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Ottawa police get $50 million to boost security around Parliamentary Precinct

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The Ottawa Police Service will receive $50 million in new federal funding over the next five years to "enhance security" around the Parliamentary Precinct.

The 2024 budget includes $10 million a year in funding, starting this year, to bolster the Ottawa police presence in the area including Parliament Hill, on Wellington Street and Sparks Street, and around the Justice and Confederation buildings.

Budget 2024: The Ottawa Police Service will receive $50 million in new federal funding over the next five years to 'enhance security' around the Parliamentary Precinct.

The Ottawa Police Service had been calling for a "more reflective multi-year funding model" from the federal government to police events and demonstrations in the capital, saying the deal must "better reflect the demands of the OPS due to Ottawa being the nation's capital."

Federal officials say the Ottawa Police Service will be able to determine how to use the federal funding to bolster its presence in the Parliamentary Precinct.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Ottawa Police Service says it welcomes the $50 million in federal funding.

"We had been in discussion with the Federal government to secure funding associated with the unique costs of policing in the Nation’s capital such as demonstrations," police said.

"In the coming weeks, we will be finalizing the plans for this funding and will discuss it with the Ottawa Police Service Board. The funding will be used to ensure costs associated with federal related events, such as demonstrations, are not borne by municipal taxpayers. It will also help us ensure a policing model that ensures resources dedicated to suburban and rural areas can remain in the areas they are hired for rather than be pulled away to federal-related policing efforts."

Ottawa police and the city of Ottawa have jurisdiction and responsibility for Wellington Street, while the Parliamentary Protective Service is responsible for the security of Parliament Hill and the Parliamentary Precinct, including the buildings.

According to the 2024 Ottawa Police Services' budget, police receive $3 million a year in federal funding to cover policing costs. There is also a 'Nation's Capital Extraordinary Policing Costs Program' that enables the city of Ottawa to seek financial assistance from the federal government "for eligible extraordinary, reasonable and justifiable policing costs incurred in relation to policing duties specific to the Nation's Capital," according to the Public Safety Canada website.

Federal officials say the $50 million in new funding to enhance security around the Parliamentary Precinct is in addition to funding deals already in place between the government and the municipal police service.

New Chief Eric Stubbs and his staff have been working on creating a "permanent Special Events Team" to plan and manage events and demonstrations in Ottawa. A report for the March meeting of the Ottawa Police Services Board said the team would "ensure community safety prior to, during, and after events and demonstrations."

Ottawa police spent $15.4 million to police large demonstrations and events in the capital last year, including presidential visits and the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian protests.

The new Ontario-Ottawa deal announced last month included $48 million to address community and public safety in the national capital. A portion of the funding was conditional on federal support for national protests, events and public safety.

There is no mention in Federal Budget 2024 on the future of Wellington Street in front of Parliament Hill, as the debate continues on the ownership of the busy street in downtown Ottawa. The federal government expressed an interest in buying the section of the road in the Parliamentary Precinct with the goal of keeping it closed to vehicle traffic.

A report for the city's transportation committee in February said city staff and Public Services and Procurement Canada continue to have "regular meetings" on the future of the road.

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