Ontario’s new Police Act bill has been passed but it is uncertain whether its changes will be beneficial. Increasing the power of certain oversight bodies does not necessarily increase the benefits to society when monitoring and evaluating police actions. The question still boils down to an improvement in justice to all, including the police.
Ontario’s new Police Act bill has reportedly been passed and this marks a major overhaul that has not taken place in over 25 years. What it means exactly is not clear. While certain bodies such as police chiefs, the Special Investigations Unit and the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIRPD) may have greater power, that does not necessarily translate to greater justice and fairness which must be the ultimate goal of any changes. The importance of transparency was discussed in a report by Ontario Court of Appeal Justice Michael Tulloch but it is not clear how this transparency will be improved by the new bill. Will justice be seen to be done or will the public be asked to continue to stumble in the dark while improper decisions are withheld from their evaluation?