The OIPRD’s Early Resolution (ER) program provides an opportunity for complainants and respondent officers to voluntarily resolve complaints before they are formally screened under the Police Services Act.
ER is a voluntary, confidential process where the parties exchange perspectives to understand what happened, discuss their concerns and take an active part in resolving the issues. ER is an option for less serious complaints. Examples may include:
Following the intake process, the matter will proceed to screening. During the screening process, the OIPRD reviews a complaint to determine whether it is suitable for ER. If so, the complainant, the respondent officer and the affected police service or board are offered the option of resolving the complaint through ER. The complainant, the respondent officer and the police service/board must all agree to attempt ER. If ER is successful, then the matter will be closed. If it is not successful, then the screening process will continue.
If all parties agree to ER, an experienced facilitator (usually a member of a police service’s professional standards branch or a senior officer designated by the police chief or OPP Commissioner) will help the complainant and the respondent officer resolve the matter.
In most ER matters, the professional standards officer facilitates a meeting and a discussion between the complainant and the respondent officer. The meeting may take place at the police station or at another mutually acceptable location. Consideration is given to any perceived power imbalance and accommodations are made for the complainant’s preferences when possible.
ER may also be achieved with the assistance of a mediator.
If an in-person meeting is not possible, or if the complainant prefers not to meet in person, a telephone discussion may take place.
In some cases, the facilitator may have separate discussions with the complainant and respondent officer. The facilitator then informs both the respondent officer and the complainant of the opinions and perspective of the other party and attempts to achieve a common understanding or mutually satisfying resolution. This type of “shuttle” discussion can only happen with the consent of both parties.
If a complaint is successfully resolved by ER, the parties sign a resolution agreement, which is reviewed by the OIPRD.
If ER is unsuccessful, the complaint will be screened in for an investigation, or screened out.
The Early Resolution process is expected to take less than 45 days.