The Ontario legislature passed The Independent Police Review Act, 2007, to create the Office of the Independent Police Review Director. The act amended the Police Services Act (PSA) and established new guidelines for public complaints. The amendments came into effect on October 19, 2009.
The act sets out the OIPRD’s mandate as well as its authority and obligations to operate the public complaints system for Ontario.
This section of the act establishes the Independent Police Review Director, the Director’s office, its functions and investigative powers.
This section of the Police Services Act establishes the OIPRD’s authority to receive, manage and oversee public complaints about the police in Ontario.
Regulations are rules that are governed by law and backed by the use of penalties. Regulations are made by the Lieutenant Governor in Council and must be followed.
The following regulations, made under the authority of the Police Services Act, further develop and clarify the legal responsibilities and powers of the Office of the Independent Police Review Director:
A member of the public may make a complaint about the conduct of a police officer, the policies of a police service or about the services provided by a police service at a police station and have the complaint dealt with by an officer designated by the police chief. This is called a local complaint and is not part of the formal complaint process under Part V of the PSA. This process may be used for less serious complaints that can be dealt with easily at the local level.
Local Resolution allows the police to discuss, solve, explain or settle a matter directly with the complainant, or to facilitate a discussion or other communication between the complainant and the involved police officer. Police must inform the complainant about the formal OIPRD process and the complainant and the involved officer are required to agree to the final resolution and sign a form indicating that the complaint was resolved. The complaint must be resolved within 30 days of filing the complaint. If the complaint is too complex to be resolved in 30 days, or if the police service determines that the matter isn’t appropriate for a local resolution, the police must forward the complaint to the OIPRD.
If the complainant and the involved police officer cannot come to a resolution, the complainant may file a formal complaint with the OIPRD, otherwise the matter is deemed to be a local inquiry and no further steps are taken. Police chiefs are required to provide the OIPRD with signed copies of Local Resolution forms within seven days of completion and to report the number of local inquiries on a quarterly basis.
This section of the regulation lays out the Code of Conduct that all sworn police officers in Ontario are required to follow.
Any officer or chief of police commits misconduct if he or she engages in:
This regulation describes the limitations and duties of police officers when collecting identifying information (also known as “carding” or “street checks”).
The regulation applies if a police officer asks a person for identifying information or to see an identifying document while:
During these interactions officers must inform the person of their right to not provide identifying information and provide a reason for requesting identifying information. The reason cannot be:
Officers must keep detailed records of each interaction and offer the person a document that includes the officer’s name and badge number and information on how to contact the OIPRD if they have concerns about the interaction.
The regulation does not apply if a police officer asks for identifying information or to see an identifying document while:
If an officer collects information contrary to this regulation, his or her actions could be considered a breach of the Code of Conduct (unlawful or unnecessary exercise of authority).
Police service boards and the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services (for the OPP) must ensure policies are in place in relation to this regulation, including access to data, data retention and disclosure of collected information. Police chiefs and the Commissioner must ensure that procedures consistent with the regulation are in place and, among other things, provide annual reports to the board (or MCSCS for the OPP) that include information in relation to attempted collections of identifying information.
For more information about street checks, please visit Ontario street checks.
** Rules Change**
Please be advised that Rule 17 of the OIPRD Rules Procedure is revoked effective June 14, 2021.
In addition to the Police Services Act and Regulations, the OIPRD has created a set of Rules of Procedure to help in the fair and effective day-to-day running of the public complaint system.
001 – Guideline for Reviewing Complaints
002 – Guideline for Retaining/Referring Complaints
003 – Guideline for Publishing Notification Letters
005 – Guideline for Publishing Disciplinary Hearing Decision