The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC or “Commission”) has a diverse mandate consisting primarily of hearing appeals of police disciplinary matters. Under the Police Services Act, the Commission also has the authority to accept and adjudicate a number of different appeals and applications.
This page provides an overview of the most common types of appeals, applications and hearings at the OCPC. For more detailed information on the OCPC’s powers, refer to the Police Services Act. To see OCPC’s Rules of Practice click here.
The Disciplinary Hearing
Public complaints made to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD) that are determined to be serious may proceed to a disciplinary hearing. Complaints made to the chief of police or the Commissioner of the OPP may also proceed to a disciplinary hearing. For more information on the OIPRD, please visit its website.
Disciplinary Hearing Decision
Under the Police Services Act, disciplinary hearings are conducted by the police services. The outcome of the hearing is decided by a hearing officer. A hearing officer is designated by the chief of police or Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner, who is also responsible for discipline.
At a disciplinary hearing, the hearing officer must decide whether the allegations of misconduct have been proven on clear and convincing evidence.
OCPC Appeal Process
A respondent officer and a complainant may appeal a hearing officer’s decision to the OCPC within 30 days of receiving the decision.
Appeal of a Hearing Officer’s Decision (Conviction/Acquittal)
The public complainant whose complaint led to the disciplinary hearing and the police officer who is the subject of a complaint may appeal a hearing officer’s decision. To do so, they must submit to the Commission a completed Notice of Appeal form, a copy of the hearing officer’s decision and proof that the transcript from the disciplinary hearing has been ordered. They must also provide these documents to any parties who are entitled to notice of the appeal. This will typically be the police officer/public complainant, the prosecutor from the disciplinary hearing, the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and in some cases, the OIPRD. The appellant must also provide an Affidavit of Service to the OCPC that proves they have provided the appeal documents to the other parties. Alternatively, the appellant may provide a letter to the OCPC stating who has been served, what documents have been served, and the method and date of service. For more information, see Rule 33.
Appeal of a Penalty Decision
The public complainant who initiated the complaint that led to a disciplinary hearing requires permission or ‘leave’ from the OCPC to appeal a penalty decision. To obtain permission, the public complainant must submit to the OCPC a Request for Leave to Appeal a Disciplinary Penalty form along with a copy of the hearing officer’s penalty decision. The documents must also be provided to the other parties involved at the disciplinary hearing. Click here to access this form. For more information, see Rule 32.
The OCPC may direct the parties to participate in a pre-hearing conference. The purpose of a pre-hearing conference is to deal with procedural matters, exchange information, and if possible, settle any relevant issues. Refer to Rule 14 for more information.
Motions allow the parties to ask the Commission to make procedural decisions related to the case. A party may bring a motion at a hearing or before a hearing. If a motion is brought before the hearing, the Commission will schedule a date to hear the motion. The Commission may deal with a motion in writing or by any other means and may provide further directions on next steps. For more information, refer to Rule 15.0.
A request to adjourn (change a scheduled date) a motion, pre-hearing conference or hearing must be made to the Commission in writing. The request must also be provided to the other parties involved in the proceeding. To access the adjournment request form, please click here. Refer to Rule 16 for more information.
Abolition or Reduction of a Police Force
The OCPC’s consent is required when a municipal police services board or municipality seeks to terminate the employment of police officers for the purposes of abolishing or reducing the size of an existing municipal police force.
The process is initiated once an application or submission is received from a municipal police services board or municipality. The OCPC reviews the information in the application in a timely manner to ensure that it meets the criteria set out in section 40 of the Police Services Act. If there are any concerns with the application, the OCPC will make further enquiries of the municipal police services board or municipality.
The OCPC has the responsibility to ensure that the abolition of an existing police force does not otherwise contravene the Police Services Act.