STM and SPVM present winter plan in preparation for cold weather

Press release

Montréal, November 22, 2021 – In preparation for the arrival of cold weather, the Security and Control department of the Société de transport de Montréal (STM) and the métro unit of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM), in collaboration with their partners, the Société de développement social (SDS) and the Old Brewery Mission (OBM), are presenting their winter plan for this year. Operations will begin gradually starting today and until April 24, 2022.

In addition to the major initiatives already in place, the winter plan has been enhanced with the following changes:

  • There will be a more targeted presence of patrol pairs composed of one STM inspector or special constable and one SDS social worker to cover the two service regions (Centre-West and East), as part of the Gestion des espaces publics (GEP) program.
  • Bus stops and terminals adjacent to métro stations will now be covered by STM inspectors and special constables, as well as SDS social workers, to address situations involving vulnerable people.
  • A major partner, Maison du Père, has been added to support the actions of social workers in STM networks.
  • There will be an increased presence of Équipe métro d’intervention et de concertation (EMIC) teams in the métro network and additional staff on site, including the addition of an SPVM investigator as part of a problem-solving approach to criminal offences.
  • SPVM agents and STM inspectors and special constables will use an evaluation grid to prioritize a referral-based approach in their interventions with vulnerable people.

“After a successful launch last year, the winter plan has been renewed for this year,” says Luc Tremblay, FCPA, FCA, CEO of the STM. “We planned and developed this program together with the SPVM to help people experiencing homelessness, a social phenomenon that has been exacerbated by the pandemic. The plan was also created with the support of the many partners consulted, who will continue to assist us with the implementation. In particular, I would like to highlight the unwavering support of the OBM and the SDS in offering concrete solutions to people experiencing homelessness. In closing, I would like to reiterate how proud we are to have been recently awarded the Rail Security Gold Award for Heavy Rail by the American Public Transportation Association for the winter plan.”

“The SPVM adopted a community approach nearly 25 years ago, in the interest of proximity to the public,” says Sylvain Caron, Director of the SPVM. “Thanks to our police officers and civilian employees, as well as our partners, we have updated our practices and continued to hone them over time. EMIC is a part of that approach. The hybrid patrols have both improved the SPVM’s service offering and reinforced our mission of keeping métro users safe and contributing to the public’s continued sense of safety. Interventions with people experiencing homelessness must be adapted and done in a way that respects the person involved and those around them. We are proud to be participating in the 2021-2022 winter plan, helping to offer support to these people in vulnerable situations and pointing them toward the appropriate resources to meet their specific needs.”

“The needs of people experiencing homelessness have been on the rise and, sadly, this has not subsided,” says François Raymond, General Director of the SDS. “On the contrary, bed scarcity and outbreaks in shelters are once again likely to push vulnerable groups to the STM network in an effort to get out of the cold this year. We are heartened by the willingness of the STM and all its community partners to move forward with projects adapted to the experience of these groups, such as the service point for the homeless, EMIC and the evening teams.”

“Last year, thousands of homeless passengers boarded the Solidaribus,” says James Hughes, President and CEO of the Old Brewery Mission. “The bus was provided by the STM for use by the Old Brewery Mission. The shuttle will once again hit the streets this winter to ensure that people experiencing homelessness have a safe place that meets their needs for the night. In addition to temporary shelter, the Solidaribus provides these individuals with support in finding stable housing to finally break the cycle of chronic homelessness.”

A reminder that the winter plan is composed of the following initiatives:

EMIC hybrid patrols, composed of one SPVM agent, one STM inspector or special constable and one SDS social worker. The EMIC project responds to a concrete need in the métro network and complements the multidisciplinary teams already in place.

The Gestion des espaces publics (GEP) program, a partnership between SDS social workers, inspectors and special constables, and métro station staff. This initiative enables teams to provide services such as outreach, support and references to help people experiencing homelessness find concrete solutions to the issues facing them. The initiative includes the following key activities:

  • Implementing an evening team, composed of two STM inspectors or special constables and one SDS social worker, to conduct frontline interventions with vulnerable people in cases of interpersonal situations in the STM network;
  • Continuing the operations of the service point for the homeless, which consists of two pairs of social workers who work day shifts providing frontline assistance to vulnerable people in the downtown area;
  • Continuing social work internships with the SDS for STM inspectors and special constables to provide a different perspective on social workers’ experiences with people experiencing homelessness.

The OBM minibus and Solidaribus loaned by the STM to ensure safe transportation at night across a broad territory, while allowing users of these services to return to their respective areas the next day. The service transports homeless men and women across the city, to and from several organizations, temporary emergency shelters and métro stations.

Awards received in 2021 for the winter plan

STM and partners win Rail Security Gold Award for Heavy Rail from the American Public Transportation Association (APTA)

The STM is the recipient of three awards from the Canadian Urban Transit Association

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