Toronto gangs have been using the Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) to buy illegal guns from the United States.

According to the Toronto Sun, gang members have become more dangerous thanks to firearms purchased using the $2000 per month CERB payments. 

One anonymous source told the Toronto Sun that dozens of gang members have purchased guns with CERB cheques.

“We have learned of dozens across the GTA who are doing this. This enables them to buy more handguns, ‘dirty weapons’ (previously used in crimes) for between $400 and $800, and new Glocks, which are reliable and have strong stopping power, for $3,000,” the source said.

“You’ll have four guys in a car, all of them bringing 10 to 20 rounds, showing off their firepower against their rivals, to keep them at bay.”

Since the pandemic began, there has been a surge in gun violence in the GTA. By October 13, there were 402 shootings, with 70 in August alone.

A lack of police presence has also contributed to the increase in shootings. Gun violence in Toronto has substantially increased in recent years, coinciding with Toronto’s ban on street checks and carding.

While violent crime is increasing, the City of Toronto is still promising to defund the police. In August, Mayor John Tory tabled 80 different “reforms” which would implement “alternative” methods to policing and combat systemic racism within the police force.

According to the Toronto Police Services Board, the financial impact of Mayor Tory’s reforms are not yet known.

“The financial implications arising out of the recommendations contained in this report are unknown at this time. If the recommendations are approved, financial implications – including for potential costs savings or re-allocations – will be assessed on an ongoing basis,” claimed the report.

While supporting radical calls to defund the police, Tory has also ordered the already-strained police force to focus its efforts on enforcing coronavirus restrictions and gathering limits.