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Ontario oversight agency investigating leadership of police force in Thunder Bay

ontario oversight agency investigating leadership of police force in thunder bay

The Ontario Civilian Police Commission announced Friday it is investigating the leadership of the Thunder Bay Police Service.

It marks the second investigation into the police service, and was announced over two weeks after Ontario’s solicitor general requested an investigation.

The civilian police commission said in a media statement it “has concerns about the Thunder Bay Police Service’s management of discipline in the police service, the conduct of criminal investigations by its officers, and the ability of senior leadership to administer the day-to-day operations of the police service in good faith and in compliance with the Police Services Act.”

The terms of reference for the investigation were also published Friday afternoon by Sean Weir, executive chair at Tribunals Ontario, which is home to the civilian police commission.

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What the commission is looking into

The commission is investigating:  

  • Allegations now-suspended Deputy Chief Ryan Hughes initiated a criminal investigation into sitting board member Georjann Morriseau without sufficient grounds, without Chief Sylvie Hauth’s knowledge and despite an apparent conflict of interest.

  • Allegations Hauth failed to appropriately address the actions by Hughes, “provided misinformation” to the police services board about that investigation, and failed to address allegations of misconduct by some members of the police force.

  • Allegations Hauth, Hughes and police lawyer Holly Walbourne “colluded” in their responses” to recent inquiries from the civilian police commission.

The terms of reference added that those allegations could amount to “serious misconduct” and “in the case of the chief, may constitute a failure to perform the duties” set out in the provincial Police Services Act.

The investigation will also “inquire into the administration” of the police service, given the alleged conduct and performance of the chief and deputy chief.

It is the responsibility of the police service board, which has recently come under scrutiny for its handling of the nine Ontario human rights complaints facing the police force, to hire and monitor the performance of the chief and deputy chief.

CBC News has reached out to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board and the police force for comment.

Previously, both the police services board and Hauth said in separate statements they would welcome involvement by the civilian police commission, and would cooperate with any investigations.




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