Public Safety Minister Vic Toews announced last week that the government is now accepting a new round of applications for its Security Infrastructure Program (SIP).
The $1-million annual fund is disbursed to successful applicants from communities at risk of hate crimes and is typically used to help defray the costs of security at schools, places of worship and other institutions.
Items allowed for purchase under the program include alarm systems, fences, gates, lighting, security film for windows, closed-circuit television systems, exterior cameras (as well as their relocation), anti-graffiti sealant, motion detectors, signage and landscaping.
Training costs for proper use of new security equipment are also covered.
“Projects funded under SIP are cost-shared with communities and funds are matched dollar for dollar, up to $100,000,” Toews said.
Initiated in 2008 as a three-year pilot program, SIP was declared a permanent program by the government in 2012.
Speaking to journalists at an ethnic media roundtable at his regional offices in Toronto last week, Toews said his ministry is calling for proposals from communities with a March 26 deadline for submissions.
“As part of our government’s strong commitment to preventing hate crimes and making our streets safe, we are pleased to announce that [SIP] is once again accepting applications,” he said.
“This program helps communities fight against hate-motivated crimes so that they can pursue their beliefs, culture, and activities peacefully, without fear of harm.”
SIP is administered through the ministry’s National Crime Prevention Centre.
Numerous Jewish community institutions have benefited from the program since 2008. Most recently, in January Toronto’s Beth Tikvah Synagogue and Hamilton’s Adas Israel congregation received some $32,000 each in SIP funding.
Asked whether the fund will remain capped at $1 million or if the government had any plans to increase it, Toews said there is no plan “at this time” to do so and that the government is trying to be fiscally responsible while still protecting communities.
Toews also told The CJN that the amount of intelligence being picked up by law enforcement in Canada around possible homegrown terrorist activity is “substantive.”
Queried on whether the Canadian Jewish community or Canadians in general should be worried about a growing possibility of terrorist attacks domestically, the minister demurred before stating that he had full faith in law enforcement to keep communities safe.
However, Toews did encourage anyone with knowledge of possible terrorist activity within their communities to contact local or national law enforcement.