Proposed Regulations under the proposed Ontario Special Investigations Unit Act, 2017
Bill or Act:
Bill 175, Safer Ontario Act, 2017
Summary of Proposal:
On April 6, 2017, the government publicly released the Independent Police Oversight Review (IPOR) report, authored by Justice Tulloch. The IPOR report contains 129 recommendations on ways to enhance the transparency and accountability of the province's three police oversight bodies, as well as to maximize their effectiveness and efficiency.
The government committed to introducing legislation in the fall of 2017 to strengthen the police oversight system in Ontario. On November 2, 2017, Bill 175, Safer Ontario Act, 2017, was introduced, and included three policing oversight schedules, outlining the proposed requirements for each of the police oversight bodies in Ontario.
The proposed Ontario Special Investigations Unit Act, 2017 would, if passed, continue the Special Investigations Unit as the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (OSIU). Part VII of the Police Services Act would consequently be repealed (section 40). The proposed bill would substantially implement Justice Tulloch's recommendations for the OSIU as set out in the IPOR report by enhancing its independence and expanding its mandate.
If the bill is passed, the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) would propose to bring forward a number of regulations to support implementation of the proposed changes affecting the OSIU, which may come into effect as early as Spring 2018.
Some examples of regulations that may be considered include:
• Allow for regulations to be made respecting any transitional matters necessary or advisable to carry out effectively the intent and purpose of this Act.
• Define the "Designated Authority" for Special Constables not employed by Police Services. This regulation would specify who has the duty to notify the oversight body when an incident involving a special constable occurs, and provide for delegation by other designated authorities.
• Provide a limit on the proportion of investigators that can be former officials that is consistent with Justice Tulloch's recommendations in the Independent Police Oversight Review (IPOR) report:
No more than 50% of any investigative team be former police for OSIU investigations, except where the best interests of a particular investigation require otherwise (e.g. remote community, rapid deployment of investigators required, insufficient number of qualified non-police investigators available). The OSIU would be required to explain reliance on this exception in its reporting.
We are interested in your responses to the following questions:
1. What elements of the proposed regulations impact your organization?
2. What would the definition of "Designated Authority" mean for Special Constables not employed by Police Services? For example, what level/class of position (e.g., Chief Special Constable) should be the "Designated Authority" in relation to Special Constables employed by transit authorities and campus security services?
3. What kind of recruitment process would the OSIU undertake to employ investigators who are not former police officers? What qualifications would be preferable?
January 29, 2018
Comments Due Date:
March 2, 2018
Ministry of the Attorney General
Agency and Tribunal Relations Division
720 Bay Street, 3rd Floor
Toronto, ON M7A 2S9