Police oversight review report will be shared with public in April

An 11-month-long review of civilian oversight of police in Ontario has now wrapped up public consultations and a report will be delivered to Ontario's attorney general later this week. 

Once they're delivered to Attorney General Yasir Naqvi, the report and recommendations of the independent police oversight review is expected to be made public in April, according to Justice Michael H. Tulloch.

Following the public release, Tulloch will make presentations to stakeholders from some cities that participated in the consultation process. Those stakeholders will be invited to meetings.

Launched in April 2016, the far-reaching review began after activist groups like Black Lives Matter demanded an overhaul of Ontario's Special Investigations Unit in the wake of several deadly shootings of black men in Toronto.

The review's announcement came as the attorney general's office released the provincial police watchdog's long-awaited report on its investigation into the 2015 fatal police shooting of 45-year-old Andrew Loku — which had sparked public outcry.

The SIU is a civilian oversight body established in 1990, which probes cases of death, serious injury or sexual assault involving police officers.

The review also looked at the Office of the Independent Police Review Director, which was established in 2007 and deals with public complaints about police, and the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, which was set up in the same year and adjudicates police discipline disputes and budget quarrels between police services and municipalities. 

Team examined legislation, past reports

In a March 24 letter to community members, Tulloch — who is the first black justice on Ontario's Court of Appeal — said his team "examined in detail the existing legislation, practices and processes regarding police oversight."

"As well, we have reviewed numerous past reports which led to the creation and evolution of the oversight bodies and engaged in a very extensive and unprecedented consultation process across the province," Tulloch wrote.

He called his invitation for community members to attend the upcoming presentations a "gesture of goodwill."

BLM hoping for 'complete overhaul' of SIU

Alongside 18 public consultations, the review panel met privately with police representatives, victims' families, and other stakeholders, and sought written input. ​

Janaya Khan, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Canada, said having a review process "largely motivated by the public" is important. "But we don't necessarily trust that the results will be articulating what needs to happen — which is a complete overhaul of the SIU."

The "severe lack of support" for victims and families is something Black Lives Matter hopes to see reflected in the final report, Khan added.

Following the delivery of Tulloch's report to the Attorney General at the end of March, he expects it will be made available to the public the following week.

In addition, community and policing stakeholders will be invited to meetings with Justice Tulloch in Toronto, Ottawa, Windsor, Thunder Bay, and Hamilton to discuss the results.