SIU Annual Report 2022-2023
- A Message from the SIU Director
- The Unit: What it Does
- SIU Vision, Mission and Values
- SIU – Building Stronger Civilian Oversight
- Diversity Equity & Inclusion at the SIU
- Community Connections
- Investing in Youth and Planning for the Future
- New Technology at the SIU
- First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program
- Affected Persons Program
- Performance Measures
- 2022-2023 Financials
- SIU Organization Chart
A Message from the SIU Director
It is a pleasure to present the Annual Report of the Special Investigations Unit for 2022-2023.
The SIU is Ontario’s civilian oversight agency charged with investigating the conduct of police officers when it results in death, serious injury, a firearm discharge at a person or a sexual assault allegation. Its mandate is limited to a consideration of criminal liability. Thus, if the investigation gives rise to a reasonable belief that a criminal offence has been committed, the SIU will lay the appropriate criminal charge against the police officer and the matter will proceed through the court system for a final determination of guilt or innocence. Alternatively, where there are no reasonable grounds to believe a criminal offence was committed, the SIU cannot proceed with criminal charges. In this instance, a full report of the investigation is prepared and posted on the SIU’s website.
Despite another busy year, the SIU’s staff once again performed with distinction. Staff at all levels worked tirelessly to ensure that the Unit’s investigations were completed with rigour and in a timely fashion – about 89% of the cases were completed within the 120-day mandated deadline. This means that the stress experienced by persons impacted by the investigative process – be they sexual assault complainants, persons seriously injured in encounters with the police, the family and friends of those who have died, and the police officers under investigation – can be kept to a minimum. It also means accountability to the broader community within a reasonable time in the form of answers to what are often tragic incidents. While investigative staff were front and centre in these efforts, the results equally reflect the dedication and talents of the SIU’s administrative and professional support services.
The SIU’s initiatives in the areas of diversity, inclusivity and anti-racism, the theme of last year’s annual report, remained a highlight of the Unit’s business in 2022-2023. Of particular note is the progress made by the SIU in its relationships with Indigenous persons and communities impacted by the work that it does. This took the form of staff training in Indigenous cultures, meetings with Indigenous groups to discuss issues of mutual concern, and outreach sessions with First Nations, especially those considering adopting SIU oversight of their own police services.
Looking to the future, the SIU is currently undergoing a program review to ensure that it is best positioned to meet the demands of civilian oversight in the years to come. I look forward to reporting on the progress of the review in next year’s annual report.
Joseph Martino, Director
The SIU is led by a Director who must never have served as a police official. The Director oversees all the SIU’s operations. They can be appointed to serve a maximum of two five-year terms by Order in Council.
A subject official is an official whose conduct, in the Director’s opinion, may have caused the death, serious injury, firearm discharge or alleged sexual assault under investigation. Anyone the SIU is mandated to investigate is referred to as an ‘official’.
Subject officials are invited, but cannot be compelled, to present themselves for an interview with the SIU, nor do they have to submit their notes to the SIU. Once they become the focus of an investigation and, therefore, under criminal jeopardy, the subject official is granted the same rights as any citizen under the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to protections against self-incrimination.
A witness official is an official who, in the opinion of the SIU Director, is involved in the incident under investigation but is not a subject official.
Witness officials have a duty under the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019, to submit to interviews with SIU investigators at the earliest opportunity. The SIU is also entitled to a copy of their notes.
An affected person is the individual who may have died, suffered serious injury, been subject to a sexual assault or been fired at in a police-involved incident. Affected persons and their families are provided support and updates by the SIU.
Affected Person Coordinator
Through the Affected Persons Program, the SIU’s Affected Persons Coordinators provide support, information and guidance, and updates to those affected by SIU-involved incidents. The Affected Person Program provides the opportunity for the coordinators to work one-on-one with the affected persons and/or their families.
In cases where the Director finds no evidence to proceed with criminal charges against the police official(s) involved, a Director’s Report is published on the SIU website. The Director’s Report provides a summary of the investigation, the evidence gathered and the findings of fact by the Director that led to the decision.
In cases found to fall outside the SIU’s jurisdiction, such as in cases where the affected person did not suffer a serious injury, the Director will terminate the investigation and issue a memo that outlines the reasons for the decision. Cases can be re-opened if new evidence comes to light.
A person sustains a serious injury if the injury in question is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature. A serious injury includes:
- an injury that results in admission to a hospital
- a fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib, or vertebra
- burns to a significant proportion of a person’s body
- the loss of any portion of a person’s body
- a loss of vision or hearing
The Unit: What it DoesThe SIU is a civilian law enforcement agency in Ontario that has jurisdiction over municipal, regional, and provincial police officers, as well as special constables employed by the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service.
The SIU – independent of any police service and operating at arm’s length from the Ministry of the Attorney General – investigates incidents involving officials where they are implicated in the following cases:
- The death of a person
- The serious injury of a person
- The discharge of a firearm at a person
- The sexual assault of a person, as reported by the person
Where the grounds do not exist to lay a charge, the Director will instead issue a public report – the Director’s Report - summarizing the investigation and reasons for the decision.
All investigations are conducted by SIU civilian investigators, who are peace officers.
SIU Vision, Mission and Values
The essence of the SIU is our conviction and belief in our role demonstrated by all.
- We are always striving for understanding of SIU by community and law enforcement throughout Ontario;
- We strive for stability through shared leadership and individual empowerment in a continually changing environment;
- We believe in open, respectful communication in all directions to promote common understanding;
- We inspire excellence through teamwork;
- We invest where it matters: in our talent, tools and training;
- We are committed to being a great place to work.
- We are a skilled team of civilians dedicated to serving Ontario’s diverse communities.
- We conduct thorough and unbiased investigations where someone is the subject of a firearm discharge, is seriously injured, alleges sexual assault, or dies during an encounter with law enforcement agencies, including police, the Legislative Protective Service and the Niagara Parks Commission.
- Our independence in seeking and assessing all the evidence ensures law enforcement accountability, inspiring the confidence of all in the work of SIU.
SIU – Building Stronger Civilian OversightOne of the key ways the SIU continues to evolve as a leader in civilian oversight of policing is through its engagement with the public, such as seeking out and fostering community relationships and connecting with other oversight agencies. Over the past year, the agency worked on the following initiatives in support of this objective.
Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario ConferenceThe Nishnawbe-Aski Police Service (NAPS) invited representatives of the SIU to the Indigenous Police Chiefs of Ontario Conference in Toronto to discuss the Special Investigations Unit Act. On April 12, 2022, the SIU delegation made a presentation to the group and answered their questions about the legislation. The information provided by the SIU was well-received at the conference, particularly as Indigenous communities consider whether they wish their own police services to fall under the oversight jurisdiction of the SIU.
Annual Meeting of Heads of Police Oversight Agencies in OttawaOn October 18, 2022, the SIU Director participated in the Annual Meeting of Police Oversight Agencies. The meeting, which brings together the leadership of Canada’s civilian oversight bodies, including British Columbia’s Independent Investigation Office and Newfoundland’s Serious Incident Response Team, to name a couple, was sponsored and organized by the RCMP’s Civilian Review and Complaints Commission. Meeting for the first time in a few years in person, the participants were able to exchange ideas on best practices and hear from experts on such topical subjects as the collection of race-based data and de-escalation tactics and policing.
Annual General Meeting of the Ontario Provincial Police Association in The Blue MountainsOn October 19, 2022, the SIU Director addressed the annual meeting of the OPPA in The Blue Mountains. The occasion provided a venue for constructive dialogue between the sides. Discussed were issued relating to the public release of information by the SIU during the currency of an investigation, trauma-informed interviewing practices, and the importance of timely investigations.
Director’s Resource CommitteeOn October 12, 2022, the SIU held a meeting of its Director’s Resource Committee (DRC). The committee brings together representatives of various community groups to discuss issues of mutual interest in the field of police oversight. This year, the committee was expanded to include some new voices, including advocates for persons with disabilities, the 2SLGBTQI community, youth, the Muslim community, victims of sexual violence, and persons experiencing homelessness.
The following are the current members of SIU’s DRC:
- Black Legal Action Centre
- Canadian Mental Health Association – Ontario
- Justice Charles Arthur Downes – Community Member
- Chinese and Southeast Asian Legal Clinic
- Citizens With Disabilities
- Council of Agencies Serving South Asians
- Faith of Life Network
- Falconers LLP Legal Aid Ontario – Aboriginal Legal Services
Founded in 1971, the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres (OFIFC) works to support, advocate for, and build the capacity of 29-member Friendship Centres across Ontario. Emerging from a nation-wide, grass-roots movement dating back to the 1950’s, Friendship Centres are community hubs where Indigenous people living in towns, cities, and urban centres can access culturally based and culturally appropriate programs and services every day.
Diversity Equity & Inclusion at the SIUDiversity, equity and inclusion are core to the business of the SIU. An SIU that reflects the multicultural communities it serves, values fairness within its walls and in the delivery of its services to the public, and gives everyone a voice at the table, is a better SIU. The following were some of the SIU’s efforts towards diversity, equity and inclusion this past year.
The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Employee Experience CommitteeConsisting of staff at all levels of the SIU, the Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Employee Experience (DEIEE) Committee was initiated in 2021. The committee was a measure meant to address an identified need to formalize the SIU’s approach to matters of anti-racism, diversity, equity and inclusion to include anti-racism training, sharing resources, and applying an anti-racism lens to agency operations.
The committee created a Diversity Equity & Inclusion and Employee Experience policy. The policy is the Unit’s commitment to attaining and maintaining diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace for employees.
Anti-Bias TrainingThe SIU held two days of anti-bias training for all its staff. These sessions were facilitated by a prominent academic in the field from the University of Waterloo. The talks considered bias in its myriad forms, the impact of bias on the work of the SIU, and anti-bias measures.
Diversifying Staff ComplementDiversity strategies included both a diversity lens and ensuring a balance of ex-police/civilian background with recruitment activities targeting diverse job boards, websites, broader outreach to the Director’s Resource Committee, Black Alliance Internship Program (BAIP) internships, for diversity referrals.
The organization continues to maintain a balance between investigators with no former policing experience and investigators who are former police officers: 47% of its current investigative staff have never been a police officer; 57% are former police officers.
Race-Based Data CollectionThe SIU has been collecting personal information since October 2020 from affected persons and subject officials about their age, Indigenous identity, ethnic/cultural origin, race, religion/spiritual affiliation, and gender identity. Participation is voluntary.
The SIU has partnered with Wilfrid Laurier University (WLU) to analyze the data collected from affected persons and subject officials between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021. The results of WLU’s analysis were provided to the SIU in a draft report and summary.
The SIU is now consulting with stakeholders to seek their input prior to publication.
It is anticipated that following consultation with the community, the report will be published by the SIU in the fall of 2023.
Ontario Public Service Recognition of SIU StaffThe SIU is pleased to announce that three of its staff were featured in recently published online articles.
In January 2023, an investigator was featured in an article as part of Topical’s OPS At Work series, a story series about the Ontario Public Service (OPS) through the lens of the diverse people within the organization. In the article, the reader learns of the investigator’s background and the path that brought him to the SIU.
In August 2022, another SIU investigator was featured in FAME: Facts About MAG Employees, a recurring series that spotlights employees and their jobs across the Ministry of the Attorney General. In it, the investigator describes a typical day in her role as an investigator, her career background, and advice for those who may be interested in a career at the SIU.
Also in August 2022, an Affected Persons Co-ordinator at the SIU was featured in FAME: Facts About MAG Employees. The Co-ordinator describes what she does at the SIU and talks about the most rewarding aspects of her role.
The SIU looks forward to continuing to get the word out about its talented staff.
Community ConnectionsAn effective oversight agency depends on the continual evolution of its operations to ensure best practices in investigations and other program areas, as well as a sensitivity to the socio-political questions that frame issues of policing and policing oversight. The SIU does this by connecting with, and learning from, community groups, organizations in other jurisdictions, and sister agencies – at home and abroad. Over the past year, these initiatives have included:
First Annual Black Excellence Expo – Dufferin Peel Catholic District School BoardOn November 10, 2022, the Black Excellence Expo was held at the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board. The event aimed to celebrate the achievements of Black Canadians and provide students with an opportunity to learn about the contributions of Black individuals in various fields, including law enforcement. The SIU was engaged in direct conversations with students about the work of the agency.
The Association of Black Law Enforcers’ GalaOn October 1, 2022, the SIU Director and an SIU investigator attended the annual gala reception of the Association of Black Law Enforcers (ABLE) at the Pearson Convention Centre in Brampton.
The reception was well-attended by law enforcement representatives from across Ontario, Canada, and the United States. This year marked ABLE’s 30th anniversary as an organization that advocates for the interests of Black law enforcers, from whatever field they may be in – policing, corrections, etc. Tribute was paid to the achievements of ABLE through the years and the contributions of past ABLE presidents and board members. The highlight of the night was the awarding of scholarships for post-secondary studies to young Black youth with incredible credentials interested in pursuing careers in the administration of justice.
The Association of Black Law Enforcers/University of Guelph-Humber Career FairOn November 17, 2022, the SIU participated in the Annual Law Enforcement and Emergency Services Career Fair sponsored by the Association of Black Law Enforcers (ABLE) in collaboration with the University of Guelph-Humber (UGH). Over 300 students attended the event.
The goal of the event was to:
- Create an environment where law enforcement professionals can acquaint high school and university students, and the community with a wider range of career options
- Reinforce the message to “Stay in School” and emphasize the need for young people to prepare themselves for skill requirements that are constantly changing
- Provide all the participating agencies the opportunity to build and maintain meaningful partnerships with the diverse communities they serve and the recruitment of potential candidates
Akwesasne Mohawk Council Grand ChiefOn Thursday, February 22, 2023, the SIU met with the Grand Chief of the Akwesasne Mohawk Council to discuss the agency and the manner in which it operates. The meeting was part of a continuing series of engagements with Indigenous communities as they consider whether they wish to opt-in to police oversight provided by the SIU, when Ontario’s Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 is proclaimed into force.
Investing in Youth and Planning for the Future
Student ProgramsDuring the fall and winter months, the SIU engages in various cooperative and summer student placements to give youth a chance to work in their field of study. Although the types of assignments given to students vary from year to year, some examples of skills and experiences gained over the placement include:
- Collecting data and supporting administrative functions
- Researching and writing legal memos
- Assisting with the SIU case management system
- Attending court and observing proceedings
- Attending training and outreach sessions
- Learning about investigative processes and forensic investigations/observing investigations
- Participating in investigation-related exercises (mock interviews, preparation of investigative reports, etc.)
In 2022-23, the agency participated in the Ontario Public Service Summer Employment Opportunity (SEO) Program with two summer students in 2022. Both students from this program are now employed with the Ontario Public Service.
Black Alliance Internship ProgramThe Black Alliance Internship Program (BAIP) is offered as a special program under the Ontario Internship Program and as a component of the Ontario Internship Program (OIP).
The SIU is proud to participate in this program and its goals to support Black and Black bilingual (French-English) recent post-secondary graduates to obtain professional-level work experience, build their transferable skills, prepare for future roles in the OPS, and increase the number of Black and Black bilingual (French-English) staff in the OPS.
In October 2022, the SIU offered a one-year term to an intern from this program.
Take Our Kids to Work DayOn November 2, 2022, SIU hosted Take Our Kids to Work Day. A total of ten students participated. The day was fun filled with a packed agenda, which included activities such as Photography, Fingerprinting, and Interviewing witnesses.
The participants learned about the SIU, including its grassroots history and its continuing mission. One student commented that she came to the SIU thinking she wanted to become a doctor; however, she is now considering a career in forensics.
The students worked on a mock investigation and presented their findings to the Director. One of the students commented how much he appreciated the time it takes to collect findings and draw conclusions at the SIU.
The day, however, was not only a day of learning for the students, but it was also a day of learning for staff involved. It was wonderful to see how participants conducted interviews, grappled with drawing conclusions, and even debated with the Director to argue their point.
New Technology at the SIUThe SIU recently rolled out several new technological advancements to better support its employees with the tools, technology, and skills they need to best perform their work.
Front and centre were new digital technologies, including two Leica 3D scanners to assist forensic investigators with crime scene reconstruction, launching a new secure web-based system to allow the SIU to manage and collect evidence digitally, and replacing its Case Management solution.
3D ScannersThe SIU acquired Leica RTC360 3D Scanners, a leading-edge technology that allows our forensic investigators to capture scene evidence and reconstruct major crime scenes efficiently and accurately. In the field of forensic science, keeping up to date with specialized equipment is essential, and these tools provide leading edge scene reconstruction evidence for use in investigations and court proceedings. Forensic investigators began training to use the new equipment last December.
Digital Evidence Management (DEM) SystemIn January 2022, the SIU launched the DEM system, a web-based cloud solution that enables the SIU to capture, receive, store, manage and share evidence digitally. The DEM system transforms how SIU handles multimedia files by greatly reducing the need for physical media and storage. Investigators can receive evidence electronically by sharing a link that enables recipients to upload up to 60 GB of files.
Niche Records Management SystemThe SIU has replaced its Investigative Support System (ISS) case management system with Niche, a case management system designed specifically for law enforcement organizations configured to support highly sensitive data.
Niche is a modern system that is easy to use and has more functionality to better manage investigations, including enhanced user experience, greater search functions, the ability to assign and monitor investigative tasks, improved storage capacity, and the capacity to generate reports to display data and analytics in support of decision-making.
The project to implement the new technology was led mainly by SIU personnel, providing their expertise and dedicating time, over above their day-to-day duties, to ensure the new system is fully integrated and meets the needs of the organization.
Communication with the MediaThe SIU recognizes the importance of providing timely information to the public. That’s why the SIU’s Communications team is available day and night.
Between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2023, the SIU received hundreds of requests from members of the media. Members of the media typically contact the media relations team via email, phone, and text. The team also makes itself available to speak to the media on scene and remotely via online communication platforms, as appropriate. For high-profile cases, the spokesperson typically receives dozens of phone calls, texts, and emails on the day the incident occurs and the days that follow.
Here are some of the ways the SIU communicates information about its cases:
- Status of SIU Cases chart - In an effort to keep the public up-to-date on the progress of SIU investigations, the Unit provides updates on each investigation via this chart which can be found at https://www.siu.on.ca/en/case_status.php. Cases are searchable by case number, police service, year, status, and case type.
- Breakdown of Occurrences - The SIU continues to track its total caseload by type since its inception in 1990. This information is available here: https://siu.on.ca/en/report_occurrences.php.
- Director’s Reports - At the conclusion of an SIU investigation, if the evidence does not satisfy the Director that there are reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges, a Director’s Report is produced and published to the SIU’s website. Each time a report is published, the SIU notifies the public of the report by issuing a news release.
- Social Media - The SIU Twitter account https://twitter.com/SIUOntario
The SIU’s Communications Coordinators -- the Unit’s primary spokespersons -- can be reached at email@example.com
Balancing Transparency with the Investigation
The tension between the need for an agency such as the SIU to share information with the public and the obligation to keep certain information confidential because of legal and policy restrictions presents a constant challenge. This requires a balancing act, as the needs and sensitivities of the media, complainants, the community, law enforcement and the SIU must all be considered within a legislative framework. It is imperative to ensure that the information released is fair, does not prejudice the investigation and does not violate the privacy rights of those involved.
News ReleasesKeeping the public informed about the SIU’s investigations is a key part of the organization’s commitment to transparency and accountability. One of the ways the SIU accomplishes this is through news releases. News releases may be issued when the SIU invokes its mandate and launches an investigation or provides an update on an ongoing investigation. A news release is also typically issued at the end of an investigation, whether it was concluded via a criminal charge, Director’s Report (no charge) or a case closure by memo.
Over the 2022-2023 fiscal year, the SIU issued 395 news releases.
Members of the public are welcome to subscribe to the SIU’s news releases on the SIU website: https://siu.on.ca/en/news_subscription.php
News Release Types
Director’s Report: In 2022-2023, the agency published 212 news releases accompanying the Director’s Report. In cases where the Director found no evidence to proceed with criminal charges against the police official(s) involved, a Director’s Report is published on the SIU website as well as an accompanying news release. The Director’s Report provides a summary of the investigation and evidence gathered, and the findings of fact by the Director that led to the decision.
Case Closed by Memo: In cases found to fall outside the SIU’s jurisdiction, such as when the affected person did not suffer a serious injury, the Director will terminate the investigation and issue a memo that outlines the reasons for the decision. When this occurs, the Director does not render a decision as to whether a criminal charge is warranted in the case or not. These matters may be referred to other law enforcement agencies for investigation. A news release is issued in every case closed by memo; 65 news releases of this type were published in 2022-2023.
Case Update: During an investigation, an update to the status of the investigation may be provided via a news release. During 2022-2023, four news releases were issued to provide status updates during an investigation.
Initial: At the beginning of an investigation, an initial news release will be issued for cases involving a death, a firearm discharge at a person, major collision, or other high-profile matter. In 2022-2023, 103 initial news releases were issued.
Charge Laid: If the Director finds evidence to lay criminal charges against a police official, charges will be laid, and a news release issued with the official’s name, charge(s) and court date. Eleven news releases were issued of this nature in 2022-2023.
OutreachThe SIU’s Outreach Program is responsible for proactively connecting with the diverse communities of Ontario. The goal is to create meaningful dialogue with all communities and to strengthen its connection with them, as well as to pursue opportunities to educate the public about the SIU.
SIU Outreach Program Strategy: A Collaborative ApproachIn January 2023, the agency released its new outreach strategic plan - SIU’s Outreach Program Strategy – A collaborative approach. The plan outlined a fresh outlook on connecting and maintaining relationships with the community and stakeholders alike. The following are key components of the strategy:
- This plan is a collaborative approach to outreach
- It requires commitment and involvement from SIU management, staff, and community agencies; it is not a standalone approach
- The framework is based on SIU’s core mission, vision and values
- The plan is evidence-based, supported by qualitative and quantitative data
SIU in Ontario Secondary Schools – Online Teacher ToolkitAs part of the new plan, the Outreach Program is working on the development of an online resource for teachers, to bring awareness of the SIU into their classrooms. This will:
- Increase accessibility of information on SIU for Ontario secondary schools
- Provide simplified and user-friendly tools for teachers to use as part of their curriculum
- Maximize the potential for increased use by schools once the toolkit is launched
- Ensure outreach resources remain focused on targeted areas and populations
Online Outreach Presentation Request Process – Making it AccessibleThe Outreach Program is making requests for SIU presentations and attendance at events more simplified and accessible to the public. This will serve to:
- Create a streamlined electronic process for presentation requests for the public
- Ensure SIU can allocate resources appropriately, based on needs/areas and populations
- Provide SIU the ability and opportunity to better plan operationally for outreach activities
SIU on 211 Ontario – Accessible Information For The PublicIn February 2023, the SIU was added to the 211 Ontario website - 211ontario.ca - which provides Ontarians with 24/7 community information and referral helplines. They also have specialized websites and directories including community, health, social and related government services in Ontario. As the SIU is now accessible to the public on this platform, there are more ways by which a person can find information about the SIU.
Based on analytics provided by the 211 Ontario website, from February 1 to March 31, 2023, there were 44,196 contacts reported, out of which 6.49% or 2,805 contacts were for legal/public safety needs.
Outreach Program StatisticsFrom April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023, the Outreach Program delivered a total of 25 presentations.
First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison ProgramThe First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program was created in early 2006 to address the unique needs and concerns of Indigenous people and communities as it relates to police oversight. It does so principally by relationship-building between the SIU and Indigenous communities with the aim of facilitating SIU investigations involving or impacting Indigenous persons or interests.
The members of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program have the following responsibilities:
- Attend First Nations training at least once per year
- Assist the SIU Training Coordinator with the development and implementation of First Nations-based cultural competency training for all SIU staff
- Assist the SIU’s Outreach Coordinator with the development and delivery of outreach initiatives to Indigenous persons, organizations, and communities, and developing and maintaining a positive professional relationship with leaders and representatives of Indigenous organizations and communities
- Track investigative and outreach activities to assist with reporting stats bi-annually and for the annual report
In the 2022-2023 fiscal year, members of the program were involved in 16 cases involving Indigenous persons. Of those 16 cases, 6 were closed by Director’s Report, 4 investigations were terminated by memo and 6 investigations are ongoing.
National Truth and Reconciliation Day – September 30, 2022In honour of National Truth and Reconciliation Day, the SIU conducted two First Nations education sessions to staff involving the challenging living conditions of three First Nations reservations: Pikangikum, Grassy Narrows, and Cape Dorset.
Connecting with First Nations Communities and Police Services – Looking AheadThe new Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019, when it is proclaimed into force, will allow First Nations communities policed by their own services, which currently fall outside the SIU’s jurisdiction, to opt-in to SIU oversight. In preparation for this contingency, the SIU began discussions with First Nations communities about its services, allowing them to make an informed decision about whether they wish to opt-in when the times comes. On February 17th, 2023, SIU met with the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne as an introductory meeting, launching the potential for further discussions.
Affected Persons Program
About the ProgramThe Affected Persons Program (APP or the Program) is a crucial component of the SIU, providing support services to those negatively impacted by incidents investigated by the Unit. The APP aims to respond to the emotional and practical needs of SIU complainants, their loved ones, witnesses, and community members by offering immediate crisis support, information, guidance, advocacy, resources and referrals.
APP staff provide support services to affected persons from the outset of the investigation, throughout the investigative process and its conclusion, as well as during criminal justice and inquest proceedings, when applicable. APP staff are available to respond to calls and assist affected persons 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
The Affected Persons Court Support Program provides direct support services to SIU victims and witnesses throughout the criminal court process, which is often difficult and confusing.
The APP also plays an important role in the administration of the SIU’s collection of race-based data from affected persons and subject officials.
Affected Persons Program TeamThis fiscal year was another unprecedented year of growth for the program. the SIU welcomed the final addition of an Affected Person Coordinator (APC) in the East region to round out the APP team. Four APCs are spread out around the province to assist affected persons in their respective regions – Central/Greater Toronto area, West, North and East. This regional approach allows APCs to respond to affected persons in a timely manner.
Each APC attends training throughout the year on topics geared towards their individual learning plans. APCs also attended APP team training this year, which included the following topics:
- Outreach training
- Naloxone training
- Supporting Sexual Assault Victims, Pre-Post Interview
- Substance Use & Abuse
- Supporting Children through Grief and Trauma
Building Relationships, Improving ServicesThe creation and maintenance of collaborative relationships with government and community partner agencies across the province continues to be a core value of the APP. These efforts continued throughout 2022-2023, in coordination with the member agencies of the Victim Services Alliance of Ontario, Ontario Network of Victim Service Providers, the Victim Witness Assistance Program, and the Office of the Chief Coroner. Some of these relationships have been solidified with the establishment of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).
- This year, Victim Services of Windsor & Essex County joined ten other victim services agencies that have entered an MOU with the APP. The purpose of the MOU is to clarify the roles of victim services and the APP when the SIU has invoked its mandate, in the effort to avoid service gaps or overlaps.
- The APP established a ‘viewing of the deceased’ protocol with the Office of the Chief Coroner and Ontario Forensic Pathology Service to ensure next-of-kin can see their deceased loved one at the Coroner’s Office, on compassionate grounds, in certain circumstances.
- An APP-specific brochure was also created as an informational resource for affected persons, which outlines the APP role and services. The brochure is available in French and English, in hardcopy and online formats.
- The APP and its members conducted various outreach activities and consultative services this year. For example, two members of the APP team travelled to Bear Island, Temagami First Nation to speak about the SIU and the APP in July of 2022.
- The APP also met with members of the Washington Police Oversight Task Force to provide insight and guidance with respect to their development and implementation of an APP-like program.
Affected Persons Program StatisticsFrom April 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023, the APP was involved in 270 cases, including 30 cases that required court support services. This represents a 24% increase in APP case involvement when compared to the last 12-month reporting period.
The APP supported 527 affected persons this fiscal year, an increase of 29% year over year.
SIU victims were offered support through the court process in 100% of cases, 30 in total, that resulted in a criminal charge(s) against a police official.
The APP assisted with the completion of 20 next-of-kin death notifications, attended 20 scenes to support affected persons (including civilian witnesses) and attended 15 interviews to provide support during the interview process.
TrainingThe most valuable asset at the SIU are its people. Investing in our people is at the forefront of the SIU’s mandate to ensure high quality investigations. The Unit is committed to the continuous training of its staff in the areas of investigative best practices, cultural competency, administration, management, law, and information technology.
In 2022/23, SIU personnel participated in approximately 2,593 hours of learning and development initiatives over the fiscal year, the majority (73%) of which was devoted to investigative training.
|Training Hours Completed (# of Staff)||Total Hours|
|Full-time Investigators (16)||292.0|
|Regular On-Call Investigators (42)||1,589.5|
|Administrative / Professional Staff (24)||486|
|Management Staff (11)||225.5|
Specialized Investigative Training CoursesSeveral SIU investigators were trained in the following areas during the past year:
- Vicarious Trauma Awareness
- The SIU and Civilians with Intellectual Disabilities
- Talent Modernization
- Urgent Legal Issues in Policing
Onboarding and OrientationThe SIU held three training sessions in 2022/23 to onboard and orient 22 new staff:
- Overview of investigator orientation (Unit initiatives, mandate, policies)
- Processing cases expeditiously without sacrificing quality
- Authority for SIU investigators
- Introduction to information technology
- Administration & Investigative Records Management
- Note-taking and use of official memo books
- SIU First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program
- Collision reconstruction
- Briefings and debriefings
- Firearms, sexual assault allegation, and custody-related investigations
- Exploring the Roots of Racism
- Access Forward – Customer Service Standard
- Integrated Accessibility Standards Regulation (IASR)
- Respectful Workplace Policy and the WDHP Program
- Occupational Health and Safety
- Working Together - The OHRC and the AODA
- Cyber Security
Forensic TrainingNine of the Unit’s forensic investigators completed the Ontario Police College’s Forensic Identification Recertification Exam.
The Unit also welcomed three new forensic investigators who completed additional training and orientation courses, including:
- Use of Force
- Police-issued Weapons Review
- Suspect Apprehension Pursuits
Anti-Racism and DiversitySIU continues to make progress in educating staff about race, racial discrimination and human rights protections under Ontario’s Human Rights Code. The Unit created an Anti-Racism Road Map to address systemic racism, as well as to prioritize its commitment to a fair and diverse workforce. As a result, most staff have completed the mandatory anti-racism training which aims to increase staff awareness of unconscious bias and racism in both policing and policing oversight, while equipping staff with anti-racism competencies. The learning modules included:
- Unconscious Bias
- Workplace Discrimination and Harassment Prevention
- First Nations Education
Health & SafetyThe SIU is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all staff. This year, investigators and APP staff received training in the emergency use of naloxone to administer care in the event of an opioid overdose. Upon completion of the course, staff were provided with naloxone kits.
SIU staff also participated in a mental health and well-being session focused on the challenges associated with investigating serious injury and death.
The SIU invokes its mandate when notified of an incident that falls within its jurisdiction.
Investigations begin at the time of notification and entail a number of actions, including:
- Quick response to an incident
- Examining and securing all physical evidence
- Seeking and interviewing witnesses
- Consulting with the coroner when required
- Completing investigative file reports for Director’s review and decision
- Forensic scene examination and testing
Central to the work of the SIU is forensics – the collection and analysis of physical evidence. The Forensics Team, quite often the face of the organization as the first to respond to any given scene, is critically important to the conduct of thorough investigations. At any given scene, the team could be taking photographs, collecting blood samples, firearms, projectiles, and cartridge cases, and measuring the spaces in which an incident has occurred.
|Types of Occurrences||2018-2019||2019-2020||2020-2021||2021-2022||2022-2023|
|Firearm Discharge at Person||-||-||7||34||25|
|Sexual Assault Complaints||57||58||63||73||54|
Caseload AnalysisIn 2022-2023, 335 investigation files were opened. The total number of cases dipped by about 100 year-to-year.
- Custody Injury cases accounted for approximately half (50.1%) of the total occurrences.
- Sexual Assault Complaints cases remained the second highest type of occurrence reported.
- Firearm Discharge at a Person, a fairly new category of case, comprised 7.5 % of the SIU’s total caseload, comparable to 7.9% in 2021-22.
Non-Jurisdictional CasesNon-jurisdictional cases (NJCs) are those in which no investigation file is ever opened at the SIU. This is because it is apparent, at the time the case is reported to the SIU, that the incident does not fall within the mandate of the SIU. These cases are not counted as SIU occurrences and do not form part of the SIU caseload. In 2022-2023, there were 128 NJCs at the SIU.
Case ClosuresIn 2022-2023, the SIU closed 335 cases, including re-opened cases. This figure consisted of all occurrences from previous years that were closed during this fiscal year and excluded cases that remained open at the end of March 2023.
|Number of cases closed||335|
|Number of cases closed by memo||88 (26.3%)|
|Number of cases closed by Director’s Report||236 (70.4%)|
|Average number of days to close all cases||120.7|
|Average number of days to close a memo case||77.8|
|Average number of days to close a Director’s Report case||133|
|Number of cases closed in 120 days or less||301|
|Percentage* of cases closed in 120 days or less||89.9%|
|Number of cases in which criminal charges were laid||11|
|Number of officers charged||13|
Cases Closed by Memo
Eighty-eight cases were closed by memo in 2022-2023, or 26.3%. After the opening of an investigation file, these cases were eventually deemed to not fall under the SIU jurisdiction.
In these types of cases, the SIU Director exercises discretion and ‘terminates’ all further SIU involvement, filing a memo to that effect with the Deputy Attorney General.
Cases Closed by Director’s Report
The number of cases closed in this period by Director’s Report is 70%, or 236.
Criminal charges were laid by the SIU Director in 11 cases, against a total of 13 officers, representing about 3% of the total cases.
The charges do not represent a finding of criminal wrongdoing – only that there were reasonable grounds to believe that an offence was committed. A court hearing the charges ultimately determines guilt or innocence.
Investigative ResponseThe SIU tracks the time it takes for investigators to respond to an incident, and the number of investigators deployed to the scene.
Information about Affected PersonsAffected Persons are individuals who are directly involved in an occurrence investigated by the SIU as a result of interactions with police. There may be more than one Affected Person per SIU case.
|Average Number of Days to Close a Case: 120 Days or Less||80%||89.9%|
|Percentage of Death and Sexual Assault Cases in which the SIU Affected Persons Program Engaged||100%||100%|
|Percentage of Death and Firearm Cases in which Media Release Issued at the Beginning and End of Case||100%||100%|
Average Number of Days to Close a Case
The SIU aims to complete its investigations within 120 days.
- In 2022-2023, it took 78 days to close a case by memo and 133 days to close by Director’s Report. There were 301 cases that were closed in 120 days or less, or 89.9% of total cases.
News Release in all Death and Firearm Cases
The Unit is committed to issuing a news release at the start and end of any investigation where there was a death, or an official discharged a firearm.
- In 2022-2023, the agency fully met this performance target.
Total Expenditures for the year ended March 31, 2023, were $10,909,827.
|2022-23 Expenditures by Type||Annual Expenditures ($000)||% of Final Budget|
|Salaries and Wages (S&W)||$ 7,707,341||70.6%|
|Employee Benefits (EB)||$ 1,048,898||9.6%|
|Transportation and Communication (T&C)||$ 308,849||2.8%|
|Supplies and Equipment (S&E)||$ 449,288||4.1%|
|Total Annual Expenditure||$ 10,909,827||100%|
SIU Director’s Expense InformationThe release of expense information ensures that taxpayer dollars are used prudently and responsibly with a focus on accountability and transparency. The Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive requires the posting of expense information by designated individuals and appointees in every provincial agency. As a provincial agency, the SIU is required to post the Director’s expense report. For the 2022-23 fiscal period, the Director’s expenses total $489.05.
|Total Annual Remuneration|
|Appointee||Total Annual Remuneration||Per Diem Remuneration Rate|
|Joseph Martino, Director||$ 235,000||N/A|