Toronto mayor says city should consider placing mental health professionals on transit system
Toronto Mayor John Tory, speaks during a press conference while inside Queen’s Park in Toronto, Monday, June 27, 2022. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston
CP24.com, Dorcas Marfo
Published Thursday, January 19, 2023 5:27PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 19, 2023 5:27PM EST
Mayor John Tory says the city should explore placing mental health professionals on the transit system amid mounting concerns over safety.
Tory made the comment during a press conference on Thursday, one day after a man was allegedly attacked at Bloor-Yonge Station in what police have described as a “suspected hate-motivated offence.”
Tory did not specifically attribute the most recent incident to mental health concerns but he did say that “vast majority” of the people “who create anxiety on the transit system are people suffering from mental illness” who are simply “in need of some support.”
“I believe one of the things I might have to consider further is whether we also put some mental health professionals onto the transit system to help support people who are experiencing mental health issues,” he said. “These are not people who are meaning to cause harm, but they will cause anxiety sometimes. So I've listened to that and experienced that. And that may be one of the points that I have to reconsider.”
A string of TTC assaults in recent months have resulted in calls for more safety measures to be put in place.
Last month two women were stabbed in a random attack at High Park station, killing one and seriously injuring the other. The following week, a group of up to 10 girls between the ages 13 and 16 allegedly assaulted several people at several TTC subway stations.
Tory has already proposed increasing the TTC’s subsidy by $53 million in 2023, in part, to hire 50 more special constables and additional streets to homes outreach workers.
“The TTC is a place where people should expect to be safe,” Tory said of the latest incident on Thursday. “The police are treating it as a hate crime and I agree with that. And I should say at the outset, those kinds of acts taking place in our city are so contrary to the values of Torontonians.”