Is there a limitation period for police misconduct proceedings in Ontario?
- Kate Mitchell
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The Ontario Independent Police Review Director (“OIPRD”) has discretion not to consider a complaint made by a member of the public made more than 6 months after the facts on which it is based occurred. It may choose to pursue such complaints or take no action.
Investigations for police misconduct can take anywhere from several weeks to several months (possibly even years).
That said, under Ontario’s Police Services Act, there is a limitation period of 6 months. When this limitation period starts to run depends on whether a civilian started the complaint and whether the complaint relates to a police officer (versus a chief of police or deputy chief of police).
When the investigation has lasted more than 6 months, a request must be made to the Police Services Board (or to the Commissioner for OPP officers) to extend the time to serve a notice of hearing. For such an extension to be granted, it must be “reasonable, under the circumstances, to delay serving the notice of hearing”.
If the extension is granted, the matter can then proceed to a hearing on the merits. If it’s denied, then the proceedings are done.
The expeditious handling of misconduct complaints is important to both officers (who may be suspended pending the outcome of the misconduct proceedings) as well as the public generally. If you are facing an investigation that has exceeded the limitation period, contact us today.