Complaints

A new complaint process has been implemented and the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) officially opened. The OIPRD is an independent arms-length agency of the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General. The OIPRD provides an objective, impartial office to accept, process and oversee the investigation of public complaints against Ontario's police.

Complaint forms are available at the OIPRD and on their website, all Service Ontario locations, all police stations and in many community centres and legal clinics.

Complaints must be filed within six months of when the incident took place. The Director may decide to deal with a complaint after six months and will consider:

  • If the complainant is a minor or is under a disability
  • If the complainant is subject to a criminal proceedings
  • Whether it is in the best interest of the public to proceed with an investigation.

Complaints Made at a Police Station

Unlike the previous Part V of the Police Services Act, which stipulated complaints had to be made at the police service named in the complaint, complainants will now be able to file their complaint at any police station in Ontario.

All police services must ensure that complaint forms and OIPRD brochures are displayed and available to the general public.
Where a complaint is received at a police station, the police service must forward the completed complaint form to the OIPRD electronically or by fax within three business days, with the original to follow by mail or courier.

The officer receiving the complaint will process it in confidence and will not release information that would cause the respondent or witness officers to receive notification of the complaint.

Where a complaint has been received at a police station, and after reviewing the complaint, the Chief of Police or designate feels that s/he may be able to resolve the matter through an appropriate Local Resolution, they may do so with the consent of the complainant, Chief of Police and respondent officer.

Complaints against Chiefs and Deputy Chiefs cannot be resolved through local resolution.

Local Resolution

Local Resolution involves complaints that are not part of the public complaints system and are called Local Complaints.

Local Resolution is when you choose to go directly to the police service in question with your complaint and come to an agreement about how to resolve your complaint.

The complaint may be dealt with at the police station by an officer in authority who is designated by the Chief of Police. Local Resolution allows the police to solve, explain, clear up or settle a minor complaint directly with the complainant. Where a matter has been resolved by Local Resolution it is not considered to be a complaint. You must be told about the OIPRD and agree to participate in Local Resolution instead of filing a complaint with the OIPRD.

The only matters eligible for Local Resolution are matters dealing with:

  • Personal property, other than money or a firearm
  • Failure to treat or protect a person equally
  • The use of profane language
  • Contraventions of the Act or regulations
  • Acting in a disorderly manner
  • Neglect of duty
  • Failure to work in accordance with orders
  • Failure to report a matter
  • Omitting to make any necessary entry in a record
  • Improper dress or appearance
  • Conspiring and abetting the misconduct listed above.

There are different ways of dealing with a complaint using Local Resolution. These may include:

  • Immediate resolution by providing information face-to-face
  • A letter from the police concluding the Local Resolution and explaining what has been done
  • Individual communication between the complainant and the respondent officer(s), organized through the person dealing with the Local Resolution
  • Creating an opportunity for a face-to-face meeting between the officer, the complainant and the person facilitating the resolution process. The respondent officer(s) will need to agree to a face-to-face meeting taking place.
  • With the consent of the complainant, Chief, respondent officer and the Independent Police Review Director, refer the matter to an alternative dispute resolution process.

The issue must be resolved within 30 days of the initial filing of the complaint. If the police are unable to resolve the complaint within 30 days, it must be forwarded to the OIPRD to be dealt with as a formal complaint.

For further information on the new process, you may contact the OIPRD using the following:

Website: www.oiprd.on.ca 

Toll-free phone: 1-877-411-4773
Local phone: 416-246-7071
TTY: 1-877-414-4773
Toll-free fax: 1-877-415-4773
Local fax: 416-327-8332

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