Ontario Ombudsman to Investigate Special Investigations Unit

Ontario Ombudsman to Investigate Special Investigations Unit

June 7, 2007

7 June, 2007

Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today announced the launch of a systemic investigation into the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU). The SIU is the civilian agency responsible for probing police actions involving serious injury or death of members of the public. The SIU reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General.

TORONTO (June 7, 2007) – Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today announced the launch of a systemic investigation into the province’s Special Investigations Unit (SIU). The SIU is the civilian agency responsible for probing police actions involving serious injury or death of members of the public. The SIU reports to the Ministry of the Attorney General.

“Recently, I have observed a troubling increase in complaints about the SIU, all raising serious allegations that cannot be ignored,” explained Mr. Marin. “Given the pivotal role of the SIU as part of our justice system, I have notified the Director of the SIU and the Attorney General of my intention to investigate.”

The investigation will focus on the operational effectiveness and credibility of the SIU. Complaints to the Ombudsman by lawyers, interest groups and some individuals have raised a number of concerns about how SIU investigations are conducted. Some complaints involve allegations of delay in occurrences being reported to and investigated by the SIU. Complainants have suggested that investigations lacked objectivity and were less than thorough. Concerns have also been raised about a lack of information being provided to victims and families, particularly after investigations have been closed.

“This is just the start of the investigation and we have not reached any conclusions on these matters,” the Ombudsman emphasized, “so I am inviting members of the public who may have information relevant to the investigation to contact the Special Ombudsman Response Team.”

The Ombudsman’s investigation will focus on the period subsequent to February 2003, when former judge George Adams issued his report on the status of SIU reforms that were implemented after consultations with police and community groups in 1997 and 1998.

The Special Ombudsman Response Team can be contacted by calling 1-866-623-SORT (7678) or using the online SORT Information Form at www.ombudsman.on.ca.