New Ontario Provincial Police Detachment Boards: Building a Framework for Better Policing Governance
Police service boards are the vital link between the police and democratic governance. This is just as true for municipalities who contract with the Ontario Provincial Police for public safety services.
The government has launched a consultation with municipalities on re-constituting OPP Detachment Boards. With all governments now seized with COVID-19 emergency response, all consultations on new policing regulations have now ceased. The immediate public health crisis is the first priority of the provincial and municipal governments. Consideration of the issues raised in this paper, New Ontario Provincial Police Detachment Boards: Building a Framework for Better Policing Governance, must not distract from that priority. However, policing regulation discussions will resume at some point in the months ahead. It remains valuable for municipalities to consider what the future of police governance should look like once that conversation restarts.
At present, OPP boards are aligned within existing municipal boundaries. In the future, the government is aiming to create regional or detachment-based boundaries for boards (with some exceptions). However, the details of these new boards have not been determined. This is an opportunity for municipalities to provide input to the government on board boundaries, the size and composition of those boards, and whether provincial appointees continue to be made.
The government has not made any decisions on these issues. If any municipal council or a group of councils has suggestions on how these boards should be established, this is an opportunity to put those ideas forward.
This paper is not an exhaustive list of issues presented by the establishment of new OPP detachment boards. Rather it is intended to help guide municipal input to the Ministry and lay the groundwork for a successful transition to new boards. It asserts a number of key principles to inform the discussion and attempts to lay the framework for the future of successful OPP governance at a local or regional level.