Today, the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC) released the report on its investigation into the Windsor Police Service (WPS) and Windsor Police Services Board (Board).
In 2018, the OCPC received five complaints from officers of the WPS, which raised issues about how the WPS treated them and larger systemic issues. The complaints contained allegations against the WPS senior leadership and the Board.
The OCPC investigated the following issues raised in the complaints:
- Whether the promotional processes, particularly to administration rank positions, are fair and transparent and whether the Board exercises appropriate oversight of those promotional processes;
- Whether the hiring processes relating to the potential hiring of relatives are fair and transparent;
- Whether the Board is appropriately informed about administration issues relating to its mandate, including the promotional processes involving candidates for senior administration;
- Whether there has been improper interference in specific legal proceedings and whether any such interference has been initiated, encouraged, and/or sustained by the current administration of the WPS and/or the Board;
- Whether a poisoned work environment has been created, encouraged, and/or sustained by the current administration of the WPS in relation to workplace policies and/or accommodation requests;
- Whether the WPS has fair and transparent processes to address workplace harassment and human rights complaints; and
- Whether the Board is fulfilling its statutory oversight role in relation to items five and six.
The OCPC made 37 recommendations on a wide range of topics, including:
- The need for policies or procedures that provide direction on whether and when an investigation should be done externally or internally.
- The need for enhancements to existing policies and directives respecting how investigations concerning the Chief or Deputy Chiefs should be done and by whom, together with development of a communications strategy around such investigations.
- The need for a comprehensive examination of competencies for promotion, as police services move from more traditional, paramilitary models to community-based policing.
- The need for the Board and WPS to create a new strategic plan, with outside expert assistance, for redressing the underrepresentation of female sworn officers within the WPS. This should be a high priority.
- This strategic plan must form part of a larger conversation about the role of women in the WPS.
- The need for additional proactive measures to address equity within the WPS, as well as its racial diversity.
- The need for additional measures identified in the report to make the WPS Tactical Team fully inclusive.
- The need to modify the selection process for the Chief and Deputy Chiefs to ensure that the Board is fully aware of potential issues, and that there is greater transparency around the process.
- The need to develop a new Accommodation Directive and a new Workplace Harassment Directive to address existing flaws, together with regular reporting to the WPS senior leadership and the Board on accommodation and workplace harassment. The report introduces additional measures to address any lack of confidence in the WPS processes for handling workplace harassment.
- The need for heightened oversight by the Board on areas identified in the report.
- The need for measures set out in the report to accurately assess the views of the WPS employees and promote morale. These include development of a robust communications strategy involving senior leadership and WPS officers, true training for supervisors on how to be supervisors and an up-to-date professionally designed anonymous survey of WPS officers.
The OCPC investigation is meant to serve the public interest by ensuring that the WPS and the Board are meeting their obligations. The investigation focused primarily on systemic issues, while identifying initiatives already undertaken by the WPS or the Board.
- The OCPC is an independent, quasi-judicial agency.
- The OCPC has a broad mandate, including ensuring that police service boards are providing sufficient oversight of police services in a manner that ensures adequate and effective police services in the community and that maintains public confidence in the delivery of policing.
- The Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) is an independent, arms-length agency that works to identify and offer solutions to systemic or ongoing issues within police services and is responsible for performing audits to ensure the complaints system is being administered effectively. It is also responsible for administering public complaints about police in Ontario.
- Windsor Police Service and Windsor Police Services Board – Final Report
- Ontario Civilian Police Commission
- Office of the Independent Police Review Director