2021/22 – 2023/24 Special Investigations Unit Business Plan

Section 1: Executive Summary

The following key achievements in 2020-21 supported the SIU’s strategic goals and priorities:

  • Implementation of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 (SIU Act);
  • Reduction in backlog of completed cases awaiting decision;
  • More timely Director’s decisions;
  • Data collection under the Anti Racism Act, 2017;
  • Increased transparency of on-going investigations under intense public scrutiny;
  • Enhanced Affected Persons Program;
  • Outreach initiatives, including more targeted efforts in relation to young people, Indigenous and racialized communities, and other vulnerable groups within society; and
  • Improved results from 2019 SIU Employee Experience Survey and supporting MAG’s People First Plan.

Section 2: Mandate

The SIU is a civilian law enforcement agency 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. Anyone the SIU is mandated to investigate is referred to as an ‘official’. The SIU Director may cause a criminal investigation to be conducted into any incident in which any of the following occurs, if the incident may have resulted from criminal conduct by an official:

  • 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.

The Unit is independent of any police service and operates at arm’s length from the Ministry of the Attorney General.

In the course of its investigations, the Unit gathers and assesses evidence, and the Director of the SIU ultimately decides whether or not the evidence leads to the reasonable belief that a criminal offence has been committed. If the Director forms such a belief, she or he shall lay a criminal charge against the official(s), and that charge will then be prosecuted by the Crown Attorney. If the Director does not form such a belief, she or he cannot lay a criminal charge against the official(s). Instead, a report (the “Director’s Report”) is posted publicly and provided to the affected parties.

The SIU was created in 1990 with a mission to nurture public confidence in policing by ensuring that the conduct of police officers, in cases falling under the SIU jurisdiction, is subject to rigorous and independent investigations. Decades later, and with an expanded mandate, the SIU remains steadfast in pursuing that same mission.

SIU Mission, Vision and Values

SIU’s Vision

  • 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.

SIU’s Mission

  • 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’s Values

  • Integrity
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Excellence
  • Accountable
  • Unbiased
  • Dedicated

Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG) Mission, Vision and Values

MAG’s Vision

  • An innovative, sustainable and responsive justice system that inspires public confidence and upholds the rule of law.

MAG’s Mission

  • The mission of the Ministry of the Attorney General is to administer the justice system, protect the public and ensure legality in government. We accomplish this by fostering an inclusive environment that values service excellence, access to justice, accountability, innovation, and responsiveness to the evolving needs of Ontario.

MAG’s Values

  • Accountability: We are committed to a transparent justice system that holds us accountable for the decisions we make.
  • Collaboration: Our culture encourages teamwork and collaboration through mutual trust and support.
  • Courage: Our people have the confidence and support to make tough decisions and explore new approaches.
  • Excellence: We strive for service excellence and the highest standards of quality.
  • Inclusion: We foster an inclusive working environment that respects and embraces diverse opinions and beliefs.
  • Integrity: We are committed to honesty, impartiality and remaining true to our word.
  • Respect: Our actions demonstrate continued respect towards the public, our colleagues and the law.

Section 3: Overview of Programs and Activities


The legislative framework for the SIU is set out in the SIU Act.

The mandate of the SIU is to nurture confidence in Ontario’s police services and select special constables and peace officers by assuring the public that the actions of these officials resulting in serious injury, death, the discharge of a firearm or an allegation of sexual assault are subjected to rigorous, independent investigations. Incidents which fall within this mandate must be reported to the SIU by the organization which employs the involved official and/or may be reported by any other person or organization.

The objective of every SIU investigation is to determine whether there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of the official. It is not to determine whether the involved official(s) may have committed some lesser offence, such as a breach of a provincial law or professional misconduct.

Serious Injury

The Unit’s investigative jurisdiction is limited to those incidents involving officials where there is a serious injury, death, allegation of sexual assault or discharge of a firearm by an official at a person.

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; or
  • A loss of vision or hearing.

Off-Duty Officials

The SIU normally investigates incidents when the official was on-duty, but will investigate off-duty incidents if:
  1. The official was engaged in the investigation, pursuit, detention or arrest of a person or otherwise exercised the powers of a police officer, special constable or peace officer, as the case may be, whether or not the official intended to exercise such powers or identified him or herself as a person who may exercise such powers, or
  2. The incident involved equipment or other property issued to the official in relation to his or her duties.

What We Cannot Investigate

Complaints regarding lack of service, policy, or improper conduct by an official (e.g. allegations of racial profiling, harassment, corruption, or use of force without serious injury) should be referred to the appropriate police service or to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). While such complaints may require further investigation, complaints such as these do not fall within the mandate of the SIU.

In addition to conducting independent investigations, the SIU realizes the importance of providing other programs and services such as:

Affected Persons Program

  Given the serious and often traumatic nature of incidents investigated by the SIU, the Affected Persons Program provides support services to affected persons. Affected persons include complainants, loved ones and/or family members of complainants and others, such as civilian witnesses who may have been present during the incident. The aim of the program is to meaningfully respond to the emotional and practical needs of those persons impacted by SIU investigations.

When applicable, the Affected Persons Coordinator (APC) will liaise with investigators regarding the needs of affected persons in any given case. The APC will make contact with the affected person(s), either in person or by telephone. Depending on the circumstances of the investigation and needs of the affected person, the APC may provide:
  • Crisis response and intervention;
  • Psychological first aid, emotional support;
  • Practical support including information and guidance pertaining to the mandate of the SIU and the investigative process, accessing emergency financial supports, safety planning, funeral funding and planning;
  • Referrals and advocacy: assistance with navigating social and justice systems, accessing relevant community resources, legal and medical support, victim assistance programs; and
  • Court support: enhance victim/witness understanding of, and participation in, the criminal court process by providing case specific information, court preparation and orientation, accompaniment, assistance with Victim Impact Statements.
The Affected Persons Program can help mitigate the traumatic effects of an incident the SIU is investigating while improving the affected person’s ability to participate in the investigation. The program’s involvement also allows investigators to dedicate their efforts to gathering investigative evidence and facts.

Affected Persons Program staff also participate in public education and outreach activities to various service providers and stakeholders. Establishing and maintaining connections within the community is crucial to ensuring affected persons receive support services in a coordinated and fluid manner.

The APC travels throughout Ontario to meet with individuals at their homes or other places of convenience. the Affected Persons Program services are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

Business Operations

  • Provides financial, human resources, controllership, knowledge management, records management and retention, strategic planning, asset management and administrative services for the SIU;
  • Provides information technology and management required to support investigations and the IT-based investigative support system, along with systems to manage incoming information from external sources and base infrastructure to support office productivity (including network services, voice/telecom and desk-side support);
  • Manages facilities and security-related matters;
  • Leads risk management and internal communications;
  • Leads initiatives targeted towards process efficiencies and continuous improvements to enhance service delivery; and
  • Develops policies and procedures, performance measures and engagement strategies.


Communication with the media is important to ensure that the SIU remains responsive, transparent and accountable to the public it serves. The SIU has developed a comprehensive Communications program that aims to foster effective communications with the media while also respecting the integrity of SIU’s investigations, witness confidentiality and the important privacy interests of those involved.

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.
  • News releases – News releases are issued in the beginning stages of a case when a firearm has been discharged, someone dies, there has been a major collision or a case has garnered a great deal of media interest. If no news release is issued for a case, members of the media can contact the Communications Coordinator for more information. Once an investigation has concluded, a news release is issued.
  • 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 posted 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 and YouTube channel.
The SIU’s Communications Coordinator is the Unit’s primary spokesperson.

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 all have to 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.

There are a number of policy and legislative restraints the SIU must keep in mind when considering the release of information about a case, such as:

Community Outreach

The Outreach Coordinator is responsible for creating meaningful dialogue with community stakeholders by proactively participating in community events and public education initiatives. The Coordinator establishes and strengthens connections with the diverse population of Ontario.

The SIU’s Outreach program aims to:
  • Increase awareness of the SIU, the new legislation (SIU Act), its mandate, and the investigative process;
  • Improve transparency and correct misperceptions;
  • Raise confidence in the integrity of the SIU;
  • Enhance relationships with diverse community groups in Ontario; and
  • Strengthen public engagement and expand opportunities for information sessions
With more awareness by the public and law enforcement officials of the SIU’s mandate, the following benefits may be had:
  • More incidents that fall within the SIU’s jurisdiction will be reported in a timely fashion;
  • More witnesses will be willing to come forward and cooperate with investigations; and
  • The more likely those impacted by SIU investigations and the broader public will have confidence in the work of the Unit.
The Director’s Resource Committee (DRC)

In 2002, the SIU established the Director’s Resource Committee (DRC) in order to give voice to Ontario’s communities about the work of the Unit. Through the DRC, the SIU Director gains input and feedback on various matters of concern to the SIU and is apprised of trends and issues as experienced by community members.

The DRC is comprised of representatives of various ethnic and racial groups. In addition to the SIU Director being able to provide updates on the work of the SIU throughout the year, the meetings have been an opportunity to raise for discussion issues identified by the members’ communities regarding the work of the SIU and/or the police.

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program

The Honourable George Adams, the author of two reviews of the SIU, recognized the unique status of First Nations and identified the need for the SIU to address the particular interests of these communities. The First Nations Liaison Program (FNLP) was established in January 2006 following consultations with the Provincial Territorial Organizations (PTOs) – the bodies representing First Nations in the province. The program has evolved significantly and, in November 2015, the Unit updated the program to offer greater coverage and reporting. The program was also expanded to include Inuit and Métis persons and is now called the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program (FNIMLP).

The objective of the FNIMLP is to develop cultural competence in the Unit’s approach to incidents involving Indigenous persons or communities. While the SIU does not have inherent jurisdiction over First Nations police, the Unit has in place a protocol for incidents that may involve Indigenous communities in one way or another.

Whenever possible, a member of the program leads or participates in investigations involving or having an impact upon Indigenous peoples or communities to ensure that investigations are conducted with respect and sensitivity.

Under the SIU Act, the SIU Director may enter into agreements with a First Nations Police Services in Ontario for the purpose of conducting or assisting with oversight investigations.

Data Collection Under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017

Racism can be overt and easy to recognize, or it can be more subtle and pervasive. Systemic racism occurs when institutions create or perpetuate racial inequality through policies, procedures or practices that have the effect of privileging or disadvantaging people based on race. This can occur even where policies, procedures or practices appear neutral.

On October 1, 2020, the SIU began collecting personal information from complainants and subject officials about their age, Indigenous identity, ethnic origin, race, religion and gender identity. This collection of personal information is part of the Ontario government’s initiative to address systemic racism within the justice sector. Other agencies such as those involved in bail and policing will be collecting similar data.

Race-based data collection, analysis and reporting is authorized under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017, which has the goal of eliminating systemic racism and advancing racial equity.

The SIU’s objectives when collecting race-based data are to:
  1. Identify and monitor potential racial disparity in access to the SIU’s services and outcomes;
  2. Increase transparency and accountability through public reporting;
  3. Identify and remove barriers within the SIU; and
  4. Publish de-identified data for the purpose of informing the evaluation, management and improvement of policing in Ontario.

Section 4: Environmental Scan and Risks

External Factors

  • SIU Act– There will likely be an increase in investigative caseload due to the addition of special constables employed by the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service. Also, firearms discharges at persons cases will increase the caseload. The Toronto Police Service indicates that prior to COVID, their service alone was responsible for approximately 200 of these cases per year.
  • Entering into agreements with third parties would entail moving SIU resources away from their core mandate, thereby creating a potential resource issue.
  • Section 35 (1) of the SIU Act, requiring, “The SIU Director shall endeavour to ensure that, no later than 120 days after the commencement of an investigation under this Act into the conduct of an official,
    1. the investigation is concluded; and
    2. public notice is given under subsection 33 (1) or 34 (1),” poses potential resource risks.
  • Increased public scrutiny of policing and policing oversight world-wide in the wake of the tragic death of George Floyd in the United States of America in the summer of 2020. These protests, overall scrutiny and lack of trust by some in Director’s decisions by those who are concerned about police use of force continues to this day and will well into the future. The expectations of the public on how the SIU carries out its jurisdiction has intensified.
  • COVID-19 and impact on investigations and continuation of certain investigative efficiencies (e.g. audio/video witness interviews, etc).

Internal Factors

  • Demographics of current forensic investigators and the ability to hire into the future (changes in policing from forensic investigators to scenes of crime officers).
  • Environment of governmental financial restraint will continue to drive the need for efficiencies in all aspects of SIU operations.
  • Enhancing the Affected Persons Program from current SIU resources on a pilot basis and issues associated with future funding if the enhanced program continues past the pilot phase.  

Section 5: Strategic Directions and Implementation Plan

On March 26, 2019, the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019 (COPS Act) was passed into law. The COPS Act included a new standalone statute, the SIU Act, which came into force on December 1, 2020.

The SIU Act continues the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) as a unit outside of the Ministry of the Attorney General. The SIU will continue to operate at arm’s length from the Ministry and as a part of the Crown; however, it is classified as an agency, accountable to the government through the ministry.

The SIU has and will continue to be subject to all statutory requirements and applicable directives set out by Treasury Board/Management Board of Cabinet.

These statutes and directives include, but are not limited to, the following:

Agencies and Appointments Directive;
Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2006;
Anti-Racism Act, 2017;
Business Planning and Allocations Directive;
Archives and Recordkeeping Act, 2006;
Emergency Management and Civil Protection Act;
Financial Administration Act;
Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act;
French Language Services Act;
Government Publications Directive;
Management Board of Cabinet Act;
Ministry of Treasury and Economics Act;
Pay Equity Act;
Procurement Directive;
Public Service of Ontario Act, 2006;
Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act; and
Travel, Meal and Hospitality Expenses Directive and its Addendum.

Section 6: Staffing, Human Resources, and Compensation Strategy

All SIU staff are considered government public servants and are compensated according to the Compensation and Pay Directives issued by Treasury Board, Government of Ontario. The SIU currently has a total of 71 full time equivalents (FTEs).

This is an image of the SIU Organization Chart. 

o	At the top is the Director.
o	The Deputy Director and the Executive Officer both report to the Director.
o	Those who report to the Deputy Director are two counsels, the Communications Coordinator, and the Outreach Coordinator.
o	Those who report to the Executive Officer includes the Manager of Business Operations, four Investigative Managers, two Forensic Identification Managers, the Manager of Affected Persons, as well as the Training Coordinator.
o	Fifteen full-time Investigators and 39 Regional Investigators report to the Investigative Managers.
o	Ten Forensic Identification Investigators report to the Forensic Identification Managers.
o	The Affected Persons Coordinator reports to the Manager of Affected Persons.
o	Those who report to the Manager of Business Operations includes the Administrative Manager, Administrative Coordinator, Executive Secretary, Budget, Purchasing and Inventory Control, Systems Analyst, Administrative Secretary, Administrative Services Support, and Receptionist.
o	Those who report to the Administrative Manager are the Administrative Secretary-Investigations, two transcribers, Investigative Records Centre Coordinator, and the Central Registry Clerk.
o	The Administrative Secretary-Investigations reports to the Administrative Manager but will also assist the Forensic Identification Managers. 
o	The Secretary-Director’s Office will assist the Administrative Coordinator.

Section 7: Information Technology (IT) / Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) Plan

Investigative Support System (ISS)

The SIU will continue to make changes to the ISS in order to respond to new legislation.

Keeping up with technology

The SIU is and will be addressing:
  • Increasing the volume of its server space; and
  • Finding more efficient ways of sharing electronic documents between the SIU and third parties.

Section 8: Initiatives Involving Third Parties

Section 10 of the SIU Act states, “The SIU Director may, subject to any prescribed conditions or restrictions, enter into agreements with a First Nation in Ontario, the Government of Canada, the government of another province or territory of Canada, a Canadian municipality outside Ontario or any other entity outside Ontario, for the purpose of conducting or assisting with investigations.”

The Director will use discretion when entering into agreements of this nature and will consider any resourcing issues associated with this initiative.

As always, the SIU will enter into and pursue research collaborations/opportunities with respect to its investigative data as long as agreements are in place concerning privacy and confidentiality.

Section 9: Communication Plan

Maintaining and enhancing the community’s confidence in law enforcement bodies in Ontario is an important part of the SIU’s mission, and this is facilitated through effective communications.

The SIU’s Communications and Outreach branches are responsible for many services, including:
  • Preparing and issuing news releases;
  • Fielding and responding to media inquiries;
  • Acting as the spokesperson for the SIU through phone/TV/radio/print interviews;
  • Designing and implementing strategies/messaging for various issues;
  • Monitoring media for news relevant to the SIU;
  • Twitter: posting tweets, responding to messages, monitoring;
  • Compiling statistics;
  • Educating the public and law enforcement agencies about the SIU through presentations;
  • Producing informational videos;
  • Assistance in writing and tracking of Director’s Reports;
  • Maintaining website;
  • Involvement with First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program and Director’s Resource Committee;
  • Producing annual report;
  • Preparing various documents (e.g. SIU brochures) and translating all documents;
  • Writing flyers appealing for witnesses;
  • Event management; and
  • Maintaining and developing positive relationships with media contacts and liaisons. 

Overlying Goal

The goal of the Communications and Outreach branches of the SIU is to increase confidence in the SIU by the public, and to increase awareness of the agency across Ontario.

A comprehensive communications and outreach plan keeps the public informed of SIU investigations and assists the SIU in achieving its goal of transparency through public reporting. A communications and outreach plan also provides a detailed protocol for how specific decisions are communicated to whom, by whom, when and by what means. This requires the SIU to consider strategic communications more broadly than interaction with the media.

This long-range strategic planning document, will plan and forecast projects and communications / outreach activities over the coming years.

Informing Media On Cases

By the very nature of what the SIU investigates, the media is understandably interested in being kept up to date. This is the case with all types of media (print, radio, TV, web) across all of Ontario.

Current Practices
In general, once the SIU has invoked its mandate, the SIU Communications Coordinator (CC) is responsible for deciding the appropriate response.

News Releases
In all death cases, firearm injury cases and other high profile cases, a news release is issued at the beginning of the investigation, and again at the end of the investigation. The news release is posted on the SIU website, emailed to ‘subscribers’ and sent out as a tweet. For cases that do not get a news release, information is shared with media who make inquiries.

When a news release is required for a case in the initial stages, the CC consults with the lead investigator and his/her supervisor. The SIU Director, Executive Officer and Counsel will be involved if the case may be controversial. Information issued in the news release generally includes:
  • A general description of the nature of the incident (e.g. shooting, physical altercation);
  • When and where incident occurred;
  • Identification of the police agency involved;
  • Number of SIU investigators deployed; and
  • The condition of the affected person.
To keep the public informed of significant developments relating to an investigation, an updated news release may also be sent, if:
  • A complainant who was previously injured dies as a result of his or her injuries;
  • Permission was granted to release the name of the complainant;
  • There is a public interest in the release of further details;
  • Initial information was incorrect; or
  • SIU investigators are attempting to locate and identify witnesses who may have information pertinent to an SIU investigation.
For cases that get a final news release (and no charges are laid), a brief news release is posted to the website and social media with a link to the Director’s Report.

In order to promote transparency, investigations that are terminated because the mandate of the SIU was not engaged, including instances in which it was determined that no serious injury was sustained, the SIU issues a news release. This practice was initiated in the summer of 2017.

News releases are also issued in cases where a charge(s) was/were laid. This will include a brief synopsis of the incident, the name of the official being charged, charges laid and information regarding the next court appearance.


Twitter was implemented as a communications tool in January 2013. To date, the SIU has more than 13,000 followers and has put out more than 2500 tweets. Tweets are sent to: inform the public about news releases and Director’s Reports, appeal for witnesses, direct individuals to documents such as annual reports, and promote outreach activities. Where appropriate, responses are provided to members of the public who have questions or who have made comments.


The CC provide interviews to the media via phone/email/radio/TV as soon as possible, and on an ongoing basis. The information shared with media is consistent with what would normally go in our news releases. For cases that do not get a news release, the same quality of information is shared.

Looking Forward

Strategy: To improve the quality and quantity of information we share with the media

Objective: News releases are done for high profile cases. It’s important that we make it easy for the public/media to find information on cases that are not high profile.

Tactics: Document cases on a Status of SIU Cases page, which will allow the public to track investigations. This should be updated daily.

Objective: Going to scenes to do media interviews is not always feasible due to issues such as distance, timing or case type. An on-camera presence is necessary at times, and alternatives should be found.

Tactics: Videotaped news releases. As was done in the Manitoulin case (20-PFD- 314), this would allow us to provide media interviews without having to go to the scene. These clips could be embedded in our news releases and posted on Twitter, allowing interested media to use these for their television or radio broadcasts. For video news releases to be done by the communications coordinator without help, a tripod and an iPhone would be required. While the quality would be better with a proper video camera and a camera operator, this isn’t feasible during COVID-19.

Another option is to do interviews via Zoom, a practice that became increasingly popular during COVID-19.

When reporters request interviews and the communications coordinator isn’t able to make it to the scene, interviews can be done at Mississauga SIU headquarters.

Informational Video Series


Video is considered to be one of the most powerful marketing tools on the internet.

YouTube is the second largest Web search engine after Google. YouTube has over one billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and everyday people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube. Some reasons why people watch video are:
  • FAST & CONVENIENT: For some people, watching 2-3 minutes of video is more feasible than spending 15-20 minutes reading text. Watching the message needs little attention, can better retain people and can be easier to understand.
  • BUILDS TRUST: Video enables an organization to reinforce messages with intonation, eye contact and phrasing that clarifies your intentions. Some are more trusting of an organization that takes the time and effort to produce marketing messages.
  • GREATER REACH: Video marketing allows you to reach out to many people within a short time period because videos can be added to a website, posted to several online video sites (such as YouTube), emailed, tweeted and distributed in other formats.
Current Practices

The SIU shares information with the media/public through news releases, information via phone/email, outreach events, website content, brochures. The SIU had created six informational videos that were posted to the website, but these were taken down on December 1, 2020 when new legislation rendered them out-of-date.

Looking Forward

Strategy: To supplement our current communications and outreach efforts to enhance public understanding

Objective: Leverage the power of short videos to answer questions frequently asked by people about the SIU, and to provide explanations for many of the misunderstandings surrounding the Unit.

  • Determine the look and feel of the videos
  • Will the videos be randomly distributed, or on some type of schedule?
  • List video topics that are general in nature
  • Acquire the equipment needed to shoot and edit the videos
  • Determine options for disseminating the videos
  • Develop a marketing approach

Sharing Best Practices With Other Law Enforcement


The Ontario Media Relations Officers Network (OMRON) is a committee of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police which meets three to four times a year for a two day meeting to discuss a wide variety of issues pertaining to best practices in media relations. It is comprised of approximately 30 media relations officers from across Ontario.

Objective: Improve our relationship (from a communications perspective) with police media relations departments across the province. Sharing ideas could result in the SIU benefiting from ideas that could be implemented here.

  • Attend OMRON meetings at least once a year
  • Review the OMRON handbook and make suggestions regarding the SIU chapter of the book
  • Bring up concerns to the group (e.g. police putting too much information in news releases where the SIU is involved)

Oversight Bodies

At this time, there are seven civilian police oversight agencies in Canada. They are:
  • Ontario Special Investigations Unit
  • Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team
  • Manitoba Independent Investigations Unit
  • Alberta Serious Incident Response Team
  • British Columbia Independent Investigations
  • Quebec Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes
  • Newfoundland Serious Incident Response Team
Objective: Share best practices with other civilian law enforcement agencies across Canada.

  • A group of communications professionals from each of the oversight bodies was created in May of 2018. The group should continue to meet multiple times a year (by teleconference/videoconference/in-person) to discuss a wide variety of issues pertaining to best practices in media relations.
  • Set aside time at each CACOLE conference to discuss issues.

Website Content


The SIU website can be a valuable tool to assist the SIU in achieving its goal of transparency through public reporting.

On December 1, 2020, the SIU launched its new website to coincide with the SIU Act taking effect. It can be found here:

Some features include:
  • A sleek and modern look and feel with vivid photos spread throughout;
  • Intuitive and clear navigation to make it easier for visitors to find the information they need quickly and easily;
  • Easier access from a home page carousel to frequently visited pages (Case Status, News Releases, Director’s Reports);
  • Mobile-optimized to accommodate the growing number of people who use mobile phones to access the internet. The design adapts to whichever screen the website is being browsed on (e.g. computer, phone, etc.);
  • Social media integration; and
  • Accessible to all users.
The Status of Cases page has become a popular tool for police services and the media to track investigations, and can be found here:

Numerous court decisions, civil cases and reviews over three decades have played an important role in shaping the manner in which the SIU conducts its business, and more broadly the area of civil oversight of policing. A page consolidating this information can be found here:

An Occurrences page was also created:

Current Practices

The website provides the SIU with the opportunity to educate the public about its organizational profile, investigations, publications and media releases. The SIU website invites feedback from the public and provides the public with the means to contact the SIU.

Looking Forward

Strategy: To ensure the website reflects the most current actions of the SIU

Objective: Ensure that the website content is kept current.

Many of our website pages are static, as the information generally is always the same. The only page that is updated on a regular basis is the Media Centre as news releases regarding cases are being posted on a regular basis.

  • For pages that change frequently (status of cases page and breakdown of occurrences), the backend of the website should be updated daily.
  • Seek feedback from staff, as well as investigate feedback provided by members of the public via email/social media/phone/in-person.
  • The website pages should be reviewed on a monthly basis to ensure links are working accurately and images are not out-dated.

Annual Reports


In keeping with its goal of transparency through public reporting, the SIU provides the public appropriate information of its general operations through annual reports and special reports where necessary and appropriate.

Current Practices

The SIU’s Annual Report, based on the fiscal year, includes the following information:
  • Director’s Message
  • Legal Developments
  • Conferences
  • Community News
  • Profile
  • Internal Changes
  • Cases at a Glance
  • Statistics and Financials
Looking Forward

Strategy: Transform the annual report into a highly relevant and informative document for the public.

Objective: Ensure release of the Annual Report in a timely manner, by June of each year.

  • A timeline should be completed in early February, and content determined.
  • Deadline set to receive all content by the first week of April.
  • All pertinent statistics sent to Graphics for proper layout.
  • A draft of the annual report to be circulated for review, with a two-week deadline to submit comments.
  • In early May, final document to be sent to Graphics and to translator. Edits to be made where necessary.
  • Accessible version of the report to be drafted for website porting.
  • Ascertain the Annual Report is ready to print by end of May.

Outreach to The Public


Maintaining and enhancing the public’s confidence in the law enforcement services of Ontario is an important part of the SIU’s mission. This is accomplished to the extent that the community understands and has trust in the work of the SIU as a civilian oversight body. Outreach is essential in building confidence in civilian oversight and law enforcement accountability with both law enforcement services and community members in Ontario.

The SIU’s outreach efforts aim to:
  • Increase awareness of the SIU and its mandate.
  • Enhance confidence in the integrity of the SIU in conducting independent investigations.
  • Develop and strengthen stakeholder networks.
  • Encourage the public to report incidents and support the investigation process.
  • Encourage constructive scrutiny of its operations.
  • Increase opportunities for corporate learning and improvement.

Current Practices

The SIU’s stakeholder network is comprised of many groups and organizations which can be categorized into four main groups: law enforcement services, community members and organizations, media, and academia. Outreach is conducted to these groups in various ways:
  • Information/education sessions
  • Community events
  • Trade Show participation
  • Consultations and purposeful meetings
Looking Forward

Strategy: Increase awareness of the SIU and its mandate among the people of Ontario

  1. Develop and deliver outreach initiatives specific to each target group.
  2. Create information materials such as brochures translated into different languages for easy understanding by newcomers to Ontario.
  3. Proactively participate in various community events, trade shows and reach out to diverse members of society to deliver education/information sessions.

Target the following groups for engagement:
  • Community/advocacy groups
  • Indigenous communities
  • Youth groups, high school and college students
  • New immigrant groups
  • Universities and colleges that deliver police foundations programs, other justice related courses and community and social services programs
  • Law schools and legal clinics
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Hospital personnel
  • Disadvantaged communities/groups

Director’s Resource Committee

The Director’s Resource Committee (DRC), chaired by the SIU Director, is a key instrument for the SIU in seeking community consultation and support. The DRC is comprised of representatives of various ethnic and racial groups in Ontario.

Objective: To foster regular communications and provide a forum for community contact with members who can provide the Director with constructive advice on SIU related issues.

It is conceived that the Committee would focus its discussions and advice in two general subject areas:
  • General Operations – To provide advice and/or comments in respect of the meeting of community expectations and needs; and,
  • Specific Issues – To provide advice and/or comments regarding topical non-case specific matters related to the SIU that may be of interest or concern to members of the community.

First Nations, Inuit And Métis Liaison Program

The SIU’s Outreach program continues to identify opportunities for relationship building and engagement with the Indigenous peoples of Ontario.

Objective: Enhance the First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program (FNIMLP) to increase awareness and continue building relationships with First Nations communities.

  • Proactively engage the Indigenous leaders in dialogue to establish relationships.
  • Develop an outreach program specific to the needs of Indigenous communities.
  • Participate in Indigenous activities and events in order to increase acceptance in the community (e.g. Pow Wow celebrations, National Indigenous Peoples Day, art festivals, conferences, etc.).
  • SIU team to attend a workshop to learn about Indigenous practices and protocols.

Section 10: Diversity and Inclusion Plan

As the communities we serve continue to grow and change, the SIU must endeavour to reflect the public it serves. With more than 13 million residents speaking 200 languages, Ontario has the most culturally diverse population in Canada.

The SIU aims to establish an open, equitable and respectful workplace where all staff members participate fully and take part in the development of programs and services to meet the needs and expectations of Ontarians.

It is important for the SIU to create an atmosphere where employees feel valued, ideas are heard and respected. Employees are more engaged in an environment that is inclusive. The result is a better performing organization.


Diversity refers to the existence of variations of different characteristics in a group of people. These can be along the dimensions of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, age, physical or mental abilities, religious/spiritual beliefs, or political ideologies.

is a sense of belonging. It is an organisational effort and practices in which different groups or individuals having different backgrounds are culturally and socially accepted and welcomed, and equally treated.

is fairness, making sure everyone has what they need to succeed and removing barriers that disadvantage some groups over others.

Anti-racism is a practice that rejects the supremacy of one racial group over another and a belief that recognizes pervasive racism in society, and actively combats racial prejudice and discrimination in order to promote racial justice and equality.

Accessibility is ensuring that people of all abilities have barrier–free access to physical spaces, products, programs and services, as well as employment opportunities.

How Does Diversity Work?

  • Diverse Talent - better represents the public we serve in management and staff
  • Responsive Public Service - creates equitable policies, programs and services
  • Greater Collaboration - enables creativity and innovation in the way we work
  • Diversity of Thought & Experience - thrive in an inclusive workplace
In advancing diversity and inclusion, the SIU will apply key approaches:
  • Creating a positive, respectful and inclusive workplace which includes reviewing policies, processes, practices, services, programs as applicable.
  • Improve talent acquisition and retention processes to have a workforce that would reflect the communities served by the Unit.
  • Build knowledge and capacity of employees to help foster positive, respectful and inclusive work experiences.
What will we do?
  • Identify and confront potential bias and systemic barriers in recruitment, hiring and promotion.
  • Incorporate equity assessments in policy and program development and business practices.
  • Strengthen SIU stakeholder engagement capacity and improve organizational collaboration to deliver on new diversity and inclusion priorities.
What will success look like?
  • SIU employees can see themselves reflected in their senior leaders.
  • SIU management team model inclusive behaviour; seek feedback and embrace a diversity of viewpoints and perspectives from their teams.
  • SIU staff have access to inclusion, diversity, anti-racism and accessibility training that is engaging, practical and relevant to their work.
  • Employee voices are an essential part of the continuous development and improvement of the SIU policies and programs.

Section 11: Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

The SIU is committed to creating an accessible organization by removing barriers for people with disabilities whether they work in the SIU, do business with the Unit or are members of the public who use our services.

Statement of Commitment

The SIU is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. The Unit believes in integration and equal opportunity. We are committed to meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and O. Reg. 191/11 Integrated Accessibility Standards (IASR) which reaffirms the government’s commitment to accessibility across the OPS.

The SIU aims to provide its services in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) and the accessibility standards made under the AODA and IASR.

Accessibility Policies

The SIU is committed to ensuring equal access to justice for all Ontarians. This includes providing services and programs that people with disabilities can use and benefit from equally and free from discrimination. To support this, the ministry has established policies, procedures and processes. The SIU has adopted the OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy.

Additional guidance on accessibility may be incorporated into general program or service policies and practices.

The SIU’s Multi-Year Accessibility Plan describes how the Unit plans to meet the requirements of the AODA. The Act requires that Ontario become an accessible province by 2025. Accordingly, we plan to identify, prevent and remove barriers to accessibility in the following areas:
  • Customer Service
  • Information and Communications
  • Employment
  • Built Environment
Customer Service

SIU has adopted the OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy. The SIU seeks to provide and deliver accessible customer service supportive of persons with disabilities. The SIU is committed to providing accessible customer service policies, practices and procedures based on the principles of dignity, respect, independence, integration and equal opportunity to ensure our staff and persons with disabilities we serve receive the same quality and timely service as others.

The Unit plans to undertake the following:
  • Review and update policies and standards regularly to ensure high quality, accessible customer service.
  • Ensure ongoing training of employees and those who interact with the public or other third parties as outlined in the customer service standard.
  • Establish a process for stakeholders to provide feedback on how the SIU provides services to persons with disabilities and how the SIU will respond to any feedback and take action on any complaints.
  • Make the information about our feedback process readily available to the public.
  • Embed accessibility requirements into staff training and orientation materials.
Under the Customer Service Standards of the IASR, the SIU must provide notices to the public about temporary disruptions to accessibility-related services and facilities. This includes planned or unplanned disruptions that are building-related, such as with accessible washrooms or elevators, and disruptions related to assistive devices, such as with assistive listening devices. This process outlines how SIU will provide notice to customers in the event of such disruptions to services. Sample protocols and notices are included.

Information regarding Service Disruption must also be communicated to staff in the event of a service disruption. E-mails can be sent through group distribution to notify internal resources. Sample wording for the e-mail:

We are currently experiencing a service disruption at (location name/address) for the (service: entry doors, parking, washrooms, etc). We are monitoring the situation and will keep you updated on the status.

Information and Communication

The SIU is committed to meeting the information and communication needs of persons with disabilities. This includes websites, intranet sites, communications materials, telephone communications and face-to-face interactions. The goal is to achieve the most effective and efficient access to information for all users.
  • Achieve compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines-based (WCAG) commitments in the Information and Communication section of the IASR to ensure websites are accessible for all. The current SIU website was re-developed in 2020 and currently conforms to the WCAG 2.0 A criterion.
  • Develop guidelines and best practices for creating accessible documents for common desktop applications such as MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Provide accessible formats and communications supports as quickly as possible when a person with a disability asks for them.
  • Provide information on the Unit’s emergency procedures, plans, and public safety, in a variety of alternate formats such as large print, HTML and tagged PDFs or with appropriate communication supports as soon as practicable, upon request.
  • Train staff in recognizing information and communication accessibility barriers and to create documents in accessible formats.

Emergency Preparedness – Procedures, Plans & Information

The SIU is committed to providing its clients with publicly available emergency information in an accessible way upon request. We will also provide employees with disabilities with individualized emergency response information on an ongoing basis, if necessary.

In accordance with the Regulation, the SIU will continue to ensure, that any information about emergency procedures, plans or public safety that it prepares and makes available to the public is provided upon request in an accessible format.

Notice of Service Disruptions – In the event of a temporary disruption that impedes or limits a person with a disability from gaining access to SIU services, Notice of Service Disruptions will be posted including details of alternative service options in the following method/places:

  • Notices on Entrance Doors
  • Telephone Automated Voice Recordings
  • Website


The SIU is committed to integrating fair and accessible employment practices to attract, retain and accommodate employees with disabilities throughout all stages of an employment life cycle. We are dedicated to removing accessibility barriers to create an inclusive workplace environment where all employees can reach their full potential.

Recruitment - The SIU will integrate accessibility into its existing recruitment employment practices. We will take the following steps to notify the public and staff that, when requested, the SIU will accommodate persons with disabilities during the recruitment, assessment, and training processes when staff is hired and throughout their employment.
  • Ensure all SIU job ads indicate that the SIU is an equal opportunity employer.
  • Accommodations policies and procedures, to meet Accessibility standards for interviews and employment assessment tests for applicants with a disability.
  • Inquire about applicant’s specific accommodation requirements which are necessary for them.
  • Notify job applicants in the selection process that accommodations are available upon request relative to materials or processes to be used.

Procurement SIU is committed to integrating accessibility criteria into its procurement processes. SIU is aware of and understands the need to demonstrate leadership in removing barriers for persons with disabilities. Procurement staff will receive training on identifying, integrating, and incorporating accessibility considerations into the Unit’s procurement practices when procuring for goods, services or facilities maintenance utilizing OPS procurement resources. Our procurement practices will incorporate any new requirements mandated by government.

Built Environment

The SIU is committed to improving accessibility for all staff and the public in the SIU’s built environment by 2025. To date, the SIU has revised its floor plan to allow for accessibility, installed automatic activator buttons to assist in opening the front entry, washrooms and internal corridors doors. Additionally, the SIU has ensured there are a number of accessible parking spaces with ramps by the front entrance to the building.


  • Enhanced accessibility as it relates to communication supports, formats, and websites and web content.
  • SIU staff have the tools and resources to effectively develop information and communications in accessible formats.
Customer Service:
  • All stakeholders receive an equitable and effective customer experience that accommodates their needs.
Information and Communication:
  • Staff and customers receive equal and timely access to the information and communications materials they require,
  • Development of individual workplace emergency-response plan for employees with disabilities.
  • Employment-related policies and procedures are reviewed to ensure they meet legislated requirements.
  • Recruitment, retention and career development programs and processes are barrier-free.
  • Accommodation for disabilities is offered and provided as required.
  • The SIU benefits from the increased awareness and responsiveness by procurement vendors in adopting accessibility measures.
Built Environment:
  • Elimination of physical barriers to the SIU for staff and members of the public.

Section 12: Three-year Financial Plan

Expense Category 2020-21 Budget 2020-21 YE Forecast Explanation of Variance 2021-22 Budget 2022-23 Budget 2023-24 Budget
Salaries and Wages (S&W) 8.3921 6.7000 * 8.4965 8.5201 8.5615
Benefits 1.1045 0.8375 * 1.1350 1.1422 1.1469
ODOE .5029 1.1361 .5029 .5029 .5029
Transportation and Communications (T&C) .215 .1968 * .215 .215 .215
Services .2262 .8575 * .2262 .2262 .2262
Supplies and Equipment (S&E) .0617 0.0818 * .617 .617 .617
TOTAL Operating $9.9995 $8.6736 * $10.1074 $10.1652 $10.2113

* Salaries & Wages/Benefits:
Savings from efficiencies realized in the deploying and assigning of work to investigative staff (i.e. call outs, use of technical resources for virtual meetings, investigative interviews, and for collection of investigative data/work product). Expenditure freeze has led to additional savings. Reduction in work related travel time associated with in-person interviews, hospital visits, etc. due to COVID.

Transportation & Communication – Pressures:
By using audio-conference, telecommunications services & resources to conduct investigative business, meetings, training, etc., mitigates additional potential pressures in T&C (e.g. road, mileage, vehicle rental, accommodation, meals, etc.).

Services – Pressures:
  • Mandatory translation of Director's Reports;
  • Additional translation costs for revised SIU Outreach Brochures and website as a result of New Legislation - SIU Act, 2019;
  • Various information technology pressures related to WAN, LAN and RAS Management Fees, Network Services – for the SIU Investigative Support System, User Seat charges (email services, desktop, monitors, notebook mobile workstations, tablet services) and Server Hosting.
  • Mandatory external Exhibit Storage Room Audit (every 5 years)
  • Other Pressures associated with Investigative Training required under SIU Act, 2019, Crash Data Software License Renewals.
Supplies & Equipment:
COVID-19 pressures to supply personal protective equipment to investigative staff when field work is required.

Section 13: Performance Measures and Targets

Performance Measure and Targets 2021-2022 2022-2023 2023-2024
Meeting the 120-day threshold in all non-death and non-charge cases 75% 75% 75%
The conduct of highly professional criminal investigations:
  • All SIU staff have updated performance and learning plans
100% 100% 100%
  • Cultural competency of all staff – include a cultural competency component in all internal SIU training seminars (minimum 1 Indigenous per session)
100% 100% 100%
The affected persons program will be engaged in all death and sexual assault cases 100% 100% 100%
Communications – media releases at minimum at the beginning and end of all firearms and death cases 100% 100% 100%
3 DRC meetings per year 100% 100% 100%
Outreach presentations 10 times per month with community/law enforcement groups 100% 100% 100%