Mediation may be proposed in situations where the parties are willing to resolve the matter with the assistance of a neutral third party. As with Informal Resolution, the complainant, the respondent officer and the police chief must all agree. This process is coordinated by the OIPRD.
If the OIPRD approves mediation, an OIPRD staff mediator or a mediation service approved and contracted by the OIPRD will be engaged to determine whether the case can be mediated. If the complaint cannot be mediated, it will be returned to the police service or the OIPRD for investigation.
If it is determined that the case can be mediated, the mediation will be conducted. If the mediation is successful the parties will sign an agreement, which must be approved by the Director. There is no cooling off period. The complaint case will then be closed as “Informal Resolution via Mediation.”
A decision not to participate in mediation will have no impact on a complainant’s or respondent officer’s rights in the complaints process.
The Enhanced Mediation Program (EMP) is a one-year pilot until December 31, 2017, project developed to proactively encourage (in a more systematic manner) Informal Resolution via Mediation for screened-in complaints of a less serious nature, before the start of the investigation process.
In this program, the OIPRD will determine whether a complaint is suitable for Informal Resolution via Mediation and make a recommendation to the parties to attempt to resolve the complaint informally via mediation. Participation is voluntary and all parties must consent to the process. The complainant will have five days after being contacted by the OIPRD to decide whether or not to participate in the EMP and provide reasons for choosing not to participate.
If both the complainant and responding officer agree, mediation is arranged by the OIPRD and may be conducted by an OIPRD mediator or by a mediation service contracted by the OIPRD. If a resolution is reached and approved by the Director, both parties will sign an Informal Resolution via Mediation Agreement that would be binding on the parties (no cooling off period). Any conditions to an agreement between the parties must also be met before the agreement can be approved. The complaint file will be closed as Informally Resolved via Mediation.
If either party declines to participate in EMP, or if the mediation is unsuccessful, the complaint will proceed to the investigation process.
A complaint in the EMP must be dealt with within 45 days, unless the OIPRD grants an extension.
The EMP pilot project involves the following 12 police services:
The OIPRD encourages the use of community mediation, a facilitative and transformative model of conflict resolution that best suits the goals of the OIPRD’s mediation program. It encourages individuals in conflict to share their recognition of each other’s perspectives and provides an opportunity for both the complainant and the respondent officer to learn from their interactions. Mediators are impartial and work in the interests of the parties involved in a conflict.
The OIPRD accesses mediation services on an “as required” basis by selecting a mediation service from the Ontario government vendor of record roster for each assignment. Mediation services are chosen based on location and availability to undertake the mediation quickly.