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Public Release of Past and Future Special Investigations Unit Reports

Backgrounder

Public Release of Past and Future Special Investigations Unit Reports

Ministry of the Attorney General

The government will immediately move forward with Justice Tulloch's recommendations in his final Report of the Independent Police Oversight Review (IPOR) regarding the public release of past and future investigation reports of the Special Investigations Unit (SIU).

About SIU Director's Reports

Following the completion of an investigation by the SIU, the SIU director determines whether a charge should be laid. If a charge is laid, the SIU turns the case over to the Crown for prosecution. If a charge is not laid, the SIU currently provides a written report of the results of the investigation to the attorney general, which is typically not released to the public. In certain cases, the SIU releases a press release outlining the details of their investigation and the SIU director also sends a letter to the Chief of Police. 

Justice Tulloch's Recommendations

In the IPOR's final report, Justice Tulloch recommends that, going forward, the SIU should report to the public on every investigation. Justice Tulloch also recommends that, in any case where there is a SIU director's report, it should be posted publicly. He also provides recommendations on the elements that should and should not be included in each SIU director's report.

With respect to past SIU director's reports, Justice Tulloch recommends that the attorney general release all past reports in which a person died, subject to the privacy interests of the deceased's family. Justice Tulloch further recommends that, for all other past SIU director's reports, the attorney general should release the report in the following circumstances:

  • If it is requested by the affected person, or if the affected person is deceased, a family member of the affected person
  • If it is requested by any individual, when there is significant public interest in the incident, subject to the privacy interests of the affected person or the affected person's family.

Ontario's Commitment to Release Past and Future Reports

The government, working in close collaboration with the SIU, is committed to immediately moving ahead with the implementation of Justice Tulloch's recommendations regarding the release of past and future SIU director's reports. Ontario will adopt the following approach to deliver on this commitment.

Past SIU Director's Reports

Type of Report Process for Release

Deaths resulting from a firearm, physical altercations with police and/or use of a conducted energy weapon, as well as accidental deaths involving more extensive police interaction

  • Reports from the last ten years in this category (approximately 120 reports) will be posted online by December 2017. 
  • The remaining reports will be posted online no later than June 2018.
  • As recommended by Justice Tulloch, the release of each report is subject to the privacy interests of the deceased's family. 
  • Released reports will follow recommendation 6.9 of the IPOR report regarding the exclusion of certain information, including the names of subject officers, witness officers, affected persons, or civilian witnesses.

Investigations into serious injuries, sexual assaults, and other types of fatalities (e.g., suicide, vehicular death, accidental death with no connection to police, death due to a medical condition or drug overdose)

  • The Ministry of the Attorney General will establish a telephone hotline by May 1, 2017 to receive requests from the public for the release of all other past reports from the last ten years (approximately 3,110 reports), as set out in recommendation 6.12 of the IPOR report.
  • Released reports will follow recommendation 6.9 of the IPOR report regarding the exclusion of certain information.

Future SIU Director's Reports

SIU Report is Received Process for Release

Prior to New Police Oversight Legislation

  • As required by law, the SIU director will continue to provide written reports to the attorney general following investigations in which charges are not laid.
  • The director's reports will be prepared and provided in a format suitable for public posting.  
  • The Ministry of the Attorney General will post all SIU director's reports on its website promptly following its receipt.

Following New Police Oversight Legislation

  • The government intends to introduce legislation in fall 2017 that includes provisions mandating the public release of director's reports on the SIU's website.

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