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 May 15, 2020, 1555 hrs
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.
No. As of 1 p.m. on Wednesday, March 18, 2020, all Toronto Police Service facilities, including Headquarters, were closed to the public.
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 email@example.com.
Specific questions related to the Background Checks have been answered in the FAQ on their page.
The Access and Privacy Section (APS) is not accepting new requests at this time. Staff are still accessing voicemail and email messages, however, only sporadically. As such, concerns and requests for information can only be addressed intermittently.
Access to information requests received prior to March 19, 2020, are still being worked on, and will be responded to as soon as practicable.
Questions regarding your request or our process during the pandemic can be forwarded to Access & Privacy.
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.
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
Effective April 21, the City implemented an online portal for the electronic submission and exchange of forms with funeral service providers. As of May 1, burial permits will no longer be processed through fax or in person.
This protocol is temporary. To learn more or to receive your link to this online portal, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
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:
Most business owners are complying with the government’s directive to close down. We have heard concerns from some business owners that these closed businesses are potentially at an increased risk of break-and-enters, vandalism, etc., or robberies and theft given reduced foot traffic and customer flow.
Each division across the city has been tasked with monitoring these locations for the purpose of preventing and detecting crime. This is achieved through intelligence-led crime analytics, leading to increased uniform visibility ensuring our officers are where the public needs them the most.
There are also many resources available to guide store/restaurant owners through a CPTED (Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design) process and advice is always available through the Crime Prevention Officer at each division.
Some tips for businesses include:
- Remove all items of value.
- Display an open and empty cash register.
- Post obvious signage up saying that all items and cash have been removed.
- Double check locks, security systems and cameras are working.
- Post obvious signage that there is a security system and cameras.
- Have emergency contact info somewhere visibly posted inside the store.
There is also information available at:
Anyone who sees a crime in progress is asked to contact 911 and any business owner discovering a break-and-enter or damage to a property is asked to call 416-808-2222, or report through our Online Crime Reporting.
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.
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:
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:
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.
As of May 11, 2020, 22 Toronto Police Service members have tested positive for COVID-19.
In every case, we work with public health authorities who conduct an in-depth investigation related to each member and their contacts.
At every location, we take action to ensure enhanced cleaning measures as recommended by public health officials, such as additional surface cleaning in frequently accessed areas, are undertaken as soon as possible.
Those who work in close proximity to members who have tested positive are advised to self-monitor.
As we progress through the weeks, members who have tested positive for COVID-19 are at different stages of recovering and are under medical care and public health oversight. Once they have fully recovered medically and been cleared by Public Health and Wellness, they are able to safely return to work.
Protecting its members is of paramount importance. The Service continues to provide its members with the most up-to-date information from public health officials with respect to self-screening, social distancing, frequent hand-washing with soap, and practicing self-isolation.
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.
Every person in police custody is screened at least three times: upon arrest, at the division, and again when they are transported to court by a supervisor. These screenings include questions like do you have symptoms, have you travelled, have you been quarantined, etc. We continue to work with our emergency management partners to ensure our screening is the most effective it can be in determining the wellbeing of people in our custody to prevent possible exposure to our members and those who work along side us in the justice system.
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.
Since social distancing and self-isolation have been imposed, the Service has noticed a decrease in the total number of calls to the non-emergency number. There could be several reasons for this decline, including fewer people in a single place calling about one incident and a reduction in parking complaints.
However, even with the decrease in call volume, there has been no significant change to our calls for service. This means police officers are responding to about the same amount of calls as they were during this time last year.
While it is far too early to make any determination on possible crime trends during this time, we do know that since March 16, 2020, our weekly statistics have shown the following:
- A decline in overall robberies but, when broken down, an increase in hold-ups and retail robberies combined with a decrease in street robberies
- Break-and-enters fluctuating, which appears to be due to a decrease in residential break-and-enters and an increase in commercial break-and-enters
- Auto thefts, assaults and sexual assaults are declining
- Shootings have increased
We have been seeing a small decrease in Intimate Partner Violence reports. We also know that 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.
We are not experiencing a notable increase in our hate crimes since the pandemic. However, we also know that hate-related occurrences often go unreported to police so I’m not sure our numbers would accurately reflect the possible lived experiences for some members of the community. If you could please add to your story that if anyone has experienced this time of crime, to please report to police by calling 416-808-2222, or 911 if they are in immediate danger.
While we are experiencing a decrease in our caseload at this time, it is very difficult to establish any sort of trend given the short timeframe. In addition, the caseload for TPS members investigating child abuse cases at the Boost CYAC includes sexual abuse against a person under 18. This does not reflect all incidents of child abuse. What we can say is that TPS continues to collaborate with all of our partner agencies at the 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 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/
The important thing to remember is that crime statistics fluctuate over time and for a variety of different reasons. Toronto Police officers continue to respond to calls and protect our city.
No. Like other frontline policing activity, there has been no change to traffic enforcement.
While traffic volume may be lighter on the roads because of social distancing and self-isolation measures, there is still an expectation that all road users will act responsibility and within the law.
For tips on safe driving during this time, please see the infographic below:
While it is far too early to make any determination on possible trends during this time, we do know that since March 15, 2020, our weekly statistics show an increase in speeding-related offenses compared to the same time period in 2019.
For instance, specific to stunt driving charges, which may include driving over 50km/h over the speed limit and other stunt offences, has shown a significant increase compared to last year. For the period of April 1st to April 20th in 2019, the Toronto Police laid 23 charges. This year, for the same time period, Toronto Police have laid exactly 150 Stunt driving charges. That is a 550% increase in charges.
The Toronto Police Service will continue to conduct enforcement aligned with the City’s Vision Zero and use targeted campaigns focused on our four priorities of speeding, distracted driving, aggressive driving and impaired driving, either by drugs or alcohol.
Until further notice, parking enforcement has been suspended for the following offences:
- On-Street Permit Parking Areas
- On-Street Time Limit Offences such a 1, 2 and 3 Hour Parking
- North York Winter Maintenance Bylaw
- Expired Vehicle Validation License Plates
- Boulevard Parking
- School Zones with posted No Stopping/No Standing/No Parking Signage
Also, until further notice, the highest level of discretion will be applied to rush hour route enforcement. Only when an offence is having a significant negative impact on traffic flow in the immediate area will an infraction notice be issued and the impounding of vehicles from rush hour routes will only be undertaken as a last resort.
On April 1, 2020, change-over parking will start in areas where parking regulations require a change from one side of the street to the other.
Parking Enforcement will be utilizing a high level of discretion in these areas and enforcement will only take place when necessary to ensure the safe flow of traffic.
The public’s cooperation is requested in complying with change-over parking regulations by moving their vehicles to the permitted side of the street when it is safe to do so.
We know that some areas of the city make it difficult to practice social distancing when sharing sidewalks with other pedestrians. The public is strongly encouraged to remain on sidewalks for their own safety; noting existing by-laws which deem it an offense to walk on a street, mid-block without having the right of way (Chapter 950-300B – Pedestrian crossing highway failing to yield to vehicle/streetcar).
To accommodate some of the more populated areas, Toronto Public Health and City of Toronto Transportation Services (with input from the Toronto Police Service) have curb lane installations in more than 100 locations across the city. Signs will be posted in these locations and all road users are reminded to be vigilant in order to ensure safe use by everyone.
On March 17, the Government of Ontario made an order declaring an emergency under s 7.0.1 (1) of the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act.
Since then, several orders have been issued which change the way businesses operate and the way people access, and interact in, public spaces.
Here’s a summary of the orders under the Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act:
- All non-essential businesses are legally required to be closed. As the province begins to lift restrictions on businesses, the list of essential businesses and changes to that list can be found at www.ontario.ca/page/stopping-spread-covid-19#changes-list-essential
- All organized public events and social gatherings of over five people are prohibited.
- The following City-owned park amenities continue to be off limits: playgrounds, play structures and equipment, sports facilities and multi-use fields, soccer fields, basketball courts, baseball diamonds, tennis, platform tennis, table tennis and pickleball courts, off-leash dog areas, skateboard and BMX parks, picnic areas and shelters, privately-owned or fixed or portable barbecues including hibachis, outdoor exercise equipment, greenhouses, nurseries and conservatories, zoos and farms, ice rinks (with or without ice), and park washrooms/shelters.
There have also been several by-laws enacted by the City of Toronto that govern the way the public uses City of Toronto property, such as parks and squares.
Here’s a summary of the by-laws:
- All parking lots attached to the City of Toronto parks system – except those used to access boat launch areas or community allotment gardens – are closed.
- Remaining, for longer than an incidental period, closer than 2 metres to any other person who is not a member of the same household, while in a park or city square is prohibited.
While adhering to these orders and by-laws, public greenspaces are open for the following activities:
- People can walk/run/bike in parks and ravine green spaces; beaches; trails; boardwalks
- Parks green space is available for public use for those wishing to rest or read a book
- You are allowed to bring a picnic to the park or sit on a blanket and enjoy the park setting as long as everyone present is a member of a single household, and that they remain more than two metres away from others not from their household who may also be the park
- Dogs can be walked on-leash
- Fishing with a licence
- People can also boat, kayak, canoe
City-owned golf courses will open on Saturday, May 16 as the Province has amended its emergency order. Plans for the safe operation of golf courses include guidelines from public health officials such as players must stay 2 metres (6 feet) or the length of two golf clubs apart from others. Tee times can and must be booked in advance through the City’s website or by calling the golf course. People who drop-in or walk-in will not be permitted access to the course.
The Toronto Police Service is working with the City of Toronto on education and enforcement initiatives in support of Toronto Public Health and Toronto Municipal Licencing and Standards.
Since April 4th, 160 officers from our Primary Response Units, Community Response Units (including Neighbourhood Community Officers), Mounted Unit and Marine Unit, as well as members from our Parking Enforcement Unit, have been conducting coordinated enforcement activities with members of Municipal Licensing and Standards and Toronto Public Health.
There are various options for this enforcement, ranging in severity from a $750 ticket to a summons, which upon conviction can result in fines from $100,000 for individuals to $10 million for businesses, to arrests and criminal charges of Obstruct Police.
In all cases, a common sense approach is applied to enforcement – for instance, some people may require temporary respite on park benches for a variety of reasons – and police officers are exercising some consideration for those experiencing homelessness. When possible, referrals are made through Street to Homes 24/7 intake at 416-397-5637.
Discretion is also used when approaching anyone using a park bench or picnic table but the public is reminded these locations are not properly cleaned and city by-laws and EMCPA orders still apply. This means enforcement may still occur if someone is using a park bench or picnic table within 2 metres of anyone else they don’t reside with, or if someone is using a park bench or picnic table in a group of more than five people.
As of May 14, 2020, the TPS has conducted the following types of enforcement in relation to all of the orders and by-laws listed above:
- 235 tickets
- 33 summons
- 4,106 cautions
- 176 tags
- 5 tows
Residents with complaints are encouraged to contact 311.
The public is encouraged to stay home to help keep our communities safe and healthy. If you must leave your home, please do so for a limited amount of time and limit your travel for essential purposes only.
While this may not be considered good social distancing, travelling, or being parked in a car, with five people or less – including individuals from different home addresses – is not against the law.
On March 31, 2020, the Government of Ontario made changes that require an individual to identify themselves at the request of a police officer, if there are reasonable grounds to believe the individual is violating an emergency order.
You are required to identify yourself verbally, providing your name, date of birth, and home address, once the officer has reasonable grounds to lay a charge so the officer can properly issue you a ticket, summons, or caution, whichever they deem necessary.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, High Park was closed on April 30, and remain closed during the pre-bloom and peak bloom period of the cherry blossom trees. High Park re-opened to the public on Sunday, May 10.
Park amenities continue to be off limits and parking lots are closed.
The public is reminded that remaining, for longer than an incidental period, closer than 2 metres to any other person who is not a member of the same household, while in a park or city square is prohibited.
There are a number of rules and regulations that govern the use of drones or “RPAS” (Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems) in the city of Toronto. High Park is in a controlled airspace and, as a result, users must have an Advanced Operations Certificate AND written permission from NAV CANADA.
Even with these mandatory requirements, with the closure of High Park to all visitors, there is no safe location in which any drone user could operate. As a result, while the closure of High Park continues, drone use in the park is prohibited.
Failure to abide by this prohibition could result in fines up to $3,000 for individuals and $15,000 for corporations.
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/.
After a temporary closure, community and allotment gardens are permitted to reopen in a phased approach. This means, community gardens will begin to open the week of May 4th on a location-by-location basis and allotment gardens will begin to open the week of May 11th.
City staff will contact permit holders and community groups to confirm when their space has opened. Guidelines for use of these spaces can be found at www.toronto.ca/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/8d67-COVID-19-Directions-Community-and-Allotment-Gardens.pdf.
Like other significant holidays, this Victoria Day long weekend will be celebrated differently. People are urged to follow the provincial orders and City by-laws when it comes to physical distancing and the use of public spaces. Fireworks are a common feature of Victoria Day but there will not be any City-run events this year. Anyone considering the use of fireworks this weekend is reminded of the following rules:
- No one is allowed to sell fireworks without a vendor’s permit from City of Toronto and, this year, these permits are not being issued
- Household members can have fireworks in their own backyard on Victoria Day if they comply with the by-law and the requirements to be aware of your surroundings and not discharge fireworks where they may be a nuisance, or pose a risk of fire or injury or damage to any person or property
- Fireworks are not allowed on private property any other day (except Victoria Day and Canada Day) without a permit and, this year, these permits are not being issued
- Fireworks are not allowed in City parks
Anyone with concerns over the sale or misuse of fireworks should contact 311.