Regulatory body can appoint administrator to provide oversight during investigation into police misconduct.
Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – Police Commission – Judicial review – Procedural requirements and fairness – Standard of review – Reasonableness – Police – Professional misconduct or conduct unbecoming – Public interest
Durham Police Service v. Ontario Civilian Police Commission,  O.J. No. 1490, 2020 ONSC 1116, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, April 6, 2020, C.D. Aitken, L.A. Pattillo and M.A. Penny JJ.
In January 2019, the Solicitor General requested the Commission investigate the Durham Regional Police Service (the “Service”).
Based on findings regarding a “crisis of confidence” within the Service, the Commission determined the situation constituted an emergency. Following a without notice hearing the Commission made an interim order appointing an administrator to provide oversight under the Police Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P. 15.
The Service applied for judicial review of the order appointing the administrator.
The Divisional Court found the Commission’s decision was reasonable. The Commission made an interim order. The task at that stage was to determine whether there was prima facie misconduct and circumstances requiring interim measures to protect the public during the Commission’s investigation. There was evidence of flagrant or repeated failures to comply with prescribed policing standards and an emergency situation that satisfied the prima facie case standard.
The Divisional Court also found the Commission provided procedural fairness. In the context of a without notice hearing, the duty of procedural fairness requires the Commission to provide reasons, disclosure of the record, and the right to seek review of the decision. The Commission complied with those requirements.
The Court dismissed the application for judicial review.
This case was digested by Joel A. Morris, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Administrative Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Administrative Law Newsletter. If you would like to discuss this case further, please contact Joel A. Morris at email@example.com.