A focus on prevention, diversion and community-based programs has contributed to an 81 per cent reduction of youth admitted to custody and detention in Ontario since 2004-05. This means there are about 8,500 fewer admissions to custody and detention now than in 2004-05. As a result, some facilities have been significantly under-used, including Brookside Youth Centre which will be de-commissioned as a result.
The decision to close Brookside Youth Centre is a difficult one; however this step is in line with recommendations made by the Auditor General and allows us to build a sustainable system that will fully support youth in conflict with the law. It costs $9.6 million annually to operate and maintain the facility with an average of approximately eight youth in the facility on any given day. Over time, the ministry will complete an exit plan that will wind down all current operations and transfer the management of the property to Infrastructure Ontario.
We are working with OPSEU, who represent the employees of this facility and with the Ministry of the Solicitor General to negotiate agreements to mitigate staff impacts. We will also work with OPSEU to review vacancies available within the ministry and across the Ontario Public Service.