News & Publications

G20 Systemic Review Update

06/24/2011, by: OIPRD Admin


In June of 2010, the City of Toronto hosted a summit of international leaders from 20 nations across the world, commonly known as the G20. This was the fourth meeting of the G20 leaders and was intended to be a forum to discuss international economic cooperation during the ongoing world recession. The security preparations for the summit represented the largest police operation in Canadian history. Almost 21,000 police officers and security personnel from across Canada were brought in to provide security for both the G20 and G8. Many of the G8 officers were later deployed to Toronto.

On July 22, 2010, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) announced it would be conducting a systemic review of the issues surrounding the G20. At this point the OIPRD had received nearly 275 complaints relating to events during the G20. To date the office has received a total of 357 G20 complaints. After reviewing the complaints, it became evident a pattern existed. The Director determined that a systemic review of the G20 was necessary to provide an overall review of police practices and provide recommendations for improvement.

The common themes in the complaints were allegations of unlawful searches, unlawful arrests, improper detention and issues related to the temporary holding facility (Prisoner Processing Centre) used to detain people arrested during the G20. The G20 conduct investigations will be used to inform the larger G20 systemic review. In addition to the information uncovered during the course of the investigations, the OIPRD is
gathering disclosure from numerous police services across the province and Canada and conducting systemic interviews of both police and witnesses to provide a balanced and informed opinion on the events that transpired.


The first major disclosure from Toronto Police Services was not received until October 22, 2010 – more than two months after the initial request was formally made on August 8, 2010. The RCMP received the first request for disclosure on August 31, 2010. To date the RCMP has only provided a high level overview of the decision matrix. The OPP received the initial disclosure request on March 8, 2011, and provided disclosure on March 14, 2011. The disclosure request to the OPP was late because the OIPRD was not aware of the extent of OPP involvement in the G20 and needed more information before the disclosure request could be made. The slow pace and vast amount of disclosure has been an issue for the G20 team as a whole.

In addition to police services, the OIPRD requested disclosure from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services and the Ontario Legislature. As the process continues more information is being uncovered and more disclosure requests are being made. To date, the OIPRD has received more than 14 separate G20 disclosure files from TPS, containing thousands of pages of documents and photos and hundreds of hours of video footage from CCTV cameras, on the ground cameras and cameras in the Prisoner Processing Centre. Disclosure from the OPP and the ministry included numerous hours of on the ground
video footage, audio scribe notes and hundreds of pages of planning and communications documents including emails.

Systemic Review Process

The OIPRD retained 208 complaints stemming from the G20 and grouped those complaints by geographic location of the incident. The geographic locations of incidents are:

  • Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto
  • Queen and Spadina
  • Novotel and the Esplanade
  • Allan Gardens
  • Prisoner Processing Centre

The information uncovered from the complaints has been used to inform the overall systemic review. Each complaint is still separate from the G20 systemic review and will be investigated and reported to the appropriate individuals. The Director also invited numerous community groups and police organizations to provide submissions regarding the G20. The OIPRD received 14 responses to its request.


As of the beginning of May, investigators had completed more than 450 interviews. Many interviews required travel and this added to scheduling difficulties and increased the time spent on the interviews. As civilians and officers were interviewed, the investigators uncovered information that led to further disclosure requests and more interviews. Interviews for both conduct investigations and the systemic review have taken place throughout Ontario and outside the province. Investigators and the Director have conducted interviews in Montreal, Ottawa, London, Barrie, Orillia, Hamilton, Durham, Peel, York Region and Toronto. In many instances the interviews required repeat travel to the locations. Other outside services travelled to Toronto to be interviewed. In addition to the number of interviews required, the timing and amount of disclosure has caused issues for the G20 team. The OIPRD has thousands of pages of documents, hundreds of hours of video and thousands of images. The volume has often been overwhelming and timely to sort th

Next Steps

The OIPRD will continue with the necessary interviews and will finalize reports into conduct investigations. The G20 team will continue to review the transcripts from interviews, disclosure from police and other interested parties, including complainants, and create an overall picture of the G20 from initial planning to the conclusion of the event. Once the available information has been analyzed by the G20 team, issues will be identified in relation to the large-scale incidents: Queen’s Park and the University of Toronto arrests, Queen and Spadina, Allan Gardens, Prisoner Processing Centre, Novotel and the Esplanade. General recommendations and issues will also be identified in other policing areas such as planning and communications. Once common findings have been noted, recommendations will flow from those findings. The intent of the report is to make meaningful recommendations that can be used by any police service during large protests.