Toronto to launch pilot that sends crisis workers, not police, to some calls

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Toronto will be launching a pilot project that sends crisis workers instead of police to certain 911 calls.

The city says the project, which starts next year, will send workers specializing in mental health and crisis intervention to some non-emergency, non-violent calls.

It says those calls may involve people in crisis and requests for wellness checks.

Toronto Mayor John Tory says the intent of the service is for mental-health professionals to be the first responders for such calls.

The city says the new service is a response to demands for changes to Toronto policing that were made last June.

The project will be implemented in three areas of the city where calls for people in crisis are the highest as well as in Indigenous communities.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2021.

This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.

The Canadian Press