News & Events News & Announcements 2014 Toronto Police use of force report released

Toronto Police use of force report released

Yesterday morning, the Honourable Frank Iacobucci, former Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada, presented his independent report on lethal police encounters with people in crisis to Chief Blair.
The report, “Police Encounters with People in Crisis,” is the product of the Independent Review of the Use of Lethal Force by the Toronto Police Service (TPS), led by Mr. Iacobucci and established by Chief Blair in August 2013 following the shooting death of Sammy Yatim in an encounter with the Toronto Police. Since that tragic incident, three investigations/reviews have been launched into police use-of-force – by the Ontario Ombudsman, the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD), and an internal investigation for the Toronto Police Service (TPS) led by Justice Iacobucci. SSO participated in the ombudsman’s investigation and provided feedback to support the internal review of TPS use of lethal force.
The recommendations in this new report, if implemented, will help to ensure better police interactions with people with mental health issues and have broader implications for other police services across the province. The SSO is particularly pleased that our call to expand the use of Mobile Crisis Intervention Teams (MCIT); enhance de-escalation training and approaches for police officers; implement a “zero-harm” approach; and foster greater partnerships with community organizations, were reflected in Justice Iacobucci’s report. While SSO supports a majority of the recommendations in this report, we have serious concerns with recommendations for the expanded use of conducted energy weapons (e.g. tasers), considering lack of independent scientific and medical reviews of safety of these weapons and proven lethal consequences of deployment of CEWs. We will continue our work with TPS and justice stakeholders to support development of comprehensive and collaborative processes for better interactions between police and individuals with mental health issues.
To read our submission for the Iacobucci investigation, click here.