Interim Report to be Released November 3rd
THUNDER BAY – The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) has serious concerns about the state of civilian police oversight and public confidence in the delivery of police services in Thunder Bay. On July 24, 2017, the OCPC announced that it launched an investigation and appointed retired Judge and current Senator, the Honourable Murray Sinclair as the independent investigator in this matter.
The ongoing investigation considers the following:
- The Thunder Bay Police Services Board’s (the “Board”) ability to address matters raised by Indigenous leaders relating to a recent series of deaths of Indigenous youth and the quality of the investigations into these deaths conducted by the Thunder Bay Police Service (the “Service”);
- Board representatives stating that the public’s concerns about systemic racism existing within the Service and the quality of the Service’s investigations are without basis; and
- The recent criminal charges that were laid against the Service’s Chief of Police, who was charged with breach of trust and obstruction of justice.
In accordance with s. 25(3) of the Police Services Act (PSA), the OCPC committed to preparing an interim report and a final report.
The interim report is complete and can be accessed here by November 3rd. The interim report has also been provided to the Board, Indigenous communities, the Service, the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and the public.
As the investigation continues, the OCPC will ensure that its work neither interferes with nor duplicates the systemic review underway by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) and any ongoing Coroner’s and police investigations. The OCPC continues to work cooperatively with other organizations carrying out related investigations where practicable.
A final report will be completed by March 31, 2018.
- The OCPC investigation is not punitive and not directed to any specific conduct issues. Ultimately, there is a public interest in ensuring that the Board is meeting its obligations.
- The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) is an independent, quasi-judicial agency. It is one of five tribunals in the Safety, Licensing Appeals and Standards Tribunals Ontario cluster.
- The OCPC has a broad mandate, including ensuring that police service boards are providing sufficient oversight of police services in a manner that ensures adequate and effective police services in the community and that maintains public confidence in the delivery of policing.
- The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) is an independent, arms-length agency that works to identify and offer solutions to systemic or ongoing issues within police services and is responsible for performing audits to ensure the complaints system is being administered effectively. It is also responsible for administering public complaints about police in Ontario.