May 19, 2017
Hon. Yasir Naqvi
McMurtry-Scott Building, 11th Floor
720 Bay Street
Toronto, ON M7A 2S9
Independent Police Review Director
655 Bay Street, 10th Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2T4
Special Investigations Unit
5090 Commerce Boulevard
Mississauga, ON L4W 5M4
Dear Minister Naqvi and Directors McNeilly and Loparco:
Re: Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review
I hope this finds all of you well. The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) welcomes the Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review submitted to the Ministry of the Attorney General by the Honourable Justice Michael H. Tulloch (the Report).
We are writing today to urge the Government of Ontario to implement all of Justice Tulloch’s recommendations. Implementation of all the recommendations contained in the Report would be a significant step forward in terms of rebuilding public trust in law enforcement and, ultimately, increasing public safety. A piece-meal approach, on the other hand, is unlikely to be as effective.
We are also calling upon the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) and Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) to take immediate steps to implement those recommendations that do not require legislative change or significant additional resources. Proactive steps, in the absence of legislation, would demonstrate to the public that the SIU and OIPRD are committed to addressing long-standing community concerns and, most importantly, prioritizing a shift in their institutional culture by acknowledging and addressing systemic discrimination and the intergenerational impact of colonialism.
To this end, the OHRC urges both the SIU and OIPRD to:
- Develop and deliver mandatory social and cultural competency programs for their staff, in partnership with Indigenous and other community organizations (Recommendations 4.3 and 10.1)
- Implement ongoing recruitment and development of people from communities under-represented within the OIPRD and SIU (Recommendations 4.4 and 10.3)
- Form meaningful and equitable partnerships with Indigenous organizations (Recommendation 10.2)
- On an on-going basis, recruit civilian investigators with relevant experience who are not former police officers (Recommendations 4.14 and 4.16)
- Incorporate anti-bias measures into recruitment, training, education and evaluation of investigators (Recommendation 4.17)
- Implement a culturally-competent approach to service delivery, and develop an ongoing audit process to assess the implementation and effectiveness of cultural competency and institutional change (Recommendations 10.4 and 10.5)
- Collect demographic data on matters falling within their mandates and consult with an advisory committee on best practices on the collection, management and analysis of relevant demographic data (Recommendations 11.1 and 11.2)
In addition, the OHRC urges the OIPRD to:
- Make the complaint process easily accessible to all members of the public wherever they reside in Ontario (Recommendation 7.3)
- Provide assistance to complainants to help navigate the complaints process (Recommendation 7.4)
- Track complaints to identify officers who are the subject of multiple complaints and complainants who file multiple complaints without merit (Recommendation 7.19)
- Make its decisions transparent to complainants, subject officers and police chiefs of the services to which the complaint relates (Recommendation 7.33)
- Collect and publish summary information on the outcomes of all public complaints (Recommendation 7.34)
- Work towards performance metrics, reportable to the public, to ensure timely completion of its work (Recommendation 7.35)
- Monitor complaints and publish the results of disciplinary charges, including the outcomes and penalties imposed (Recommendation 7.39)
Similarly, the OHRC urges the SIU to:
- Establish a greater than 50 percent staff complement of non-forensic investigators on investigative teams with no background in policing (Recommendation 4.15)
- Release the name of the subject officer, at the end of an investigation, if the officer is charged (Recommendation 6.1)
- Report in summary the reasons for its decisions to withdraw or to not invoke its mandate in cases where the it is notified (Recommendation 6.5)
- Release the following information for cases that result in a criminal charge (Recommendation 6.6):
- The officer’s name
- The offence charged and when charged
- Details about the officer’s next court appearance
- Release the director’s report for cases that do not result in a criminal charge (Recommendation 6.7)
- The report should include (Recommendation 6.8):
- An explanation why the incident falls under its mandate
- A summary of the investigation process
- A summary of the relevant evidence considered
- Any relevant video, audio, or photographic evidence of the incident, modified to the extent necessary to remove identifying information. An explanation should be provided if any of this evidence is not included in the report
- A detailed narrative of the event
- The reasons for the director’s decision
- A statement on whether the matter has been referred to the OIPRD as well as whether there were any issues with cooperation relating to the investigation
- The report should include (Recommendation 6.8):
- Publish the director’s report online for cases that do not result in a criminal charge. Copies should be provided to (i) the affected person or their next of kin, (ii) any subject officer, (iii) the chief of any involved police service, and (iv) the Attorney General (Recommendation 6.10)
- Deliver a copy of its investigative report, at the conclusion of its case, to the OIPRD on request, subject to any privacy and confidentiality conditions (Recommendation 9.2)
To restore public trust, we encourage the OIPRD and SIU to immediately and publicly commit to a coordinated time-bound implementation plan to substantively address these recommendations.
For nearly two decades, the OHRC has raised concerns about systemic discrimination in policing, which is a lived reality for many Ontarians. There have been far too many instances of racial profiling, discriminatory use of force on people with mental health disabilities and/or addictions, racism and sexism in investigations of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and sexism in investigations of sexual assaults. The result is continued mistrust of police by many marginalized communities, including and especially among First Nations, Métis and Inuit Peoples (Indigenous peoples) and African Canadians. The time for action is now.
We would be pleased to discuss ways that the OHRC may be able to assist with the implementation of Justice Tulloch’s recommendations. We also look forward to commenting on future legislation when it is introduced.
Renu Mandhane, B.A., J.D., LL.M.
Ontario Human Rights Commission
cc: Linda Lamoureux, Executive Chair, Ontario Civilian Police Commission