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Highlights of Ontarios broad changes to its policing laws

first_imgOntario has announced sweeping changes to its policing laws. Here are the highlights of the broad new legislation:— Police chiefs will have the ability to suspend officers without pay if they are in custody or charged with a serious federal offence not allegedly committed in the course of their duties.— A new oversight body called the Inspector General will be created, with the ability to investigate and audit police services.— Ontario’s ombudsman will have the power to investigate the province’s three police oversight agencies currently known as the Special Investigations Unit, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission.— The Special Investigations Unit will be renamed the Ontario Special Investigations Unit (OSIU) and will be able to investigate not just current, but also former police officers, volunteer members of police services, special constables as well as off-duty officers and members of First Nations police services, in some circumstances. Its reports would have to be publicly released.— The OSIU’s investigative mandate will be expanded beyond the current scope of civilian death, serious injury or sexual assault.— The Office of the Independent Police Review Director will be renamed the Ontario Policing Complaints Agency (OPCA) and will become the sole investigative body for public complaints against police officers.— Police officers who don’t comply with OSIU or OPCA’s investigations could be fined up to $50,000 and/or be sent to jail for up to one year.— The Ontario Civilian Police Commission will be renamed the Ontario Policing Discipline Tribunal and will adjudicate disciplinary matters, ensuring public complaints aren’t handled by the police services themselves.— Duties that can only be performed by a sworn police officer will be defined in the act’s regulations.— A new Missing Persons Act will give police new tools when searching for people when there is no evidence of a crime, including tracking cellphone records and searching homes.— The Coroners Act will be updated to require mandatory inquests when people die due to a police officer’s use of force.— First Nations police services will be able to establish their own police services boards.— Local police services boards will be created for the Ontario Provincial Police.— Members of police services boards will be required to complete more training, including on diversity.— A new Forensic Laboratories Act will create a provincial accreditation framework for such labs.— Municipalities will be mandated to develop community safety and well-being plans, giving them a greater role in preventing the need for police intervention.— A Public Safety Institute will be created to conduct research and help inform the delivery of police services.last_img read more