An article from Gemma Hill
Sault Ste. Marie is to be the new home of Ontario’s first permanent forensic unit in a plan to turn around the accusations of a lack of investment in services for the north. The unit will be home to leading forensic experts and will be a valuable source of expertise in justice and death investigations. An annual investment of $100,000 will be given to the unit when it is completed showing an upturn in the investment capabilities of the city. It is hoped that the world class, modern facilities will improve public death investigations in the immediate area. The new lab, which will be located at Sault Ste. Marie hospital, will provide autopsy services for Sault Ste. Marie and will work closely with the police services in the area.
Why is the new forensic unit needed?
There are already 6 forensic units in Ontario, located in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton, London and Sudbury. The cost of building, training staff, and running the unit has received some criticism from locals who believe the funding should be invested elsewhere. However, the government is sticking with it’s plan of ensuring that there are high-quality death investigation services and training available for residents in the Algoma district.
The benefits of the new facility to the local economy
The forensic unit is part of a larger scheme by the government to grow the economy right across Ontario and help provide a brighter, more prosperous future. There are plans to invest heavily in infrastructure programs such as this to create a dynamic and innovative environment in which businesses can thrive. Since the recession, businesses across Ontario have been struggling financially. Many staff have found themselves overworked with no retirement plan for the future. Businesses have been making cuts where they can, often unadvisedly risking the option of limited cover policies at the expense of their, as well as the local area’s, stability. With the largest ever investment in infrastructure programs, such as the building of the new forensic unit, the government hopes to bring long-term security back to the people and businesses of the area.
A few facts about the new Forensic Unit
We have found that a few residents are a little confused as to what is happening with the development of the new forensic unit, so here are a few quick facts to keep you up to speed:
- The $100,000 monthly sum that is required to run the new unit at the Sault Ste. Marie Hospital will be provided by the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services.
- The new unit, when it is completed, will be overseen by Dr Michael D’Agostino who is a graduate of the Provincial Forensic Pathology Unit – part of the University of Toronto’s residency training program.
- The long term goal of the new unit will be to train new world class forensic pathologists and encourage them to work in Ontario, across Canada, and even internationally. The unit hopes to be part of a log term goal to make Canada the most respected country in the world when it comes to death investigations.
Increased safety of residents a priority
The increased local support to public death investigations that comes with the building of units such as this is also claimed by some to improve safety. Yasir Naqvi, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, says the unit will “help enhance public safety in Algoma”:
“We are committed to ensuring Ontarians have access to high-quality services no matter where they live in the province.”
This optimism for investment in crime prevention in all areas of Ontario is also thought to have a knock-on effect for local businesses across all regions. Sault Ste, Marie MPP, David Orazietti, has said that the new Forensic Unit is part of a wider scheme to ensure high quality services for northern Ontario:
“The province’s commitment of $100,000 in annual funding for the unit will help establish our community as a center of excellence.”
Only time will tell if the investment in Ontario’s seventh forensic investigation unit in the north will provide the boost to the local community as suggested by proponents of the program. While the unit will certainly lead to a few more jobs and opportunities for people in the area, local businesses remain skeptical about the benefit public infrastructure will bring directly to them.