Review of police oversight recommends transparency and accountability

Apr 6 2017, 7:03 pm

The Government of Ontario says it will immediately begin building a more transparent and accountable police oversight system after the release of the Independent Police Oversight Review today.

Led by Ontario Court of Appeal judge Michael Tulloch, the independent review’s final report includes 129 recommendations to help the government transform police oversight so it is more transparent and accountable, and has the confidence of both the public and the police.

The three police oversight bodies in Ontario include: the Special Investigations Unit, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.

In response to the report, the SIU’s director Tony Loparco thanked Tulloch and welcomed the report.

“The Special Investigations Unit welcomes today’s report for its contribution to the process of strengthening Ontario’s system of civilian oversight,” said Loparco in a statement. But the director said the agency had only seen the report at 11:30 am, therefore needed more time to make further comments.

“The SIU will need some time to fully and carefully consider the contents of the report before making any further comment. That being said, I am committing the SIU to take the steps required to implement the recommendations that may be legislated, with the increased resources Mr. Justice Tulloch has deemed necessary to conduct civilian oversight properly,” he said.

According to the province, Ontario plans to begin working on these actions immediately:

  • Releasing all past Special Investigations Unit (SIU) reports on more extensive police interactions resulting in death, while giving affected family members the opportunity to object
  • Establishing a process to make all future SIU reports publicly available
  • Enabling government with the authority to mandate the collection of race-based data, including for the police oversight bodies, by supporting the proposed Anti-Racism Act, and Ontario’s strategic plan to combat systemic racism
  • Introducing legislation in the fall that would enhance the independence of Ontario’s police oversight system by removing police oversight bodies from the Police Services Act to create stand-alone legislation, among other comprehensive reforms
  • Working with police oversight bodies to increase cultural competency through staff training and targeted recruitment, including Indigenous cultural competence.

Throughout the fall, the Independent Police Oversight Review held 17 public meetings and 130 private stakeholder meetings in communities across the province, with over 1,500 people consulted.

“I believe this report strikes the appropriate balance between all stakeholders and provides a clear path to strengthening the civilian oversight system that everyone can support,” said Tulloch in a statement.

By December, 120 SIU reports will be made available to the public, according to the province. Meanwhile, Tulloch’s report is available for public comment until May 20, 2017.

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