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investigating a Complaint


Referred - police-managed investigations

When a police service investigates a conduct complaint, the OIPRD manages and oversees that complaint. Our case management, investigations and legal services units work closely with professional standards and liaison officers, in cases where police services do not have professional standards units.
Case coordinators track the referred investigation as it progresses, and coordinate with police service liaison officers, as well as complainants, to ensure that all directions, timelines and notice requirements are met. Case coordinators also receive and review interim investigative updates from the police service and work together with our legal services unit and Director if issues arise.
If the OIPRD does not agree with the way the investigation is handled, the Director can direct the chief to deal with a complaint in a specific manner, assign the investigation to another service, take over the investigation or take or impose any action necessary.

Retained – OIPRD investigations

In some cases the Director may choose to have the OIPRD investigate a conduct complaint. Very often these cases are more complex and may involve more serious allegations. If, during the course of the investigation, the Director discovers evidence that an officer may have committed a crime, the matter will be referred to the police for further investigation.

The OIPRD does not conduct criminal investigations.

Investigation timelines

One of the functions of the OIPRD is to ensure that investigations of conduct complaints throughout Ontario are completed within 120 days once a decision is made to retain or refer for investigation. The timeline is important because the PSA requires that respondent officers be given notice of a hearing within six months of the decision to retain or refer a complaint for investigation. More complex investigations often take longer and as a result, time extensions must be requested.
The OIPRD has clear guidelines and expectations about the process of investigations. We have developed these standards to ensure that there is a consistent approach throughout Ontario.
Regardless of whether the OIPRD or the police investigates a complaint, the investigator will tell the complainant:
  • how the complaint will be investigated
  • what cooperation is required from the complainant
  • how a decision will be reached
  • what action will be taken at the end of the investigation 

Investigative reports

Investigative reports are standardized. OIPRD investigators and police investigators use the same format when reporting on conduct complaints. Investigative reports include:
  • a summary of the complaint
  • a summary of statements from those involved, including the complainant, respondent officer(s) and civilian and officer witnesses
  • references to any information referred to or relied upon
  • a description of the actual investigation
  • reference to code of conduct allegations, which is determined through investigation
  • an analysis and conclusion of whether there are reasonable grounds to substantiate misconduct under the PSA