Ontario Receives Ombudsman's Report On Special Investigations Unit
McGuinty Government Strengthening Police Oversight In Ontario
Ontario has received the Ombudsman's report on the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).
In his report, Ombudsman André Marin examines the operational effectiveness of the SIU and provides 46 recommendations directed toward the SIU, the Ministry of the Attorney General, and the Government of Ontario.
In response to the issues raised in the report, the Ministry of the Attorney General has committed to:
- Provide an additional $700,000, a 12 per cent increase, to fund eight new SIU staff, including civilian investigators and community outreach staff
- Provide one-time funding for a Mobile Investigative Centre that will allow SIU investigators to establish an independent presence at the scene of major incidents, and conduct instant, thorough, secure and video-taped interviews with witnesses
- Provide for the appointment of SIU Directors to a five-year term
- Clarify the accountability and independence of the SIU Director in a new Memorandum of Understanding between the ministry and the SIU to ensure the organization is accountable to the taxpayer but has total independence in decision-making
- Bring issues of concern identified by the SIU to the attention of other ministries on a regular basis as they arise
- Lead a discussion with justice sector partners and the public to identify ways to achieve the report's underlying objectives
- Report back to the Ombudsman every six months with the ministry's progress on implementing his recommendations.
The SIU will respond independently to the recommendations directed towards it.
A strengthened SIU and the newly developing Independent Police Review Office are evidence of Ontario's commitment to independent, civilian oversight.
- Ontario is the only jurisdiction in Canada where every serious injury or death stemming from police work is fully investigated by a completely independent civilian organization.
- The SIU investigates circumstances involving police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury, including sexual assault, or death.
- In 1997, the Honourable George Adams was appointed to review the SIU. The recommendations contained in his 1998 report helped to create the organization that exists today.
- The SIU reports to the Attorney General; however its investigations and decisions are made independent of government.
“I would like to thank the Ombudsman for his report, as well as the community groups and police organizations who shared their ideas on how to improve the system. I have confidence in the leadership and the men and women of the SIU. I also have confidence in the police officers who work hard every day to keep our streets safe.”