TORONTO – The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) welcomes its new Independent Police Review Director (IPRD), Stephen Leach, effective January 31, 2020. Mr. Leach is responsible for receiving, managing and overseeing all public complaints about police in Ontario.
Mr. Leach brings a wealth of Canadian and international legal experience. He studied law at the University of Alberta and received his MBA from the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario.
Before his appointment as the new Director, Mr. Leach was a private practice lawyer in criminal and civil law in Ontario and Alberta. Recently, he spent several years working as an international consultant in Tunisia, Istanbul, Indonesia, Lebanon and Iraq. His work included strategic planning and the implementation of programs preventing violent extremism, and anti-corruption.
From 2009 to 2016, Mr. Leach was the President/CEO of the Canadian International Trade Tribunal, where he restructured the tribunal, increased productivity by 40 per cent, reduced expenditures by 20 per cent, and implemented a governance structure with a focus on stakeholder relations. Prior to that, Mr. Leach was an adjudicator at the Ontario Criminal Injuries Compensation Board from 2003 to 2006, where he listened to victims’ stories and trained other adjudicators on the principles of administrative and criminal law, effective legal drafting and the importance of access to justice.
Mr. Leach succeeds Sylvana Capogreco, who served as the interim Independent Police Review Director from April 1, 2019, to January 30, 2020. Prior to her appointment, she was senior counsel and then the Deputy Director of the OIPRD.
As the interim Director, Ms. Capogreco restructured OIPRD processes to reduce Request for Review timelines, streamlined the complaints intake process and led the consultations and drafting of the one-year report on the Thunder Bay Police Service’s implementation of the recommendations from the OIPRD systemic review, Broken Trust: Indigenous People and the Thunder Bay Police Service.
Under the leadership of Mr. Leach, the OIPRD will continue to prepare for the transition to the Law Enforcement Complaints Agency (LECA) under the Community Safety and Policing Act. Over the coming months the OIPRD will review processes to find opportunities to improve the public oversight system, reduce timelines, increase public awareness and continue to build trust between the public and police.