The Service’s French Community Consultative Committee (FCCC) honoured outgoing Chief Bill Blair at its annual International Francophonie Day celebration at police headquarters on March 20.
They presented him with a $500 cheque for the charity of his choice - Victim Services Toronto - which provides crisis response, trauma and support services to victims of crime and sudden tragic circumstances 24 hours daily.
Supervised by crisis counsellors, volunteers provide crisis intervention and referrals, assist on the telephone or attend the scene as requested and also assist with fundraising and other community outreach initiatives.
VST is one Blair’s favourite charities and the annual Chief’s gala in November has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the organization.
Observed annually since 1988, International Francophonie Day celebrates the French language and diversity in French-speaking countries, including Canada.
The FCCC is one of the original six consultative committees and its membership reflects the diversity of the French culture.
“We have the best partners in the world and they help us do a better job and reach out to our communities,” said Blair. “We are blessed to have members of the Francophonie community who work for us every day and help us ensure appropriate services are provided to all of the people of this city… The cultural diversity of this city is a great cause for celebration.”
The Service employs nearly 650 French-speaking members.
Toronto Police Services Board chair Alok Mukherjee said the Service is committed to ensuring that the organization reflects and fully incorporates all of the groups that make up the diverse City of Toronto.
He also praised the FCCC for its significant activity in a number of areas, including the provision of translation services and working with the community to address domestic violence issues.
“The organization serves as a testament to the community policing model that is so critical to a healthy partnership between the public and the police,” Mukherjee added.
Marie-France Lalonde, the parliamentary assistant to the Minister Responsible for Francophone Affairs, attended the event.
“I want to thank Toronto’s finest for their excellent work and the Toronto Police Services Board for its ongoing support,” she said.
“We understand the great challenges that you face everyday in the line of duty and we are extremely thankful for your commitment to cultural diversity and for the promotion of French Language Services within the ranks.”
Radio Canada Y a pas deux matins pareils Gerard Mehou-Loko was the keynote speaker at the event.