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Implementation of Human Rights Settlement: OHRC letter to the Ottawa Police Services Board

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May 16, 2017

Councillor Eli El-Chantiry
Ottawa Police Services Board
110 Laurier Avenue W
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1

Dear Councillor El-Chantiry,

Re: Phase III Gender Project – Implementation of Human Rights Settlement

Today the Ottawa Police Services Board is receiving the results of Phase III of the Ottawa Police Services Gender Project.  As you know, the project arises out of a settlement reached with the Ontario Human Rights Commission (Commission) in a human rights case filed by a female Ottawa Police Services (OPS) officer. 

The Commission has received a presentation of the Phase III results from representatives of the OPS.  The Commission commends the OPS for its efforts to date in implementing the terms of the settlement.  In the steps taken so far, the OPS has demonstrated a sincere commitment to improving gender equality and has recognized the significant benefits to an organization of an equitable work environment.

The OPS is to be noted for its leadership in recognizing the importance of collecting workforce demographic data and surveying its membership to better understand the impact of workplace culture on equality.  It will be very important to continue to collect and analyze this data.  This will allow the OPS to measure whether changes to polices, practices, procedures and culture are having the desired impact of improving representation of female officers at all levels and ranks.

The Commission also recognizes the OPS for its clear acknowledgement that many equality barriers arise due to organizational culture and that simply amending policies and procedures will not work without sustained efforts to address culture.  The Commission looks forward to learning more about measures that the OPS undertakes to shift organizational culture and their impact on fulfilling the vision of equity, diversity and inclusion described in the OPS’ new commitment statement.

I understand that the OPS has already begun the work for the next phase of the settlement.  The Commission looks forward to continuing to monitor and support the OPS’ compliance with the remaining settlement terms, and ultimately its progress towards the goal of gender equality.

Renu Mandhane, B.A., J.D., LL.M.
Chief Commissioner

cc: Hon. Yasir Naqvi, Attorney General of Ontario
OHRC Commissioners