COVID-19 Updates

The Toronto Police Service has been working closely with our City of Toronto Emergency Management partners in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

We have been taking advice from public health officials and making decisions that balance our need to provide community safety with maintaining the health and safety of our members.

Currently there are no changes to our frontline operations.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Updated as of July 31, 2020, 1330 hrs

Q. How can I file a police report?

If you have an emergency – an immediate threat to life or property – please call 911.

Non-emergencies can be reported by calling ‪416-808-2222.‬‬‬

Many incidents can be reported using our online reporting system, such as Damage to Vehicle or Property under $5,000, Driving or Parking Complaints, Traffic Issues or Concerns, Graffiti, or Theft or Fraud Under $5,000‬.‬‬‬‬‬‬

Q. Can I go to a police facility to make a report?

No. All Toronto Police Service facilities, including Headquarters, remain closed to the public.

Q. How can I get a Criminal Record Check, a Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Check or a Vulnerable Sector Screening?

Until further notice, all Criminal Record Checks and Criminal Record and Judicial Matters Checks must be submitted online through our Background Checks page.

Previously submitted requests, or requests going forward, will not be available for pick up until such time as Police Headquarters reopens to the public.

Exceptions will be made for those requiring a Vulnerable Sector Screening under emergency circumstances. Information about Vulnerable Sector Screenings can be found online on our Vulnerable Section Screen Process page, by calling 416-808-8244, or by email referencecheckprogram@torontopolice.on.ca.

Specific questions related to the Background Checks have been answered in the FAQ on their page.

Q. Can I submit a Freedom of Information request?

The Access and Privacy Section (APS) is now processing all mail-in access to information applications submitted under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.

However, per the direction of Toronto Public Health regarding social distancing to help stop the spread of COVID-19, APS is operating on an alternative work schedule and our response to your request for information may be delayed. At this time, our preferred form of contact is via e-mail, as APS staff are only able to access voicemail messages intermittently.

Questions regarding your request and/or our process during the pandemic can be forwarded to Access & Privacy.

Q. Can I pick up my property?

The Property Unit, located at 330 Progress Avenue, is closed to the public until further notice. Services will continue to be provided to the public, over the phone, by calling 416-808-3750 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

Q. I need to attend a Collision Reporting Centre, are they open?

Yes. However, all Collision Reporting Centres have amended hours of operation to 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Screening methods have been put in place by Accident Support Services International to ensure the health and safety of the public and their employees. These may include the use of a point-and-click temperature reader, limiting the number of occupants into the collision reporting centre, putting restrictions on who can attend, increased sanitization, not handling customer documents, and encouraging social distancing. For more information, please visit their website at www.accsupport.com

Q. What should I do if someone comes to my house, calls me or sends a text or email asking for donations or selling products and services?

The Toronto Police Service has noted an increase in several online scams associated to COVID-19. These include:

  • Text messages requesting banking information for:
    • Processing government payments for Emergency Benefits or Canada Revenue Agency
    • Fines for leaving the house too many times in a day,
    • Immediate payment with threats of cancelled services (like streaming sites)
  • Emails with fraudulent/corrupt links on topics such as:
    • “delivery details” for those most likely to be using delivery services
    • “special offers” for COVID-related products/services
  • Websites claiming:
    • Sales of COVID-related products and services, such as testing kits, cleaning products or remedies
    • Information from “health officials”, requesting information and/or links to other sites

Investigators have also learned of various telephone or door-to-door scams including offers to shop for, and deliver, groceries – these often include a request for credit card information; as well as sales of COVID-related products and services.

With more residents spending time at home, online, investigators are reminding the public to take the following steps to protect themselves:

  • Do not click on random links
  • Do not provide your personal information – including banking information
  • Do not install unknown applications, even if you’re asked to via email/text/etc.
  • Use two-factor authentication for online payments
  • Do not use links sent via email/text to access online accounts
  • Set up strong passwords for new or existing online accounts
  • Back up your work regularly and work offline, when possible
  • Use software to protect yourself from malware/viruses

To learn more, please watch the video below:

Q. My children are spending more time online; should I be worried?

Since Covid-19 restrictions were put into place, the Toronto Police Service continues to monitor online activity for various child exploitation offences. While it is too early to determine trends in reporting, the Unit tasked with such work has noticed an increase in “self exploitation” incidents. “Self exploitation” is when a child voluntarily posts photos or videos of themselves which could be used by an adult for a sexual or exploitative purpose. In these cases, investigators identify and locate the child and provide awareness and education to the parent or caregiver. 

Any family looking for advice and support for online safety is encouraged to visit the Canadian Centre for Child Protection for comprehensive resources as well as information about Cybertip.ca, an online reporting tool for incidents of online child exploitation.

As was the case before the pandemic, investigative resources continue to virtually patrol the online environment for the distribution of child sexual abuse material.  While more people working from home and following self-isolation measures means more online activity, the public can be reassured there has been no change to the Service’s ability and commitment to identify, locate, and rescue victims of online child sexual abuse.

Q. I’m working from home and my company is using virtual meeting software to conduct business, is this secure?

The Toronto Police Service has noted an increase in occurrences involving the hijacking of virtual meeting spaces.

These reports include meetings being interrupted by uninvited guests who share hate-related content or child sexual abuse material. 

Those organizing virtual meetings are strongly encouraged to keep the meeting details (such as any meeting ID or access number) private, and not share them publicly if at all possible.

If shared publicly, organizers need to be aware meetings may be interrupted by the streaming of traumatic and/or illegal content.

Anyone who has been the victim of such an attack is encouraged to contact police at 416-808-2222, Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-tips, or make a report through Cybertip.ca

To learn more, please watch the video below:

Q. With the warmer weather and re-opening of marinas, can I go boating with my family?

With a return to seasonal weather and the lifting of various restrictions around marinas, the Toronto Police Service would like to remind the public of their responsibilities on the water.

  • Take the time to do an appropriate check of your vessel, ensuring you have functioning navigation lights and all safety equipment, including lifejackets/PFD for everyone on board. Also set a plan to let people know where you are going and set to return.

  • Just because your vessel is ready for the water does not mean you are. Cold water immersion and/or fast-moving high water levels mean taking extra precautions to protect yourself from these risks. It is a recommended practice that you wear your PFD/Lifejacket to be safe while you are around the water.

  • Every year lives are lost due to impaired boating.  It is against the law for any vessel operator to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. It is also against the law for there to be alcohol or drugs being consumed by anyone on board while the vessel is in operation. Alcohol and controlled substances are meant to be stored and non-accessible while the vessel is underway. Only when your vessel is docked, moored, grounded, or at anchor, and meets the legal requirements of having permanent sleeping, cooking and washroom facilities, is it legal to consume responsibly on a vessel in the province of Ontario.

Please watch this video below to learn more:

Q. Are there enough police officers to keep the city safe?

Toronto Police Service members have been provided with the same direction as the public when it comes to travel, self-isolation, and self-monitoring.

It is not in the interest of community safety for us to disclose our exact deployment numbers but we can say, at this time, we have not had to make any changes to our frontline policing services.

Prior to COVID-19, the Toronto Police Service had plans in place to address staffing needs during a public crisis or emergency. These plans include repurposing of resources, modifying members’ shifts (including Work From Home accomodations), and adjusting our service delivery model. All of these steps allow us to maintain public safety, respond to emergency calls for service, and continue our delivery of critical services.

Q. I see police officers in groups all the time, why aren’t they practicing social distancing?

We have encouraged our members to practice social distancing as much as operationally possible. This means staggering their lunch times, finding new ways to gather for meetings and briefings, and limiting the number of times they cross paths in a police facility. 

When it comes to engaging with the public, like all emergency service providers, we do our best to keep our distance but sometimes that is not possible in order to affect our duties appropriately.

As of July 7, like all members of the public, TPS members have been directed to wear a face mask or facial covering when they enter an indoor public space.

Q. Has there been a reduction in crime or have police officers stopped making arrests?

There has been no impact to frontline policing services. The Toronto Police Service is still responding to calls for service, investigating crimes, and doing its part to keep our communities safe.

Domestic Violence:

We know these crimes are historically unreported and we would encourage anyone who has experienced this type of violence to contact police. You can also connect with any of the agencies listed below and be provided with community resources that are in your neighbourhood.

Victim Services Toronto – 416-808-7066 – www.victimservicestoronto.com
The Assaulted Women Helpline – 416-863-0511 or 1-866-863-0511 – www.awhl.org

Hate Crimes:

We know that hate-related occurrences often go unreported to police and statistics do not accurately reflect the possible lived experiences for other members of the community. If anyone has experienced this type of crime, please report to police by calling 416-808-2222, or 911 if you are in immediate danger.

Child Abuse:

The TPS continues to collaborate with all of our partner agencies at Boost Child & Youth Advocacy Centre in order to best provide care and support to children in need.  We know that, during this time, some families may have trouble coping with what’s happening around the world and in our own city.  We also know that parents may be trying to cope with lost wages, feelings of isolation, and other factors, that often result in stressful situations for the whole family. Services are available to any child or family that need them and we would encourage parents and families to reach out if they believe they need to be supported.

Kids Help Phone – 1-800-668-6868
Children’s Aid Society of Toronto – 416-924-4646
Catholic Children's Aid Society of Toronto – 416-395-1500
Jewish Family & Child Service of Greater Toronto – 416-638-7800
Native Child & Family Services of Toronto – 416-969-8510

Elder Abuse:

Elder abuse may happen to any older person regardless of gender, culture, race, financial status, mental or physical condition and occurs more frequently when an older person is socially isolated. It takes many forms, not all of which are visible including emotional abuse, neglect, theft or financial coercion.

If you or someone you know needs support, please contact one of the community organizations listed below:

Toronto Seniors Helpline – 416-217-2077 – https://torontoseniorshelpline.ca/

Seniors Safety Line – 1-866-299-1011 – http://www.eapon.ca/what-is-elder-abuse/help-for-seniors/

Advocacy Centre for the Elderly – 1-855-598-2656 or 416-598-2656 – http://www.advocacycentreelderly.org/

Q. What changes have been made to parking enforcement?

During the Covid-19 pandemic, various parking enforcement violations were suspended and the highest level of discretion was applied to rush hour route enforcement. 

Parking offences will be re-introduced in a gradual way with several violations restored at a time.  As of July 2, 2020, the following enforcement is in effect:

  • enforcement of change-over parking in areas where parking regulations require a change from one side of the street to the other

  • enforcement of paid on-street parking regulations

Updates will be provided as other offences are restored.  To avoid any parking infractions, the public is encouraged to follow all parking regulations at all times.

Q. Is the police service arresting or ticketing those experiencing homelessness?

We always use a common sense approach to our enforcement and police officers are exercising some consideration for those experiencing homelessness. When possible, officers look at all options available, such as utilizing Streets to homes 24/7 shelter intake and street outreach teams. Enforcement is always considered as a last resort.

On April 29, the City of Toronto began approaching individuals and couples who are sleeping outdoors for an opportunity to move into temporary housing. Access to units will be prioritized for clients in encampment sites that present health and safety concerns and are identified as higher risk to COVID-19 related harms.

The temporary housing locations will be staffed 24/7 by City of Toronto Shelter, Support & Housing. Security will also be available through the City of Toronto. The Toronto Police Service will be in regular contact with staff and security and will respond to calls for service, if necessary.

Since the start of the pandemic, there has been a suspension on the clearing of encampments.Clients staying in outdoor locations identified for this program will be offered access to a variety of indoor spaces, including the interim housing program, and will be notified of clearing of the encampment sites they are on.

Clearing of encampment sites is the responsibility of the City of Toronto. The Toronto Police Service may be called to assist City by-law officers to ensure the safety of everyone involved. If necessary, Trespass to Property Act offenses may be applied.

For more information on housing and shelter supports visit www.toronto.ca/home/covid-19/covid-19-latest-city-of-toronto-news/affected-city-services/.