A Scarborough MPP is renewing her call for gun violence to be treated as a public health emergency in the wake of a shooting that left a student dead at a Toronto high school.

Jahiem Robinson, an 18-year-old Grade 12 student, was fatally gunned down at David and Mary Thomson Collegiate Institute in Scarborough last week on Feb. 14. 

Toronto Police have said Robinson was shot from behind at point-blank range in a killing described as an “execution.” Another victim was targeted, but the gun did not go off, police said.

A 14-year-old boy has been charged in connection with the killing.

In her letter published Wednesday, Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter says there are students in GTA schools “who are reeling from trauma associated with gun violence.”

Hunter wrote that in the wake of the latest shooting, “we are painfully reminded that violence of this nature persists in our communities despite the efforts of police and public agencies to find ways to keep people safe.”

She said gun violence is up almost 50 per cent in her community so far this year.

Hunter said that labelling gun violence a public health emergency would allow health boards to develop programs which are specifically designed to reduce gun violence, taking into account “local and culturally appropriate solutions.”

She said it would also help to extend “trauma-informed counselling paid for by OHIP.”

Hunter called for digital mental health resources as well as investments in youth programs.

“The fatal shooting at David and Mary Thomson CI requires a response, and the people of this province cannot afford to wait,” Hunter wrote.

Robinson's death and the charges that followed against a young teen prompted Toronto police to point out that a third of victims and accused involved in Toronto homicides so far this year are under 20 years old.

Police also said the number of bullets fired at crime scenes is up almost 50 per cent compared to last year, pointing to the use of deadlier weapons.



In an email to CP24.com Wednesday evening, Solicitor General Sylvia Jones’ office said the government has made investments in youth mental health, but is working to combat gun violence by targeting gangs and illegal guns.

“Our hearts go out to the family, loved ones, and community members who are grieving the tragic loss in Scarborough,” the statement read.

It pointed out that Ontario has invested over $31 million to improve access to mental health treatment services, reduce wait times, and support the mental health and well-being of children and youth as part of its 10-year Roadmap to Wellness plan, and that it has "invested heavily" over the past three years to specifically tackle guns and gangs.

“We launched a multi-year Guns, Gangs and Violence Reduction Strategy, which takes a comprehensive approach to public safety by focusing on prevention, intervention and enforcement, and are supporting police response with over $185 million in funding,” Jones’ office said.

“As law enforcement experts have highlighted time and time again, the only way to truly tackle gun violence is to crack down on the illegal guns being smuggled in daily at our borders and greatly increase the legal ramifications for those convicted of gun crimes.”

A number of other groups have previously called for a public health approach toward community violence to address its root causes, including Toronto’s Medical Officer of Health Dr. Eileen de Villa in a 2019 report.