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Canadian Police Don’t Want to Talk About How They Spend Surveillance Dollars
Police in Ontario’s biggest cities have received hundreds of thousands of dollars for surveillance equipment. We can’t tell you how they spent it.

Police in Ontario’s biggest cities have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to deploy unspecified surveillance equipment as part of an obscure provincial program. The problem is, no one knows exactly what they’re buying with all that money.

Police in Toronto, Ottawa, and the municipalities of Peel and York (near Toronto) have received hundreds of thousands of dollars each to pay for the Provincial Electronic Surveillance Equipment Deployment Program (PESEDP). This little-known project is described by police as “funding for the purchase of, or improvements to, equipment used in the investigation of organized crime”, which doesn’t reveal much. Mentions of the program can be found in publicly-available meeting agendas and reports dating back to 2011.

Between February and June of this year, the Toronto police spent $100,000 on PESEDP, although they won’t publicly offer any specifics. Documents produced by the York Regional Police Services Board and the Peel Police Services Board show that both forces received $200,000 each to fund PESEDP, in 2011 and 2013, respectively. York Regional Police got another $100,000 in 2016.

A 2016 report detailing the latest payment to the York Regional Police notes that the force has agreements with the Ontario Provincial Police to “share services to intercept personal communications” and “to monitor personal communications,” both expiring in November of 2017.

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