Canada: Courts will have to be cognizant of the “Jordan Clock” in all future matters

Update: see previous post – July 7, 2017 Sections 11(b)a> & 24(1) of the Charter and the SCC Jordan decision = 204 Court Cases Thrown Out

The Supreme Court of Canada, located in Ottawa, Ontario. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Section 11(b): Any person charged with an offence has the right “to be tried within a reasonable time”

In R. v. Jordan, 2016 SCC 27, [2016] 1 S.C.R. 631, this Court identified a culture of complacency towards delay in the criminal justice system. This culture was fostered by doctrinal and practical difficulties plaguing the analytical framework then applicable to the right of accused persons, guaranteed under s. 11 (b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms , to be tried within a reasonable time.

The Jordan decision handed down by the Supreme Court of Canada on July 8, 2016,  served as a wake-up call for all criminal courts in Canada and those who participate in it, in one way or another. It was not a unanimous decision by the Supreme Court justices, but 5 in favour and 4 against was sufficient enough to create new standards, consistent with an accused person’s right to a trial within a reasonable time within our criminal courts.

The Jordan decision, as it has come to be known, was issued on July 8, 2016, when the high court ruled the drug convictions in British Columbia of Barrett Richard Jordan must be set aside due to unreasonable delay.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court said the old means of determining whether proceedings had taken too long were inadequate. Under the new framework, unreasonable delay was to be presumed if proceedings topped 18 months in provincial court or 30 months in superior court.

Inside the Supreme Court of Canada’s courtroom. In July 2016 the Court handed down the Jordan decision which sets out the Jordan framework and sets a presumptive ceiling for hearings case in compliance with section 11(b) of the Charter to be:18 months Provincially and 30 months at Superior Court. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

This evolution should not have come as a surprise to any level of government.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms came into being on April 17, 1982. It forms the first part of the Constitution Act, 1982. Canadians needed this Charter, given the limitations and weaknesses of the Canadian Bill of Rights enacted by Parliament on August 10, 1960. The Bill of Rights provided Canadians with quasi-constitutional rights, but the courts were reluctant to declare laws inoperative.

Canadians needed the Charter and that is what we received over thirty-five (35) years ago.

The Supreme Court of Canada grappled with sections 11(b); and 24(1) of the Charter with the question of unreasonable delay in 1990 (27 years ago) in Askov et al. This was the first time that governments and courts were put on notice about unreasonable delays and the consequences associated with ignoring the Charter and their decisions related to it. Two years later in 1992 (some 25 years ago), Askov was followed by the Morin decision. The Morin decision has stood as the seminal decision related to the courts responsibility to move matters to trial quickly, without unreasonable delay in compliance with the accused rights under section 11(b); of the Charter.

This issue was first dealt with by the Supreme Court in 1990 in Askov et al and again in 1992 in Morin.

Canada has had 150 years to mature and the Jordan decision demands that we demonstrate our level of maturity, thirty-four (34) years after the Charter was signed into law by Queen Elizabeth II of Canada.

The doorway into the interior of the Supreme Court courtroom. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Canadians will have to adjust and adapt to the new Jordan framework.

The applicable presumptive ceiling set out in Jordan:

  • unreasonable delay was to be presumed if proceedings exceeded 18 months in provincial court, or
  • exceeded 30 months in superior court

This is what the Supreme Court said in a decision (R. v. Cody, 2017 SCC 31) released on June 16, 2017, some eleven (11) months after delivering the Jordan decision:

“After the total delay from the charge to the actual or anticipated end of trial is calculated under the Jordan framework, delay attributable to the defence must be subtracted. Defence delay is divided into two components: delay waived by the defence and delay caused by defence conduct. The only deductible defence delay under the latter component is that which is solely or directly caused by the accused person and flows from defence action that is illegitimate insomuch as it is not taken to respond to the charges. Illegitimacy in this context does not necessarily amount to professional or ethical misconduct, but instead takes its meaning from the culture change demanded in Jordan. The determination of whether defence conduct is legitimate is highly discretionary, and appellate courts must show a correspondingly high level of deference thereto. Defence conduct encompasses both substance and procedure — the decision to take a step, as well as the manner in which it is conducted, may attract scrutiny. To determine whether defence action is legitimately taken to respond to the charges, the circumstances surrounding the action or conduct may therefore be considered. The overall number, strength, importance, proximity to the Jordan ceilings, compliance with any notice or filing requirements and timeliness of defence applications may be relevant considerations. Irrespective of its merit, a defence action may be deemed not legitimate if it is designed to delay or if it exhibits marked inefficiency or marked indifference toward delay.

Beyond a retrospective accounting of delay, a proactive approach is required from all participants in the justice system to prevent and minimize delay. Trial judges should suggest ways to improve efficiency, use their case management powers and not hesitate to summarily dismiss applications and requests the moment it becomes apparent they are frivolous.

After defence delay has been deducted, the net delay must be compared to the applicable presumptive ceiling set out in Jordan. If the net delay exceeds the ceiling, then the delay is presumptively unreasonable. To rebut this presumption, the Crown must establish the presence of exceptional circumstances, which fall into two categories: discrete events and particularly complex cases. Discrete events, like defence delay, result in quantitative deductions of particular periods of time. However, case complexity requires a qualitative assessment and cannot be used to deduct specific periods of delay. Complexity is an exceptional circumstance only where the case as a whole is particularly complex. The delay caused by a single isolated step that has features of complexity should not be deducted under this category.”

The Supreme Court of Canada. The long term effects of the Jordan decision will depend on the actions or lack thereof, of the different levels of government. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Ontario: Auto Insurance Rates Increase Again, Despite Premier’s Previous Promise

Update: see previous posts – April 23, 2017 Ontario has the most expensive auto insurance premiums in Canada and they’re rising again, April 15, 2017 Ontario roads safest in country but drivers pay the highest premiums, new report says

Queen’s Park. Ontario
Ontario Auto Insurance Rates, the highest in Canada, are set to increase again, despite Ontario Premier Wynn’s promise of a 15% reduction.  Auto insurance rates in Ontario rose an average of 0.76% in the second quarter of 2017, following an increase of 1.24% in the first quarter. This means that while auto insurance rates were suppose to decrease by 15%, in 2017 they have already been raised by 2.0% in the first two quarters, leaving a potential three (3) more quarters for the rates to be hiked before the Provincial election on June 7, 2018. photo by fightyourtickets.ca.

see source

Premier Wynn making a speech in front of Queen’s Park. She made a former speech in 2013 promising to reduce auto insurance rates for Ontarian’s (who pay more than any other driver in Canada for auto insurance) by 15% – since 2013 rates have decreased by only 8%.  In the meantime, auto insurance rates continue to climb. The next Ontario election is June 7, 2018. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Auto insurance rates in Ontario rose again in the second quarter of 2017.

Approved rates posted by Financial Services Commission of Ontario show an average increase of 0.76 per cent.

Last quarter, rates went up by an average of 1.24 per cent.

In 2013, the Liberals promised to reduce car insurance premiums by an average of 15 per cent by August 2015, but after the self-imposed deadline passed, Premier Kathleen Wynne admitted that was what she called a “stretch goal”.

Liberal Premier Wynn’s refusal to lower auto insurance rates, as per her promise, means that insurance companies are laughing all the way to the bank. In 2013, Wynn promised to reduce car insurance premiums by an average of 15 per cent by August 2015. 2015 has come and gone two (2) years ago and this promise still hasn’t been fulfilled. Are her promises worth the paper they are written on?  photo by fightyourtickets.ca

In April, a report by Ontario’s auto insurance adviser found that the province has the most expensive auto insurance premiums in Canada despite also having one of the lowest levels of accidents and fatalities.

David Marshall found that the average auto insurance premium in Ontario is $1,458, which is almost 55 per cent higher than the average of all other Canadian jurisdictions.

The insurance system favours cash settlements in lieu of care, Marshall found. Sprains and strains — the majority of claims — often take more than a year to settle and about one-third of overall benefit costs goes toward competing expert opinions, lawyers’ fees and insurer costs to defend claims instead of going to treatment, he wrote.

Marshall’s recommendations included adopting a “care not cash” approach, exploring better ways to care for people who are catastrophically injured and making lawyers’ contingency fees more transparent.

Finance Minister Charles Sousa said the government will be hosting consultations on the recommendations made in Marshall’s report in the coming months.

Sections 11(b) & 24(1) of the Charter and the SCC Jordan decision = 204 Court Cases Thrown Out

Update:

The Supreme Court of Canada. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

see source

Legal observers call on governments to make drastic and urgent changes to fix sluggish court system

Interior of the Supreme Court of Canada. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

More than 200 criminal cases across the country have been tossed due to unreasonable delays since the Supreme Court of Canada’s landmark Jordan decision one year ago, court data shows.

The cases include murders, sexual assaults, drug trafficking and child luring, all stayed by judges because the defendant’s constitutional right to a timely trial was infringed.

While provinces and the federal government have taken steps over the past year to speed up Canada’s sluggish courts, legal observers say more drastic and urgent changes are needed.

“Not nearly enough has been done by the government in order to repair this crumbling system,” said Rick Woodburn, president of the Canadian Association of Crown Counsel.

“Until the government views the justice system as a priority, we’ll continue to see murderers set free.”

Advocates say governments must provide more funding for every facet of the system, including judges, Crown attorneys, legal aid and infrastructure. Ottawa is also being urged to reverse decisions made under the previous Conservative government to expand mandatory minimum sentences and to close three of six RCMP forensic labs in the country.

The exterior of the Supreme Court of Canada. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

The Jordan decision, as it has come to be known, was issued on July 8, 2016, when the high court ruled the drug convictions in British Columbia of Barrett Richard Jordan must be set aside due to unreasonable delay.

In a 5-4 ruling, the court said the old means of determining whether proceedings had taken too long were inadequate. Under the new framework, unreasonable delay was to be presumed if proceedings topped 18 months in provincial court or 30 months in superior court.

1,766 applications for stays

In a dissenting opinion, a minority called the new framework unwarranted and unwise, warning it could lead to thousands of prosecutions being thrown out.

The Canadian Press requested data from all 10 provinces, three territories and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada to examine the impacts to the country’s justice system from the groundbreaking decision. The latest figures made available by various governments date from April 30 to June 30.

Since the ruling, approximately 1,766 applications have been filed for charges to be stayed because of unreasonable delays.

Of those, 204 have been granted and 333 have been dismissed. The remainder are either still before the courts, have been abandoned by the defence or were resolved on other grounds.

Still more charges have been proactively stayed by the Crown due to the expectation they would not survive a Jordan application, including 67 by the Public Prosecution Service of Canada.

Heidi Illingworth, executive director of the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime, said 200 cases tossed over delays was “shocking” and very painful for victims and their loved ones.

System ‘failing everyone’

“The system is failing everyone. It’s failing victims, it’s failing accused, it’s failing everyone who is working in it,” she said.

“We can’t have this situation where the public lacks faith in the justice system, and that’s what we’re starting to see happen.”

Determining whether stays have increased since Jordan is challenging because most provinces did not track applications based on the previous framework for determining unreasonable delay.

Ontario reported that 65 stays were granted due to delays in the fiscal year 2015-16, meaning the number increased slightly after Jordan to 76.

Manitoba said no unreasonable-delay applications were successful between January 2015 and June 2016, but two had been granted since the Jordan ruling.

A study conducted at Dalhousie University in Halifax shows both applications and stays went up after the decision. In the six months before Jordan, 26 stays were granted out of 69 applications, while in the six months afterward, 51 stays were granted out of 101 applications.

Eric Gottardi, the Vancouver lawyer who brought Jordan’s case to the Supreme Court, said the impact of the decision will not be fully known for three to five years.

The court provided transitional exceptions for cases that were already in the system before Jordan. The Crown can argue the time the case has taken is justified based on the parties’ reliance on the previous law.

The front door leading into the Supreme Court of Canada. This Court considers an average of between 500 and 600 applications for leave to appeal each year. The Supreme Court holds three sessions a year and hears on average between 65 and 80 appeals a year. Each session lasts three months. The first session begins in January, the second begins in April and the third begins in October. In recent years, it has been the Court’s practice to start each session on a Monday. The Standard for Granting Leave
The standard – even though it’s circular – is set out in s. 40 (1) of the Supreme Court Act:
“by reason of its public importance or the importance of any law or any issue of mixed law and fact involved in that question, one that ought to be decided by the Supreme Court or is, for any other reason, of such a nature or significance as to warrant decision by it ” (emphasis added). photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Public outrage ‘understandable’

Gottardi said it’s unacceptable for a serious case to get to the point where a judge thinks it must be tossed, and the outrage felt by victims, families and the public is completely understandable.

“The focus of the anger should be towards the government, in my view, not towards the courts,” he said. “There’s myriad reasons why it got to that point, and most of them have to do with infrastructure and funding.”

Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould said there are a number of solutions to delays and she expects to introduce reforms in the fall. She also said her government remains committed to reviewing mandatory minimum sentences.

Despite a raft of new appointments, there are still 49 vacancies of federally appointed judges across the country, and more than a dozen vacancies of provincially appointed judges.

Bill Trudell, chairman of the Canadian Council of Criminal Defence Lawyers, said the Jordan decision has sent an “electric shock” through the justice system.

He said he thought the decision went too far, but it has been a catalyst for positive change.

“It’s like a protest. Good things may come from protests, even though you might not like the protest at the time.”

Under the Charter, section 11(b) provides that: 11. Any person charged with an offence has the right…
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time. This issue was first dealt with by the Supreme Court in 1990 in Askov et al and again in 1992 in Morin. This isn’t a new issue and the government shouldn’t be surprised by the Jordan decision, released in July 2016. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Provinces have brought in new procedures to speed up the justice system. Here’s a look at some of the initiatives provinces have undertaken:

Quebec

Quebec is investing $175-million over four years to recruit new judges, prosecutors, legal aid lawyers and support staff and create new courtrooms. So far, 449 positions have been filled and several new hearing rooms are operational. Justice Minister Stephanie Vallee recently announced an additional $9 million to hire 47 legal aid workers. The province has also launched a pilot program to allow for alternatives to incarceration, such as community service, in some minor offences.

Justice Ministers 20170428

Quebec Minister of Justice and Attorney General Stéphanie Vallée wants the government to create eight new Superior Court justice positions and two additional Appeal Court judge positions. (Justin Tan/Canadian Press)

Vallee is also calling on the federal government to create eight new Superior Court justice positions and two additional Appeal Court judge positions, but Ottawa has not done so yet.

Queen’s Park. Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said in an interview the Jordan decision is a “game-changer” and a call to action for all levels of government. photo by fightyourtickets.ca

Ontario

Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said in an interview the Jordan decision is a “game-changer” and a call to action for all levels of government. He said the province has added 13 judges, 32 assistant Crown attorneys and a number of other staff.

Ontario has also focused on streamlining the front-end of the system with a number of initiatives aimed at better serving individuals with mental health issues, addictions and unstable housing. It has expanded province-wide a program that facilitates the release of low-risk accused into the community pending trial, as well as launched a new “bail beds” program that provides supervised housing for vulnerable accused. It has also developed a program to provide supports to Indigenous people who are accused of a crime.

British Columbia

B.C.’s Supreme Court recently issued new directions for so-called “mega-trials,” or large or complex criminal cases that have the potential to occupy a significant amount of court time or risk delays. The directions call for a case management judge to be appointed early in the process and for tight time limits for disclosure, pre-trial applications and the trial itself.

Associate Chief Justice Austin Cullen said in an interview the court began reviewing complex trial procedures about 18 months before the Jordan decision. But he said the ruling helped “spur us on and made us realize that we’re doing something useful.”

B.C.’s government tasked lawyer Geoffrey Cowper in 2012 with writing a report on its justice system, in which he identified a “culture of delay.” In November 2016, Cowper said B.C. was on the road to recovery. A major initiative he cited was B.C.’s use of administrative law to move tens of thousands of drunk-driving charges out of provincial court.

Nova Scotia

Chris Hansen, with Nova Scotia’s Public Prosecution Service, said the province is being “fairly aggressive” in dealing with Jordan. It has established a criminal justice transformation group with the sole purpose of addressing delays. Every criminal case has a “Jordan ticker,” so that when participants access material online, they can clearly see the number of months since the information was laid. Hansen also said the courts have increased their use of technology with video conferencing and electronic disclosure.

Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan’s Public Prosecutions said most cases in the province finish within the time limit and exceptional events are often the cause in the small number of cases that don’t. Nonetheless, it said it’s implementing further strategies to move every case along as quickly as possible. These include focusing on expediting disclosure, assessing cases as early as is workable, removing cases that do not meet the prosecution standard, and working to resolve cases as soon as possible.

With files from Brett Bundale, Sidhartha Banerjee, Joanna Smith, Allison Jones, Lauren Krugel and Geordon Omand 

Why your insurance likely won’t protect you if your basement floods

Update:

A new survey conducted by the University of Waterloo showed that few Canadians feel they are at risk for flooding, and few know if their insurance would cover flood damage.

A new survey conducted by the University of Waterloo showed that few Canadians feel they are at risk for flooding, and few know if their insurance would cover flood damage. (Jason Viau/CBC)

see source

Most policies don’t include ‘overland flood insurance’ — even if they do, there are limits.

Increasingly severe weather in Canada has made for changes in home insurance that could leave homeowners unprotected if their house is damaged in a flood.

The first thing to know: most home insurance policies don’t include flood insurance at all, explained Pete Karageorgos, director of consumer and industry relations with the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

Since about 2013, when Toronto experienced a record-breaking storm that flooded hundreds of basements, insurance companies have begun offering overland flood insurance, “typically as an add-on,” said Karageorgos.

In other words, if you didn’t sign up for it, it’s likely you don’t have it.

Poster of video clip

Karageorgos points to a 2016 flood in Windsor and Tecumseh, Ont., to illustrate how expensive flooding can be for homeowners — and how common it is for people to be caught unaware by their lack of coverage.

“In many cases there weren’t policies that had flood insurance, and those that did, there were usually limits,” he said.

One Windsor resident’s house sustained about $50,000 of damage, but his insurance policy only covered one-fifth of that.

Windsor Flood

Residents in Windsor and Tecumseh, Ont. were forced to do a major cleanup after a record rainfall in 2016. (Amy Dodge/CBC)

Don’t be fooled by wording, cautions Karageorgos: many policies might list coverage for water damage, but that refers to incidents like burst pipes or overflowing toilets, not severe weather and flooding.

He said homeowners should also be aware that if water is entering the basement by a crack in the foundation, for example, it falls under the category of seepage and could signal a maintenance issue that would also prevent an insurance payout.

Few Canadians know their flood risk

The introduction of overland flooding insurance to the Canadian market is having another effect, said Jason Thistlethwaite, director of University of Waterloo’s Climate Change Adaptation Project: Canadians are less likely to qualify for federal government disaster assistance.

Federal legislation, he explained, stipulates that if “insurance is readily and reasonably available,” then you don’t qualify for disaster assistance — even if you never actually purchased the insurance, or didn’t even know it existed.

“That language is interpreted differently by the provinces, but it’s confusing and it’s inconsistent, and it can be taken advantage of in the aftermath of a flood event,” he said.

Thistlethwaite is concerned that few Canadians have been given the opportunity to opt into overland flood insurance and that many are confused about what their policies cover.

Toronto storm 20130708

A City of Toronto investigation into the next 50 years of weather predicted increasingly intense rainfall, meaning floods like the one in 2013 might become more common. (Frank Gunn/Canadian Press)

His university conducted a survey of 2,300 Canadians about how they perceived flood risk, finding that 70 per cent of respondents had not been approached by their insurance provider about overland flood insurance.

They also found very few homeowners saw themselves as being at risk or knew if they were covered or not, “despite the fact that we know for the next 50 years that flood risk is going to increase.”

There’s a small silver lining though, at least if you live in Ontario — the provincial government is available to provide some disaster assistance.

“What Ontario has said is that their disaster assistance programs will cover costs that are not covered by insurance,” said Thistlethwaite.

But that won’t mean restoring your home to its previous lustre. “This is bare minimum replacement costs,” he said.

“There’s an incredible amount of paperwork, red tape and delays. … It pays to call up your insurance company.”

Problem will get worse, so be prepared

Extreme weather is expected to increase substantially in the next half-century, leading Karageorgos and Thistlethwaite to urge that people review their policies carefully and take steps themselves to protect from flooding.

Short-term actions to mitigate damage include pointing downspouts away from the house foundation, taking valuables out of the basement, and making sure sump pumps are working and that you have a backup in case the power goes out.

hi-house-sump-pump-852

Maintaining your sump pump and having a backup will help you avoid the headache of cleaning a flooded basement. (CBC)

Thistlethwaite also recommends a list of large-scale actions including renovating with flood-resistant materials and raising the electrical box or heating materials to the second floor.

If all that sounds expensive, consider the cost of extreme weather in Canada so far.

Between 1983 and 2008, natural disasters cost about $100 million, said Karageorgos. Since 2009, “it’s gone up 400 per cent.”

As a result, he said, insurance premiums have risen as well, which, along with increasingly severe weather, is something Canadians will just have to get used to.

flooding calgary

A flooded parking lot in 2016 in Calgary is an example of Canadian natural disasters that are driving up insurance premiums. (Bob Clark)

Professional body could be key to modernizing police

Update:

The College of Policing (pictured here) implemented the changes after three quarters of respondents to a public consultation said they wanted accreditation for existing skills
England and Wales College of Policing @ SE1 9HA Southwark Bridge Rd London.

see source

In his review of police oversight, Justice Michael Tulloch recommended that Ontario follow the lead of England and Wales and create a College of Policing to develop “a culture of professionalization through a more regulated body.”

Chief Constable Alex Marshall references midwifery more than you might expect for lifelong cop. But in his current role as chief executive officer of England and Wales’ College of Policing, the business of birthing babies helps explain how the world’s first professional police body came to be.

When a midwife arrives at a home, he explains, you assume that as a member of a regulated profession she is qualified to deliver a baby. She knows best practices for complications that arise, based on up-to-date research. She is properly accredited and has specialized skills.

But if a police officer shows up at the house next door, where a woman is being abused by her husband and their children are at risk, he’s not certain equivalent assumptions can be made.

“Are they qualified to the same level? Did they undertake the same continuing professional development? Are they up to speed with the latest developments in their profession?” Marshall, who has been in policing for nearly four decades, asks in a recent interview.

“Over here, I think if you make that comparison, we haven’t supported the front-line police officers sufficiently that the answer would be yes. The answer at the moment would be no.”

England and Wales are working toward that “yes” thanks to the ongoing move to professionalize policing, creating in 2012 a College of Policing similar to regulating bodies overseeing lawyers, doctors, teachers, nurses, midwives and more.

Headquartered in London, the policing college — which oversees 200,000 police personnel, serving 50 million people — is in the midst of implementing significant changes, including introducing post-secondary educational requirements, licensing for specialized roles within policing, and developing ongoing training to reflect the shifting demands of police work, including interactions with people with mental health challenges.

“In essence it’s to raise professional standards in policing and particularly to recognize that police work has changed really quite dramatically in recent years,” Marshall said.

The unprecedented model is one Ontario would be wise to study, according to Justice Michael Tulloch.

In his far-reaching report on police oversight the Ontario Court of Appeal judge recommended Ontario give “serious consideration” to establishing a professional body for policing.

Stressing that it would not replace the watchdogs he was tasked with reviewing, such as the Special Investigations Unit, Tulloch said a college of policing could ultimately reduce the work of the province’s oversight agencies “through the selection, promotion, and support of officers who embody the ideals of professionalism.”

Among the central aims of such a college, Tulloch said, would be establishing province-wide standards for hiring and promotion. Requirements needed to enter and continue in policing “remain largely static, ill-defined, and inconsistent,” Tulloch wrote.

All police officers undergo training at the Ontario Police College, located in Aylmer, Ont. which provides basic recruit training as well as refresher and specialist courses. But some services, including the Toronto police, provide their own additional training from the recruit stage onward, meaning there is no “consistent, province-wide professional standard.”

Additionally, a college of policing could establish greater mandatory education for all Ontario officers in the increasingly vital areas of anti-racism studies, mental health, domestic abuse, social and cultural said the development of a professional body could help achieve a more progressive and inclusive police culture from the ground up, countering the “indoctrination” that happens “as early as initial training.”

photo by fightyourtickets.ca

“Stakeholders told me that training emphasizes traits such as physical strength, stoicism, and loyalty to fellow officers. While those traits are admirable and may be beneficial to the work of a police officer, they should not overwhelm other traditional traits such as empathy and compassion.”

Indeed, during the development of England and Wales’ college, Marshall says there was initial resistance from police ranks, in part because of the “British Bobby” tradition — an old-school term for what’s now considered an outdated definition of a cop, prized for traits such as toughness and bravery.

“They need that as well, but that’s rather underestimating the critical thinking you need from people in policing now, dealing with complex child abuse cases, domestic violence cases, online cyber fraud — it’s not quite as it was when I joined 37 years ago.”

Buy-in from the front line, Marshall said, is “improving all the time,” though he acknowledges that there is still a long way to go. What has helped is sending the message that the college exists to help officers better understand the role of modern police.

The college’s code of ethics, for example, is intended to help officers “make difficult decisions and stay on the right line ethically — it’s not the naughty book on the things you can get wrong,” Marshall said.

Bruce Chapman, president of the Police Association of Ontario, said called a professional police college an “interesting concept” and said learning more about the England and Wales model is high on his priority list following Tulloch’s recommendation.

But he said there are “a million unanswered questions” about what college would look like in Ontario — including how existing training programs, such as post-secondary “police foundations” courses, would fit into the picture.

He also said there is already a similar training and standards requirements for specialized roles within policing.

“To be an expert witness in, say, the drug squad, you have to go through the educational component. So whether you attach a certification or a license to it, basically they are all certified anyway,” Chapman said. “If the college wants to standardize it . . . I don’t think we have any issues with it.”

Terry Coleman, who spent decades with the Calgary Police Service and is a former Moose Jaw police chief, agreed with an important distinction Tulloch made in his report: “policing language is always about training, but what we’re talking about is education.”

Coleman strongly supports the idea of developing a licence for some roles within policing, saying it could go a long way toward the central goal of policing today: the establishment and maintenance of public confidence, he said.

Paul McKenna, Paul McKenna, a public safety consultant and adjunct professor at Dalhousie University, also supports the professionalizing policing, saying that across Canada there needs to be an “unpacking” of what police academies teach.

“It still strikes me as very bizarre that in the 21st century, when we’re trying to create a different kind of officer — someone who has communication skills and can de-escalate — that we still spend huge amounts of time on close-order drills, so that we teach them to march.

“That to me symbolizes part of what is, perhaps, wrong with the model of police training right now.”

Ontario’s Attorney General Yasir Naqvi said his ministry, which commissioned Tulloch’s report on police oversight, will closely review the judge’s 129 recommendations.