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Standing together to make a difference

This Week From Queen’s Park – June 26, 2020

  • The OACP issued a statement on June 22 on the recent desecration of the Ontario Police Memorial.
  • The OACP has written the Attorney General of Ontario outlining concerns regarding the Special Investigation Unit’s lack of expediency and communication with communities. We have long urged the SIU to help us meet the expectations of communities when it comes to SIU investigations.
  • The OACP has also urged the Government of Ontario to partner with police leaders to drive real changes in policing rather than listen to calls to “defund” police. Police have long argued that our police personnel should not be the first option on issues such as mental health incidents.  Unfortunately, police have been left to fill in the gaps created by government underfunding and even defunding social and health services.
  • The Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP) Board of Directors met on June 16 and discussed a proposal by the Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) to consider the resolution of lower level impaired driving charges in relation to COVID-19. The COVID-19 pandemic has placed a significant strain on Ontario’s criminal justice system.
  • The Ministry of the Attorney General has shared information regarding the Court of Appeal’s recent decision in R. v Pascal and how the disclosure of criminal records and outstanding charges laid by the investigating police service against Crown witnesses are to be dealt with under the disclosure Memorandum of Understanding. Pascal is a sexual assault case involving a witness who gave two statements, one several days after the allegations and one the morning she was to testify. The Crown is seeking leave to appeal from this decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. Please contact jcouto@oacp.ca if you would like the memo or connect with your local Crown office if you have specific questions related to the case.
  • Further to All Chiefs Memo 19-0093 issued on December 19, 2019, regarding the Provincial Animal Welfare Services Act, 2019 (PAWS Act), the Ministry of the Solicitor General issued clarification on June 19, 2020 regarding enforcement of the PAWS Act. Effective January 1, 2020, the PAWS Act came into force creating a new provincial animal welfare enforcement model. The Ministry of the Solicitor General established the Animal Welfare Services (AWS) branch, with a Chief Animal Welfare Inspector who has in turn appointed animal welfare inspectors across the province. As you know, the Ontario Animal Protection Call Centre, which is available 24/7 to respond to public calls regarding animals in distress or being abused, triages calls to the appropriate authority including provincial animal welfare inspectors or local police. Police officers and First Nations Constables have authority under section 60 of the PAWS Act to exercise the powers of an animal welfare inspector in relation to animals in distress and the investigation of offences. For more information, contact Georgios Fthenos, Deputy Chief Inspector, Animal Welfare Services at georgios.fthenos@ontario.ca.
  • Information and Privacy Commissioner Brian Beamish has issued his final Annual Report as Commissioner. In the Report, the Commissioner highlights his officer’s collaboration in developing a, “made-in-Ontario model for the review of sexual violence cases. The model uses a privacy-protective, collaborative approach, bringing in community advocates and outside experts to take a second look at cases that were reported to police and then closed without charge.” The model was endorsed by the OACP and CACP for use by police services across the country.
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