Ontario Transforming Police Response and Training
Enhanced De-escalation and Use of Force Training to be Delivered Consistently across the Province
Ontario is taking steps to implement a new police response framework that will help improve interactions with both vulnerable individuals, and the general public.
The new framework, which will be established by summer 2018, will guide the development of enhanced training for police officers and ensure de-escalation techniques are central to any police response - particularly when individuals in crisis are involved. The new model will also ensure that the enhanced training is delivered consistently across the province.
Developed in partnership with experts in mental health, addictions, psychology, civil liberties, policing, and anti-racism, as well as Indigenous partners, racialized populations, and individuals with lived experience, the framework will serve as the foundation for:
- Developing new, evidence-based critical decision tools to guide police officers while performing their duties
- Designing a new training curriculum for annual police officer training and ensure consistent delivery across the province
- Transforming use of force and de-escalation training courses delivered by the Ontario Police College
- Establishing mandatory qualification requirements for trainers and competencies for police officers
This builds on the province's ongoing work to integrate de-escalation techniques into the training programs of new recruits. These actions are part of the province's plan to address the recommendations in the Ontario Ombudsman's 2016 report.
- This work supports the government’s commitment to implementing recent inquest recommendations made in response to the deaths of Reyal Jardine Douglas, Sylvia Klibingaitis, Michael Eligon, Andrew Loku, and Michael MacIsaac.
- The changes to police training are led by an Executive Advisory Committee for strategic oversight and an Expert Technical Table for technical review.
- The province has engaged academics to conduct research to identify knowledge gaps regarding de-escalation practices, review the effectiveness of police training on de-escalation, and analyze Ontario’s current use of force model.
- The new police officer training will become effective upon the proclamation of the Safer Ontario Act.
- The Ontario Police College’s current de-escalation training emphasizes communication techniques: establishing rapport, conflict resolution and mediation, and threat management.
“Police officers need to have the right supports to defuse crisis situations, and to do so as safely as possible. Our enhanced training makes de-escalation central to any police response. This new framework reinforces the importance of comprehensive education and training for new recruits and police officers that is delivered consistently across the province.”
“As someone who has been personally affected by the tragedy of a police involved death, I feel this new framework is a step in the right direction. I have confidence in the province and look forward to seeing meaningful change in police interactions with the public.”