Doug Ford government to announce Police Services Act, Special Investigations Unit changes

The Ontario government is expected to outline its plan to drastically overhaul the Police Services Act, sources tell Global News.

Premier Doug Ford’s administration is also expected to give the province’s police watchdog, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU), increased powers as part of the new legislation.

Community Safety Minister Sylvia Jones and Attorney General Caroline Mulroney are scheduled to discuss the changes during a news conference at Halton Regional Police headquarters in Oakville Tuesday morning.

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“This legislation will help foster a culture of respect and fairness, while helping to make our communities safe places to live,” a government source not authorized to speak publicly told Global News on Monday.

“The SIU process will be streamlined, ensuring timeliness and accountability.”

In an interview with Global News, Toronto Police Association President Mike McCormack said he doesn’t know the exact details of the proposed legislation, but hopes there will be additional clarity on duties

“We want to see core policing and policing functions identified and enshrined within the Act so that there is clarity on what public policing should be and who should be providing it,” he said.

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When it comes to changes to the SIU, he said getting information out in a more timely fashion would be prudent. However, he said he doesn’t believe major transformation is needed.

“I think that the SIU, from an Association perspective, is something we accept in oversight. I don’t see that there was a need for robust changes to the SIU,” he said.

“For us when information is not out there it allows the public to speculate as to what some of the interactions are.”

Last year, then-premier Kathleen Wynne’s Liberal government passed Bill 175, called the “Safer Ontario Act,” which aimed to deliver a suite of policing changes. The bill to be introduced by the Ford government would override Bill 175.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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