Public Library Safety & Security Toolkit



Increase Government Awareness

As overall awareness of the problem increases from the media campaign, directly engage government Ministers and Departments responsible for public security, mental health, and addiction. Initially, this engagement will be directed at the Federal Ministers for Public Security and Mental Health and Addictions and the Ministers responsible in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia.

Use increased public awareness from the media campaign to demonstrate the urgency of action to governments. At the same time, leverage upcoming elections federally and in BC to ensure governments understand that safety and security in libraries and in urban cores is a top-of-mind issue for voters. Even in provinces without an imminent election, demonstrating broad public support for the issue will encourage those governments to increase funding in future budgets and policy making.

We suggest actively seeking support from municipal councils and both federal and provincial municipal bodies (i.e., Federation of Canadian Municipalities, Union of British Columbia Municipalities, Association of Municipalities of Ontario (AMO) across Canada and ask that they pass motions in support of CULC/CBUC and public libraries to address the safety and security issues libraries face every day. This communication will include drafting a motion (draft in Appendix 3) that can be distributed by member libraries to their municipalities (with which they already have a strong, interconnected relationship), with passed motions being shared with responsible Ministers federally and provincially. A specific opportunity to advance the narrative and ask of government may be CULC/CBUC attending the municipal conferences in various provinces, for example, the AMO conference in Ottawa, Ontario, from August 18-21, 2024 and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) in May of 2024 in Calgary.9

At the same time, prepare a letter to each Federal and Provincial Minister (see table with list of who to contact in the Government Relations Engagement Map included as Appendix 4) outlining the issue with immediate follow-up through an in-person meeting with both the Ministers in charge and the departmental officials responsible for public safety and mental health and addiction. In the in-person meetings, establish the CULC/CBUC members from the target provinces in leading the engagements.

The focus will be ensuring the government understands this is an issue that must be addressed and that cannot be left to community agencies and/or municipal governments. Libraries are neither equipped nor have the mandate to adequately address the complex issues they encounter. Drive the message that the government must take action in all communications and engagement.

Additionally, prepare specific submissions for all governments to consider these issues in their Budget preparation process and share those submissions with allies and select media.10

CULC/CBUC contributed in the federal government’s pre-budget engagement process and submitted the following recommendation: “That the Government of Canada recognize the significant impact of mental health and addiction in Canadian communities and work with provincial governments to appropriately fund community mental health and addiction services: services which may already exist but are unable to adequately fulfill their role due to inconsistent funding and other stressors.”

To support our government engagement, advance our communications campaign with government-facing media – via National media like the CBC, the Hill Times, and iPolitics and regional media focused on provincial decision makers. The goal is to ensure our messaging is amplified and support the overall GR campaign to maximize our impact and ensure government understands the need to act.

In all messaging to governments, clearly lay out how governments can assist in building solutions – providing funding to community organizations equipped to address the mental health and addiction issues prevalent in the community, providing appropriate training and support for policing in communities, and increase overall community awareness of who can and should be responsible for addressing the issues prevalent in the community.