Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act would fix broken Bill 175, restore fairness
and accountability to police oversight
London, February 19, 2019 – Ontario police officers and the families in Elgin-Middlesex-London
who depend on them will finally be able to count on a fair and transparent police
oversight process that will always put public safety first. Today, Ontario's Government
for the People will introduce new legislation, the Comprehensive Ontario Police
Services Act, 2019. If passed, this legislation will finally fix the previous government's
Bill 175, which treated police with suspicion while making it increasingly difficult
for them to do their jobs.
"Every day our police in Elgin-Middlesex-London come to work with a simple goal:
to keep our families safe," said MPP Jeff Yurek. "While we don't always hear their
success celebrated on the news, we take great comfort knowing the police are responding
to emergencies and preventing crime. Some times this work entails risk, and it certainly
involves difficult decisions. But we rely on the police to keep us safe. Now they
can rely on their government to have their back."
The Act would streamline the SIU investigation process, which would have persisted
under the previous Bill 175 and forced many police officers to labour under months-
or years-long investigations even in cases where they had no contact with an individual.
"Bill 175 was the most anti-police piece of legislation in Canadian history," said
Sylvia Jones, Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services. "It was a
disaster. It actively undermined policing efforts. And it undermined public confidence
and trust in the work police do."
If passed, the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act will enhance police oversight
in Ontario by creating one window for public complaints, reducing delays in the
investigation process, and ensuring more accountability.
"When we were elected one of our first orders of business was to pause implementation
of Bill 175, so that we could fix it in a way that continues to ensure oversight
– but does so in a way that is balanced, respectful and fair," said Attorney General
Caroline Mulroney. "Our legislation, if passed, will focus investigative resources
where they are needed, on criminal activity, within a police oversight system that
will ultimately help build safer communities on a shared foundation of restored
trust and accountability."
By treating police fairly, the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act will ensure
the police, the government, and the people of Ontario remain partners in creating
a more secure province.
"Not every example of police courage and service is as high profile as the response
to the North York van attack or the Danforth shooting. What those officers have
in common with the everyday heroes who serve and protect us is that they deserve
our gratitude and respect - not our suspicion and scorn," said Jones. "That's why
our government for the people is providing police with the tools, resources and
support they need to keep our communities safe, stand up for victims and hold offenders
accountable for their crimes."
What The Policing Community Is Saying
"The work OPPA members do every day keeps the people of our province safe. Unfortunately,
challenges in the current legislation make it more difficult for the police to do
their jobs. The changes proposed by the government today intend to empower police
across Ontario to ensure community safety. We look forward to reviewing details
of the Bill and participating in the legislative process." Rob Jamieson, President
and CEO, Ontario Provincial Police Association
"Over the past three years, the Police Association of Ontario (PAO) has been focused
on advocating for the thoughtful modernization of the Police Services Act with both
the former and current provincial governments. The PAO has maintained that Ontario's
front-line sworn and civilian police personnel require the appropriate tools and
adequate funding to keep our communities safe, and we have remained clear that we
support effective oversight, accountability, and transparency to build the public's
trust in our profession. Ontario's front-line police personnel welcome today's announcement
by the Ontario Government and are hopeful that this new Comprehensive Ontario Police
Services Act will serve to restore fairness and respect for professional policing,
make oversight more effective, and improve governance, training, and transparency.
The PAO is committed to working with the provincial government to ensure Ontario
continues to be a safe place to live, work, and visit." Bruce Chapman, President,
Police Association of Ontario
"The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police has long advocated for significant
changes to the Police Services Act in order to assist us in the efficient and effective
management of police services that enhance public and officer safety. We believe
there are items in this new legislation that are welcome and look forward to continuing
to work with the government and stakeholders, knowing that community safety is our
absolute priority." Kimberley Greenwood, President, Ontario Association of Chiefs
of Police and Chief, Barrie Police Service
"By mandating board training on roles, responsibilities and critical skills, the
Ontario Government's new Community Safety and Policing Act will significantly enhance
every police board's ability to make the best possible decisions about local policing
policies, strategic plans and budgets. This will directly lead to ever-improving
policing and community safety. Everyone will benefit." Phil Huck, Chair, and Fred
Kaustinen, Executive Director, Ontario Association of Police Services Boards
- The government plans to introduce a new bill entitled the Comprehensive Ontario
Police Services Act, 2019 that would create the Community Safety and Policing Act,
2019 and the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 to repeal and replace the Police
Services Act, 2018, and the Ontario Special Investigations Unit Act, 2018. The bill
would also repeal the Policing Oversight Act, 2018, and the Ontario Policing Discipline
Tribunal Act, 2018.
- First Nations policing provisions laid out in the Police Services Act, 2018, would
be adopted providing First Nations communities with greater choice in how their
policing services are delivered.
- The amendments to the Police Services Act (1990) - the legislation currently in
force - that add new community safety and well-being planning provisions and came
into force on Jan. 1, 2019, would continue to be in force with a new provision requiring
the participation of the local police service in the development of the plan.
- The Missing Persons Act, 2018, and Forensic Laboratories Act, 2018, and the majority
of the previous amendments to the Coroners Act would remain as passed in the Safer
Ontario Act, 2018.
- The new police oversight legislation would respond to Justice Tulloch's recommendations
in the Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review.
- On February 13th, Minister Jones recommended Constable Volodymyr Zvezd'Onkin (54
Division) and Constable Hongfei Zhou (54 Division) for the Ontario Medal of Police
Bravery for their courage in stopping the Danforth Shooter. The two officers had
previously been subject to a 6 month investigation by the SIU.