“We are taking concrete steps toward creating an inclusive city for everyone”

Edmonton is a diverse city made up of people from across Alberta and Canada and around the world. Many different cultures have come together to help build our city.

As a municipal government, we want to ensure that Edmonton is an inclusive city for all people.

While we have taken many positive steps to make Edmonton a more inclusive city, we have more work to do. Indigneous people who ride Edmonton Transit’s trains and buses receive a disproportionate number of tickets and warnings. Approximately 80,000 Indigenous people live in Edmonton, yet more than 7,000 warnings and almost 5,000 tickets were issued in 2018. That’s one-third of all warnings issued and half of all tickets issued in 2018.

Like every Edmontonian, we want to see this change.

Training for Transit Peace Officers

Transit Peace Officers play an important role on Edmonton Transit Service. It’s their job to ensure everyone is paying their fares and that the transit service is safe for all.

Like all City of Edmonton employees, peace officers learn about the history of Indigenous people and the impact the past has on the lives of Indigenous people today. Peace officers also receive training to help them interact effectively and compassionately with vulnerable people and those experiencing mental health issues.

Going forward, we are continuing to explore more enhanced training on mental health awareness and developing different options for officers to use rather than just warnings and tickets. Training for peace officers will be brought together under a single program to provide a more comprehensive approach for training.

Part of the training peace officers receive also includes ensuring they know the resources that are available through the City and through social agencies to help people get the support they need.

Other support for people in need

Peace officers, though, are only some of the many City employees who are supporting the city’s vulnerable people. The City employs a team of social workers who are engaged in preventive social service for vulnerable people. City staff work closely with community partners to connect individuals to the right resources and services, build capacity and opportunities for people living in housing and improve the financial well-being of residents living on low incomes.

Our work continues on increasing the availability of supportive housing so people in crisis can start to rebuild their lives.

In addition to the work of City staff, we continue to work with our social service agency partners to share information about subsidized and free transit passes for people with low incomes and for those experiencing homelessness.

We are committed to ensuring change happens so that all Edmontonians are treated fairly. While the work is not done, we are taking concrete steps toward creating an inclusive city for everyone.

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About the Author
Rob Smyth
Rob Smyth is the Deputy City Manager for the City of Edmonton's Citizen Services Department.
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