Ontario Civilian Police Commission Appoints Malcolm Mercer to Oversee Thunder Bay Police Services Board

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Thunder Bay – NEWS -UPDATED – Effective April 19, 2022, the Ontario Civilian Police Commission has issued an interim Order to appoint Mr. Malcolm Mercer as Administrator to the Thunder Bay Police Service Board (TBPSB) for a period of six months. The term may be extended if necessary.

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) has done this because the Commission has concerns about the Thunder Bay Police Service Board’s oversight of the Thunder Bay Police Service, and the delivery of police services to the community.

The Administrator’s role is to restore proper governance, to ensure that the TBPSB is providing sufficient oversight of police services in Thunder Bay, and to re-establish public confidence in the TBPSB and Thunder Bay Police Services’ ability to deliver adequate and effective policing services in the community.

Malcolm Mercer was called to the bar in 1984 and has held several prominent leadership positions in Ontario’s legal community. He is currently the Chair of the Law Society Tribunal. Mr. Mercer was the former Treasurer of the Law Society of Ontario, a past Chair of the Ethics and Professional Responsibility Committee of the Canadian Bar Association, and general counsel and litigation partner at McCarthy Tétrault LLP. His distinguished career in the justice system with a focus in legal ethics, public law, and governance, will be an asset as the Administrator.

The OCPC is an independent, quasi-judicial agency. The OCPC hears appeals, adjudicates applications, conducts investigations and resolves disputes regarding the oversight and provision of policing services. The OCPC’s powers and duties come from the Police Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.15. and in particular sections 22 & 25 of the PSA.

This process started on February 11, 2022. The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) at that time said that it had concerns about the Thunder Bay Police Service’s (TBPS) management of discipline in the police service, the conduct of criminal investigations by its officers, and the ability of senior leadership to administer the day-to-day operations of the police service in good faith and in compliance with the Police Services Act (PSA).

The OCPC’s concerns are based on the results of a preliminary review conducted into the TBPS at the request of Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and from the Thunder Bay Police Services Board.

Effective February 10, 2022, to ensure the maintenance of public confidence in the delivery of police services in Thunder Bay, the OCPC, relying on powers granted by s. 25 of the PSA, will initiate an investigation, the terms of which may be found in the attached Terms of Reference.

The OCPC is an independent, quasi-judicial agency. The OCPC hears appeals, adjudicates applications, conducts investigations and resolves disputes regarding the oversight and provision of policing services. The OCPC’s powers and duties come from the Police Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.15. and in particular sections 22 & 25 of the PSA.

This is the second time that the OCPC has appointed an Administrator to oversee the Thunder Bay Police Services Board.

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