Thank You to Delegates, Speakers and Partners for a
Successful Day of Learning and Networking!

The Canadian Institute’s 6th Annual Conference on the Law of Policing was held on June 2-3, 2015 at the Marriott Bloor Yorkville.

This informative, engaging, and valuable program was co-chaired by Ian Johnstone (Partner, Johnstone and Cowling LLP) and Gary Melanson (Solicitor & Director of Legal Services and Risk Management, Waterloo Regional Police Service) and covered a broad range of issues critically important to police services including use of force, privacy and access to information, discipline, and mental health.

Delegates have described this annual conference as the “go to” forum to convene and discuss these vital matters and once again found the program to be current, well-organized, and important to their professional development.

PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP The conference kicked off with a pre-conference workshop on police leadership and governance, masterfully led by Dr. Mary Donohue and Kamal Pastakia (both of the Donohue Mentoring System). This in-depth and targeted session explored various issues such as understanding intergenerational communication, structured mentoring, optimizing awareness of generational processing, and understanding how miscommunication causes anxiety and mistrust in the workplace.

DAY ONE OPENED WITH… An informative overview on the future of policing and predictions for its evolution by Dr. Gary Ellis (Program Head, Justice Studies at The University of Guelph Humber) who covered such issues as the civilianization of police services and the use of private security. The session continued with insights from Kate Richardson (Manager, Policing Standards Section, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services) who outlined the consultations which have taken place between the policing community, various ministries, and affected stakeholder groups.

This engaging session set the stage for an “overview of oversight” from Gerry McNeilly, (Ontario’s Independent Police Review Director, OIPRD) and Tony Loparco (Director of the SIU) who together provided an informative perspective of recent developments at each respective oversight agency, discussed concurrent investigations, and spoke about trends.

The morning continued with tremendously educational presentation from Inspector Glenn Bullock (Hamilton Police Service) and Jodi Younger (Clinical Director, General Psychiatry and Addiction Services, St. Joseph’s Healthcare, Hamilton) who outlined details of the Mobile Rapid Crisis Rapid Response Team (MCRRT), the first partnership pairing a mental health worker with uniformed officers to respond to crises among vulnerable populations in the community. Data was presented highlighting the success of the program to date and resulting plans for expansion.

If you were unable to attend, feel free to purchase
our On-Demand Webcast of the event.

The discussions around mental health continued in the afternoon with an insightful presentation by Dr. Jane Storrie (President of the Ontario Psychological Association) and Sergeant Beth Milliard (Peer Support Unit, York Regional Police) who examined, among other things, stressors in policing, best practices in screening processes, and proactive mental health initiatives such as peer support units.

Day one ended with an important and perceptive session on use of force, led by Brad Fawcett (Patrol Supervisor and Court-Qualified Use of Force Expert, Vancouver Police Department) and Chris Lawrence (Instructor, Ontario Police College), well-known experts in the area. The session was an excellent end to day one and outlined various important issues related to use of force including working memory, human factors, threat stimuli, and proportionality, as well as training practices used by the Ontario Police College.

DAY TWO TOOK US THROUGH… An even wider range of topics, beginning with an outstanding panel discussion on privacy and access to information between R.K. Friesen (RCMP Legal Advisory Section, Department of Justice Canada), Sharon Wilmot (Counsel, Toronto Police Service) and Laura Berger (Interim Public Safety Program Director, Canadian Civil Liberties Association). This lively and interactive panel discussed various privacy related matters such as vulnerable sector checks and some recent caselaw.

The legal focus continued with an informative panel discussion on civil litigation led by Lorena Harris (Partner, Denton’s) and Kevin McGivney (Partner, BLG) who skillfully reviewed various avenues of civil action against police, provided an excellent analysis of related jurisprudence, and made some comments about where the caselaw seems to be headed.

Issues of body worn and other cameras were discussed by Marianne Wright (Counsel, Toronto Police Service) and R.K Friesen who reviewed, among other things, the Toronto Police Service’s and RCMP’s pilot body worn video projects, operational issues related to body worn video, and the increasing use of technology by citizens and subsequent spread of “viral videos”.

The day continued with a thorough overview of police discipline by three well-known practitioners representing all sides of the issue. Brian Fazackerley (Brian L. Fazackerley Adjudication and Consultation), Joseph Markson (Markson Law), and Jason Fraser (Counsel, Legal Services, York Regional Police) provided an exceptional review of the evolution of the disciplinary process.

The conference culminated with perspectives on leading issues including a detailed and knowledgeable overview of terrorism and national security from international expert Philip Wright (Johnstone and Cowling), former Detective Chief Superintendent in the police service in Northern Ireland, as well as a discussion about traffic stops, race data collection, and community relations from Dr. Bobby Siu (Adjunct Professor, School of Public Policy and Administration, York University).

Thank you to each and every speaker who were all superb. We were delighted to have covered so many important issues over the course of the two days and we look forward to another fantastic program next year.

– – Kamila B. Polus, J.D, Conference Producer, The Canadian Institute