As reported in the January 23 issue of the Times, the Ontario government plans to introduce a new bill, entitled the Comprehensive Ontario Police Services Act, 2019, that would create the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 and the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 to repeal and replace the Police Services Act, 2018, and the Ontario Special Investigations Unit Act, 2018. The bill would also repeal the Policing Oversight Act, 2018, and the Ontario Policing Discipline Tribunal Act, 2018.
The Safer Ontario Act last year. First introduced by the previous Liberal Government in 2017, it received royal assent in March of 2018, and was scheduled to come into force next January. The terms of this Act had left local Police Services Boards unsure as to their future. There seemed to be a possibility that Boards, such as the one we have in North Grenville, could be amalgamated with others in the United Counties, with a resulting loss of influence and input for North Grenville in setting terms and costs of policing in our municipality.
Then, over the Christmas holidays, the Conservative Government announced that the scheduled date for implementing the Act was being revoked, and the legislation reviewed over the coming months. Now, the revised Act has been published, and Police forces and Police Services Boards are studying the text carefully to see what the changes made to the Act might imply.
To date, the focus of most scrutiny has been the clauses dealing with the Special Investigations Unit, mandated to investigate situations where police officers are involved in shootings, or other activities. The North Grenville Police Services Board is currently analysing the text of the revised Act to see what impact it will have on their concerns for the future, and it is expected that they will have a statement very soon.