The Thunder Bay Police Board was supposed to receive state-of-the-art training. 4 years later, it never happened


For the second time in four years, an independent expert panel released a report on policing in Thunder Bay, Ontario, and at the same time the expert panel chair revealed that a training recommendation key to 2018 had never seen the light of day.

The police board training module, called the Thunder Bay model, was have set a new standard for policing across Ontario.

But four years later, no such program exists.

Alok Mukherjee, chair of the nine-member task force recruited to restore confidence in the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, said the training was never developed after Murray Sinclair recommended it in his police report. 2018 for the Ontario Civilian Police Commission (OCPC).

Mukherjee made the revelation just ahead of Tuesday’s release of the expert panel report aimed at improving the state of policing in Thunder Bay. He is also calling on the Ontario government to develop new training for the police board.

The province halted a funding stream the Liberals committed for the Ontario Association of Police Services Boards (OAPSB) to develop training materials after the 2018 Progressive Conservative election, Mukherjee said.

The new members, who were appointed to the Thunder Bay Police Board in 2019 under provincially appointed administrator Thomas Lockwood, received training in Indigenous governance and culture, Mukherjee said.

But he said the province failed to fund the high-profile second round of training recommended by Sinclair and championed by Lockwood, and which came to be known as the Thunder Bay model.

No funding or tracking

“The follow-up never happened,” Mukherjee said. “That’s why we name OCPC in terms of training. OCPC must provide the necessary funding. “OCPC must ensure that the way the training ended and was not followed does not happen. again because the question of resources will always be there.”

Mukherjee said the result of not developing the Thunder Bay model has resulted in a failure to effectively train police board members far beyond Thunder Bay.

“It’s a topical issue and it’s a topic of conversation for the Canadian Police Governance Association and the provincial associations,” he said. “Board members find they are thrown off and the knowledge of the [police] the leader is here, and the board members are scrambling to figure out how to handle the governance of someone who is very well trained and resourced – and that’s not the case.”

Alok Mukherjee, chair of an independent panel advising the Thunder Bay Police Commission, says training that was supposed to be developed four years ago, based on a recommendation in Sinclair’s report, never happened. . (Submitted by Alok Mukherjee)

A spokesperson for the Ministry of the Attorney General declined an interview request from CBC News, but instead released a written statement.

The release said new regulations under the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 will require all police board members to complete mandatory training, which the province says it is developing with the province. ‘OAPSB.

“Our government is ensuring that members of police service boards receive the appropriate training they need to effectively carry out their responsibilities and duties,” the statement read in part. “The Ministry of the Solicitor General is preparing the required training and taking the time to finalize our government’s updated policing legislation and regulations.

Former president says council was set up to fail

In April, less than two years after the first administrator’s term ended, the province appointed a second administrator, Malcolm Mercer, to take over the power of Thunder Bay council to govern local police.

At the time, Courts Ontario executive chairman Sean Weir cited the board’s ineffectiveness and failure to comply with Sinclair’s recommendations among the reasons Ontario needed to step in again.

Following the appointment of Mercer as Chairman of the Board Kristen Oliver and the majority of the five board members have resigned. But without the promised training and support, she said the council was designed to fail.

“We as a board were never part of the Sinclair investigation, but we didn’t stand a chance early on,” Oliver said Wednesday in a written statement to CBC News. “We’ve been excluded from decision-making and then accused of willful blindness and inaction. You can’t suck and blow at the same time.”

Kristen Oliver resigned from her position on the Thunder Bay Police Oversight Board following the appointment of a trustee in April. (Logan Turner/CBC)

Michael Kempa, an associate professor of criminology at the University of Ottawa, said the decision to cut new training programs for the Thunder Bay council makes the province directly responsible for that council’s continued dysfunction.

“Murray Sinclair’s recommendation that there be adequate training for the Thunder Bay board is the cornerstone of his entire program to reform this police services board and their police service,” Kempa said.

“To do everything that Murray Sinclair recommended – redo recruiting, redo community policing, redo Indigenous community interactions – none of this will be done properly without the training.

“The second meltdown we’re seeing now in Thunder Bay is a direct result of one council failing to implement the rest of the reform program because they never received the training,” he said. he declares.

With the exception of the Toronto Police Services Board, no police board in Canada has adequate resources or adequate training to do the job, Kempa said.

He pointed to three decades of reports, dating back to the Ipperwash Inquiry, that have recommended better training for police board members as governance issues persist in various communities of all sizes across the country.


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