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Toronto Police Service and Gerstein Crisis Centre Launch
One-Year 9-1-1 Call Diversion Pilot Project

Broadcast time: 10:25
Date: Tuesday, November 2, 2021
Unit: Corporate Communications
Phone: 416-808-7100

In response to a call from the mental health community to reform policing response in Toronto, Gerstein Crisis Centre (GCC) and Toronto Police Service (TPS) have officially launched the 9-1-1 Call Diversion Pilot Project.

For the next year, TPS and GCC responders will work collaboratively, but distinctly, to assist in the diversion of non-emergency mental health related calls away from a police response. TPS call-takers will evaluate calls for diversion based on specific criteria and transfer calls to the GCC crisis worker, who will be co-located in the TPS Communications Call Centre.

Watch this short video to see the pilot in action.

A GCC crisis worker is available 20-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week to respond to people in crisis who call police with no imminent risk criteria. The discussions between a caller and a crisis worker in this project remain protected under the Personal Health Information Protection Act.

“As part of our work to implement the Toronto Police Services Board 81 Recommendations on Police Reform, it has been a priority for the TPS to find new and innovative ways to better serve Persons in Crisis,” said Chief of Police James Ramer. “Under the leadership of Deputy Chief of Police Peter Yuen, our members have collaborated with the Gerstein Centre to support our mutual goal of an appropriate, effective and compassionate response for those experiencing a mental health crisis. It’s another way we are working in co-operation with our partners to better serve the community.”

“For more than 30 years, Gerstein Crisis Centre has been providing Toronto communities with safe, compassionate, and respectful crisis services to individuals where and when they need it, ranging from a 24/7 telephone line to an in-person mobile team and short term crisis beds,” says GCC Executive Director Susan Davis. “The experienced and knowledgeable crisis workers are trained in: mental health, crisis intervention, de- escalation, suicide intervention, harm reduction, and work from a strength based, trauma-informed, anti-oppressive, anti-racist perspective.”

TPS receives approximately 33,000 mental health related calls each year and the program aims to connect people in crisis, where there is no imminent risk, with the appropriate resources to reduce the need for police to respond to these non-emergency calls. The pilot is serving the communities in 51, 52 and 14 Divisions.

Find out more about GCC and the services it provides here Gerstein Crisis Centre.

For Toronto Police Service media inquires please contact Corporate Communications.

For Gerstein Crisis Centre media inquires please contact Executive Director Susan Davis at 416-929-0149, ext. 222.

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Ashling Murphy, Corporate Communications