The Ontario Federation of Labour supports calls by the Defund the Police Hamilton Coalition to reallocate overfunded police budgets towards public services in their community.
As highlighted by the Coalition, the Hamilton Police Service receives an annual budget of $171 million and is operating with current annual surplus of $567,875. Yet, the city only spends $25 million on housing and $151 million on its social services.
“It is outrageous that in these times of increased public scrutiny of police services, that Hamilton’s City Council would even entertain a request from the police service to increase their budget, while so many in the community face the prospect of a long, cold winter without adequate shelter,” said Ahmad Gaied, Secretary-Treasurer of the Ontario Federation of Labour.
The Federation supports the Defund the Police Hamilton Coalition’s demands, including an immediate 50 per cent reduction of the city’s police services budget. Provincially, the OFL calls on the Government of Ontario to reimagine alternatives to police services, decriminalization, disarmament, and demilitarization; and to explore community-driven, community-led solutions to community safety and well-being.
“Given the trajectory of this year, we must prioritize social services and basic human rights, such as decent health care and adequate housing. The $500,000 police surplus should immediately be invested to support Hamiltonians in need of safe housing,” said Gaied.
The following are resources to update and help members understand labour’s call to defund the police:
- Read the OFL statement on defunding the police and redirecting funds to community services.
- Find anti-racism resources.
- Read the FAQ.
- Find ways to get involved.
- Download a one-page information sheet.