
- Fully Prosecute Willful Criminal Activity. This type of activity should be subject to full prosecution to the extent of the law. Individuals who flaunt the lawful conduct of our communities should be detained, held, and charged under the Criminal Code of Canada, utilizing provisions within the BC Charge provisions. Currently, many of these individuals are released on their own recognizance and often fail to appear or are caught many times over with little to no consequence for past or current actions, except for egregious crimes. This issue is also linked to the lack of complex care systems and treatment options. We believe that the provision in BC Charge Standards that identify community interest as one of the considerations, is being under-considered as a factor.
- Alternate Court Systems. We fully support alternate justice systems; however, these systems are misleading in that there is so little capacity within the complex care system, often those who could go through this system, would likely be released on their own recognizance and not subject to effective follow through. We support the concept of alternate justice; but support its implementation only once capacity exists in the complex care spectrum.
- Judicial Accountability. We believe that the judiciary are largely disconnected both from the impact of their decisions not to prosecute and from the communities they serve. We believe that crown council and judges should be accountable for their actions, if their jurisdiction experiences increased repeat criminality, increased catch and release statistics, or flagrant criminality. This accountability could be achieved through electoral recall or through a mechanism managed through a Judicial Auditor housed with The Attorney General of the Province of BC.