2024/25 – 2026/27 Special Investigations Unit Business Plan

Section 1: Executive Summary

The following achievements in 2023-24 supported the Special Investigations Unit’s (SIU) strategic goals and priorities:

  • Furthered efforts to modernize SIU’s digital infrastructure: acquired Live Scan device for digital fingerprinting and implemented a new case management solution (CMS);
  • Expanded the Outreach Program through the use of interviews with multi-cultural media leading to greater awareness within target populations (visible minorities, non-English speakers, new immigrants, etc.);
  • Initiated an organizational review, in consultation with SIU staff and leadership, resulting in an updated mission, vision, and top priorities for the agency that aligns with our new legislation;
  • Continued building a more diverse workforce to better meet Ontarians’ needs.

Section 2: Mandate

The SIU is an independent government agency that has jurisdiction over municipal, regional and provincial police officers, as well as special constables employed by the Niagara Parks Commission and peace officers with the Legislative Protective Service. Anyone the SIU is mandated to investigate is referred to as an ‘official’. The SIU Director may cause a criminal investigation to be conducted into any incident in which any of the following occurs, if the incident may have resulted from criminal conduct by an official:

  • The death of a person.
  • The serious injury of a person.
  • The discharge of a firearm at a person.
  • The sexual assault of a person, as reported by the person.

The Unit is independent of any police service and operates at arm’s length from the Ministry of the Attorney General.

During its investigations, the Unit gathers and assesses evidence, and the Director of the SIU ultimately decides whether the evidence leads to the reasonable belief that a criminal offence has been committed. If the Director forms such a belief, she or he shall lay a criminal charge against the official(s), and that charge will then be prosecuted by the Crown Attorney. If the Director does not form such a belief, she or he cannot lay a criminal charge against the official(s). Instead, a report (the ‘Director’s Report’) is posted publicly and provided to the affected parties.

The SIU was created in 1990 with a mission to nurture public confidence in policing by ensuring that the conduct of police officers, in cases falling under the SIU jurisdiction, is subject to rigorous and independent investigations. Decades later, and with an expanded mandate, the SIU remains steadfast in pursuing that same mission.

Vision, Mission and Priorities

In 2023, the Special Investigations Unit (SIU) initiated an organizational review in response to the recent changes in its status as an independent civilian agency, and its expanded mandate for more effective and transparent investigations, and new reporting obligations.

Following a number of initial consultations, including internal staff and managers, key stakeholders, police associations, and the community, SIU leadership engaged in a series of working sessions to refresh the organizational vision. The refreshed vision, mission, and priorities are listed below.


To nurture the trust and confidence of all Ontarians in the independent civilian oversight of police across the province.


To serve the public by holding Ontario’s police accountable through independent and transparent criminal investigations into the most serious police-civilian incidents.

To build a modern workplace that delivers high quality investigations and services for the public and affected persons.


  • Excellence in Investigations: Ensure High Quality Investigations
  • Proactive Police Oversight: Maximize the SIU’s ability to be strategic and responsive
  • Greater Public Transparency: Ensure the SIU is as open with the public as possible
  • Modernizing the SIU: Foster a modern, skilled, diverse and inclusive workplace

Section 3: Overview of Programs and Activities

i) Investigations

The legislative framework for the SIU is set out in the SIU Act. The mandate of the SIU is to nurture confidence in Ontario’s police services and select special constables and peace officers by assuring the public that the actions of these officials resulting in serious injury, death, the discharge of a firearm or an allegation of sexual assault are subjected to rigorous, independent investigations. Incidents which fall within this mandate must be reported to the SIU by the organization which employs the involved official and/or may be reported by any other person or organization.

The objective of every SIU investigation is to determine whether there is evidence of criminal wrongdoing on the part of the official. It is not to determine whether the involved official(s) may have committed some lesser offence, such as a breach of a provincial law or professional misconduct.

Serious Injury

The Unit’s investigative jurisdiction is limited to those incidents involving officials where there is a serious injury, death, allegation of sexual assault or discharge of a firearm by an official at a person.

A person sustains a serious injury if the injury in question is likely to interfere with the person’s health or comfort and is not transient or trifling in nature. A serious injury includes:

  • An injury that results in admission to a hospital;
  • A fracture to the skull, or to a limb, rib, or vertebra;
  • Burns to a significant proportion of a person’s body;
  • The loss of any portion of a person’s body; or
  • A loss of vision or hearing.

Off-Duty Officials

The SIU normally investigates incidents when the official was on-duty, but will investigate off-duty incidents if:

  1. The official was engaged in the investigation, pursuit, detention or arrest of a person or otherwise exercised the powers of a police officer, special constable or peace officer, as the case may be, whether or not the official intended to exercise such powers or identified him or herself as a person who may exercise such powers, or
  2. The incident involved equipment or other property issued to the official in relation to his or her duties.

What We Cannot Investigate

Complaints regarding lack of service, policy, or improper conduct by an official (e.g. allegations of racial profiling, harassment, corruption, or use of force without serious injury) should be referred to the appropriate police service or to the Office of the Independent Police Review Director (OIPRD). While such complaints may require further investigation, complaints such as these do not fall within the mandate of the SIU.

In addition to conducting independent investigations, the SIU realizes the importance of providing other programs and services such as:

ii) Affected Persons Program

The Affected Persons Program (APP) is a crucial component of the SIU, providing support services to those negatively impacted by incidents investigated by the Unit.

The program is staffed with a manager and 3 APP coordinators to provide support services from the outset of investigations, throughout the investigative process, and at their conclusions, as well as during criminal justice and inquest proceedings.

When applicable, the Affected Persons Coordinator (APC) will liaise with investigators regarding the needs of affected persons in any given case. The APC will contact the affected person(s), either in person or by telephone. Depending on the circumstances of the investigation and needs of the affected person, the APC may provide:

  • Crisis response and intervention;
  • Psychological first aid, emotional support;
  • Practical support including information and guidance pertaining to the mandate of the SIU and the investigative process, accessing emergency financial supports, safety planning, funeral funding and planning;
  • Referrals and advocacy: assistance with navigating social and justice systems, accessing relevant community resources, legal and medical support, victim assistance programs; and
  • Court support: enhance victim/witness understanding of, and participation in, the criminal court process by providing case specific information, court preparation and orientation, accompaniment, assistance with Victim Impact Statements.

The APP can help mitigate the traumatic effects of an incident the SIU is investigating while improving the affected person’s ability to participate in the investigation. The program’s involvement also allows investigators to focus their efforts to gathering evidence and information.

APP staff also participate in public education and outreach activities to various service providers and stakeholders. Establishing and maintaining connections within the community is crucial to ensuring affected persons receive support services in a coordinated and fluid manner.
The APCs typically travel throughout Ontario to meet with individuals at their homes or other places of convenience. Given the restrictions imposed during the pandemic, much of this work has been occurring over the telephone or video streaming platforms.

The APP services are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

iii) Business Operations

  • Provides strategic and operational financial, human resources, controllership and business planning activities;
  • Responsible for knowledge management, records management and retention, asset management and administrative services;
  • Provides information technology and management required to support investigations and the IT-based investigative support system, along with systems to manage incoming information from external sources and base infrastructure to support office productivity (including network services, voice/telecom and desk-side support);
  • Manages facilities, Emergency Management and security-related matters;
  • Leads initiatives targeted towards process efficiencies and continuous improvements to enhance service delivery;
  • Develops strategic framework, policies and processes, reports on performance measures, risk management, and strategic initiatives;
  • Leads the coordination of Training and Development, Employee Engagement, Diversity - Inclusion – Accessibility, and Anti-Racism initiatives and internal communications.

iv) Communications Program

Communication with the media is important to ensure that the SIU remains responsive, transparent and accountable to the public it serves. The SIU strives to provide timely and appropriate responses to all media inquiries and has developed a comprehensive communications program that aims to foster effective communications while also respecting the integrity of SIU investigations, witness confidentiality and the important privacy interests of those involved.

To keep the public informed on the progress of SIU investigations, up-to-date information related to cases is shared on its website and through social media:

  • Status of SIU Cases chart - the Unit provides updates on each investigation.
  • News releases – News releases are issued in the beginning stages of a case when a firearm has been discharged, someone dies, there has been a major collision or a case has garnered a great deal of media interest. They are also issued at the conclusion of all SIU cases.
  • Director’s Reports - At the conclusion of an SIU investigation, if the evidence does not satisfy the Director that there are reasonable grounds to lay criminal charges, a Director’s Report is produced and posted to the SIU’s website. The Director’s Report provides a summary of the investigation, evidence gathered and the findings of fact by the Director that led to the decision.
  • Social Media - The SIU Twitter account.

It is critical that the SIU balances its commitment to transparency when releasing information about an investigation with the need to ensure that the information released is fair, does not prejudice the investigation and does not violate the privacy rights of those involved. The following policy and legislative restraints are considered when releasing information about a case:

See Section 9: Communications and Outreach Plan for associated strategies/tactics.

v) Outreach

SIU’s Outreach Program aims to engage with Ontario’s diverse communities to increase public awareness and understanding of the SIU, and to nurture relationships between SIU and the communities it serves.

The Outreach Coordinator is responsible for creating meaningful dialogue with community stakeholders by proactively participating in community events and public education initiatives.

The goals and desired outcomes of SIU’s outreach program are as follows:

  1. Increase awareness of the SIU, the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019SIU’s mandate, and the investigative process;
  2. Improve transparency and correct misperceptions;
  3. Enhance relationships with diverse community groups in Ontario and;
  4. Strengthen public engagement and expand opportunities for information sessions.

With more awareness by the public and law enforcement officials of SIU’s mandate, the following benefits may be realized:

  • More incidents that fall within SIU’s jurisdiction will be reported in a timely fashion;
  • More witnesses will be willing to come forward and cooperate with investigations and;
  • Those impacted by SIU investigations and the broader public will have confidence in the work of the Unit.

See Section 9: Communications and Outreach Plan for associated strategies/tactics.

vi) First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program

The First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program (FNIMLP) was created in early 2006, following consultations with the Provincial Territorial Organizations (PTOs), the bodies representing First Nations in the province, to address the unique needs and concerns of Indigenous peoples and communities relating to police oversight. It does so principally by relationship-building between SIU and Indigenous communities with the aim of facilitating SIU investigations involving and/or impacting Indigenous persons or interests.

Although SIU does not currently have jurisdiction over First Nations police, the Unit has in place a protocol for incidents that may involve Indigenous communities in one way or another. Whenever possible, a member of the program leads or participates in investigations involving or having an impact upon Indigenous peoples or communities to ensure that investigations are conducted with respect and sensitivity.

The FNIMLP has also been focused on preparing for the new Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 (CSPA). When the new CSPA is proclaimed into force, First Nations communities policed by their own services, which currently fall outside the SIU’s jurisdiction, will have the opportunity to opt-in to SIU oversight. In anticipation of these changes, the FNIMLP began discussions with First Nations communities, allowing them to make an informed decision about whether they wish to opt-in when the times comes. The SIU has met with groups including the Wikwemikong First Nation, the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, and the Grand Council Chief of the Anishinabek Nation.

The FNIMLP is presently staffed by two Investigative Managers, seven Investigators, and a member of the Affected Persons Program stationed in Northern Ontario. On a biannual basis, SIU reports to the PTOs with respect to the work of the FNIMLP.

See Section 9: Communications and Outreach Plan for associated strategies/tactics.

vii) The Director’s Resource Committee (DRC)

In 2002, the SIU established the Director’s Resource Committee (DRC) to give voice to Ontario’s communities about the work of the Unit. Through the DRC, the SIU Director gains input and feedback on various matters of concern to the SIU and is apprised of trends and issues as experienced by community members.

Comprised of representatives of various community groups, the Committee meets with the SIU Director and staff formally during the year, and more frequently, between meetings via e-mail and telecommunications on issues as they arise.

The DRC is a key instrument for the SIU in seeking community consultation and support. It has regularly provided valuable advice on all manner of SIU operations. For example, the committee was consulted and provided feedback that informed the SIU’s current framework for the collection and analysis of race-based data.

In addition to the SIU Director being able to provide updates on the work of the Agency throughout the year, the meetings have been an opportunity to raise issues identified by the members’ communities regarding the work of the SIU and/or the police.

viii) Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Employee Experience Committee

The Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Employee Experience Committee stewards the Agency’s work in the fields of diversity, equity, inclusion and anti-racism.

The deliverables are set within a three-tiered approach that seeks to:

  1. Build SIU’s Anti-Racism Competency and Capacity;
  2. Diversify SIU’s Talent Pipeline and;
  3. Foster, and be accountable for, an anti-racist and inclusive workplace.

See Section 10: Diversity and Inclusion Plan for more information about how SIU will prioritize the advancement of DEI and foster a culture of anti-racism.

ix) Data Collection Under the Anti-Racism Act, 2017

The Special Investigations Unit began collecting demographic information, including race-based data, in October 2020. The collection was mandated by the Anti-Racism Act, 2017, which aims to eliminate systemic racism and promote racial equality.

Pursuant to the Act, and the data standards it prescribes applicable to the SIU, the SIU is required to solicit demographic information, including race-based data, from the subject officials in its investigations, as well as “affected persons”, that is, persons who have died, been seriously injured, alleged sexual assault by an official, or been the subject of a firearm discharge by an official. In the case of deceased individuals, their families are surveyed for the information.

The provision of this information from subject officials and affected persons is voluntary pursuant to the Act and its applicable data standards. The information was solicited from subject officials and affected persons via surveys.

The Act and its applicable data standard also require that the information collected be published by the public agency and analyzed. SIU partnered with Wilfrid Laurier University to analyze the data collected for cases between October 1st, 2020 and September 30th, 2021.

In October 2023, the SIU met its commitment to anti-racism initiatives in the division by being among the first agencies to publish on its website in October 2023 the race-based data it collected in its investigations, including an evaluation of data in a report. The SIU is working to further advance this initiative by adopting the use of an electronic system to collect race-based data.

Section 4: Risks and Risk Factor

SIU has identified both specific and enterprise-wide risks and risk factors that could potentially impact the Agency’s ability to deliver on its legislative responsibilities. SIU will continue to monitor risk and implement controls to reduce risk.

External Factors

Under the new legislative framework, SIU must meet various new requirements, any of which could entail moving SIU resources away from its core mandate, thereby creating a potential resource issue. For example:
  • Where possible, SIU investigations must now be completed within 120 days while continuing to ensure thorough and quality investigations;
  • Requirements to publish more reports and/or reports in both official languages;
  • Requirement to have reports include relevant video, audio or photographic evidence, de-identified to the extent possible
  • Expansion of SIU jurisdiction to include investigations into the conduct of over 150 additional officials;
  • Assignment of a new category of cases (police firearm discharges at persons).
Other external risk factors include:
  • Volume of incoming electronic data (including evidence) increased between 2022 and 2023;

Internal risk factors

  • SIU has not kept pace with the changing digital and/or information technologies and the required expertise and;
  • The Organization’s structure and workforce model have not kept pace with legislative changes and new reporting requirements.
Note: SIU anticipates the internal and external risk factors, above, will be effectively controlled through the strategy and capacity-building actions outlined in Section 5.

Section 5: Strategic Directions and Implementation Plan

SIU is classified as a regulatory non-board governed provincial agency under the Agencies and Appointments Directive. The Agency is accountable to the government through MAG and subject to all statutory requirements and applicable directives set out by Treasury Board / Management Board of Cabinet. SIU will continue to promote compliance with relevant legislation and regulations and protect the public interest by ensuring its priorities and goals are aligned with those of the government and ministry.

Through the program review process, the SIU has developed four new priorities which it will focus on developing throughout the next five years.

1. Excellence in Investigations: The SIU will ensure high quality investigations by:

  • Developing a robust, in-house training program focused on building investigative skills and a culture of teamwork
  • Providing investigative staff with the most up-to-date technology and equipment (with the associated training) to assist in completing high quality investigations
  • Conducting a review to improve investigative processes to be more effective and efficient in achieving the legislated 120-day timeline

2. Proactive Police Oversight: The SIU will further maximize its ability to be strategic and responsive through:

  • Creating processes and tools to support the collection, analysis and reporting of race-based data
  • Building a comprehensive data inventory to support identifying and reporting on trends in policing
  • Creating a process to continually support the identification and reporting of best practices on independent civilian oversight within the organization and beyond

3. Greater Public Transparency: The SIU will ensure it is as open as possible with the public by:

  • Creating a new communications plan to enhance information flow with the public and other stakeholders throughout the investigative process
  • Establishing new and diverse ways to engage the public through a revised outreach program
  • Expanding the Director’s Resource Committee beyond the Greater Toronto Area to establish meaningful connections with communities that have regionally diverse experiences/perspectives
  • Developing and publicly reporting on more performance measures to demonstrate commitment to accountability

4. Modernizing the SIU: The SIU will foster a modern, skilled, diverse, and inclusive workplace by

  • Developing and implementing a strategy for recruitment and retention of staff to minimize turnover and contribute to the SIU’s stability
  • Developing and implementing a new human capital plan and new diversity plan which will enable the SIU to meet future talent management needs while also ensuring that it reflects the diversity of Ontario
  • Providing staff with modern IT infrastructure technology and tools to support their work.

Section 6: Staffing, Human Resources, and Compensation Strategy

SIU will identify and address workforce gaps to ensure appropriate levels of resourcing are in place to deliver on new legislative requirements, address emerging issues early and maintain day-to-day operations. The agency will:

  • Pursue targeted recruitment to ensure SIU reflects the communities it serves;
  • Continue hiring more diverse talent, such as women, younger age ranges, non-police and Black and Indigenous employees;
  • Utilize succession planning to strengthen the talent pool and address retirements;
  • Provide training opportunities to support employee learning and career development;
  • Analyze employee engagement survey results to identify and action priorities;
  • Consider investing in employee candidates outside SIU’s traditional talent pool and;
  • Redouble efforts to foster a culture of interdisciplinary teamwork and employee collaboration.

All SIU staff are considered public servants and are compensated according to the Compensation and Pay Directives issued by Treasury Board, Government of Ontario. SIU currently has a total of 83 staff persons made up of both full-time staff and on-call as needed staff. Organization chart below for details.

Org chart for business plan

Section 7: Information Technology (IT) / Electronic Service Delivery (ESD) Plan

SIU has prioritized the modernization of its digital and IT solutions to provide better support to investigations.

During FY 2023-24, SIU proceeded with a number of key IT initiatives:

  • The SIU modernized its Investigative File Support System with a new cloud-based IT solution, Niche RMS, to better manage investigations, optimize information collection to strengthen the agency’s reporting on performance, and better meet business-critical needs, such as responding to new legislative requirements.
  • Implemented leading-edge technology, Leica 3D Scanners, that allow forensic investigators to efficiently and accurately reconstruct and capture evidence from major crime scenes for use in investigations and court proceedings. The scanners enhanced SIU independence and credibility among the community by effectively removing dependence on police services tools and technologies in over 20 cases.

  • Created a new virtual space (SIU Connect) to improve staff collaboration and knowledge exchange. The new SharePoint site has facilitated better communications between leadership and staff and has given staff the ability to access communications and training materials regardless of location and time, critical for front line investigators, with over 14,000 site visits in 5 months.

  • Acquired Live Scan Portable Fingerprinting technology which will allow for SIU to transition from the use of paper fingerprints to digital fingerprints. Fingerprints are taken from the subject official when charges are laid following the conclusion of an investigation. Currently, subject officials are required to travel to SIU HQ where their fingerprints are taken using ink. The new Live Scan is portable which will allow the SIU to complete the fingerprinting process while investigators are in the home jurisdiction of the subject official to serve their court documents.

Over the next three years, the SIU will continue to update and modernize its tools and technology in the following areas:

  • The creation of a secure online survey to collect race-based data (RBD) from Affected Persons in real time. This would automate and replace the existing processes for collecting RBD which relies on interviews and mailing paper surveys.
  • Modernizing the existing manual tracking of fleet vehicles through a new digital reservation system allowing for real time tracking and a decreased reliance on external rental vehicles.
  • The use of automation to better streamline investigator dispatch to ensure efficient, responsive, and transparent processes.

Section 8: Initiatives Involving Third Parties

Section 10 of the Special Investigations Unit Act, 2019 states, “The SIU Director may, subject to any prescribed conditions or restrictions, enter into agreements with a First Nation in Ontario, the Government of Canada, the government of another province or territory of Canada, a Canadian municipality outside Ontario or any other entity outside Ontario, for the purpose of conducting or assisting with investigations.”

The Director will use discretion when entering into agreements of this nature and will consider any resourcing issues associated with this initiative.

The first and only such agreement made pursuant to this provision occurred in FY 2022-23. It involved the SIU agreeing to investigate an incident for Nova Scotia’s Serious-incident Response Team.

As always, SIU will enter into research collaborations/opportunities with respect to its investigative data as long as agreements are in place concerning privacy and confidentiality.

Section 9: Communications and Outreach

Communications Program

Maintaining and enhancing the community’s confidence in law enforcement bodies in Ontario is an important part of SIU’s mission. This is facilitated through effective communications and outreach. The goal of SIU’s Communications and Outreach program is to maintain and enhance confidence in the SIU by the public and to increase awareness of the agency across Ontario.

A comprehensive strategic communications and outreach plan is in development to assist the SIU in achieving its goal of transparency through public reporting, build positive relationships with the media and communities it serves and keep the public informed of SIU investigations. The plan will forecast communication and outreach projects and activities to be implemented.

Across Ontario, the media is keenly interested in being kept current with SIU’s investigations. In general, once SIU has invoked its mandate, it informs the media and public on the status of a case through news releases, tweets, interviews, regularly updated website content and outreach to the public.

As part of efforts to increase awareness of SIU and its mandate, the SIU director along with staff have been features in various ethnic and multicultural media interviews during the 2023-24 year. Examples include the Festival Italiano di Johnny Lombardi show on CHIN TV and a Punjabi language interview on Red FM 88.9.

News Releases

Keeping the public informed about its investigations is a key part of SIU’s commitment to transparency.

News releases may be issued when SIU initially invokes its mandate or provides an update on an ongoing investigation. A news release is always issued at the conclusion of an investigation, regardless of whether it was concluded via a criminal charge, Director’s Report, or a case closure by memo. News releases are posted on the SIU website, e-mailed to subscribers and posted as a tweet.

News Release Types

  • Initial: At the beginning of an investigation, an initial news release will be issued for cases involving a death, a firearm discharge at a person, major collision, or other high-profile matter.
  • Case Update: During an investigation, an update to the status of the investigation may be provided via a news release.
  • Director’s Report: In cases where the Director finds no evidence to proceed with criminal charges against the police official(s) involved, a Director’s Report is published on the SIU website as well as an accompanying news release.
  • Case Closed by Memo: In cases found to fall outside SIU jurisdiction, the Director will terminate the investigation and issue a memo that outlines the reasons for the decision. A news release is issued for every case closed by memo.
  • Charge Laid: If the Director finds evidence to lay criminal charges against a police official, charges will be laid and a news release issued with the official’s name, charge(s) and court date.
  • Other: Non-case related news releases may be issued for various reasons, such as legislative updates or other news.

Reporting on Allegations of Sexual Assault

In cases involving allegations of sexual assault, SIU generally will not release details to the public that could potentially identify the individual alleging a sexual assault occurred or the official who is the subject of the allegation. The release of information related to investigations of sexual assault allegations is always associated with a risk of further deterring what is an under-reported crime and undermining the heightened privacy interests of the involved parties, most emphatically, the complainants.


Twitter is an important communications tool for SIU. To date, the Agency has over 17,000 followers and has posted over 3,575 tweets. Tweets are sent to inform the public about news releases and Director’s Reports, to appeal for witnesses, direct individuals to documents such as annual reports, and promote outreach activities. Where appropriate, SIU will provide responses to questions or comments on Twitter.

Media Interviews

Communications Coordinators regularly conduct media interviews as soon as possible. The information shared with the media is consistent with what would normally be included in a news release (regardless of whether a news release has been issued).

To improve the quality and quantity of information shared with the media, news releases are done for high profile cases. However, it is also important for SIU to make it easy for the public/media to find information about non-high-profile cases. To that end, on the SIU website, a case status list is updated daily.

When attending a scene to do a media interview is not feasible or required (e.g., due to distance, timing, or case type), an on-camera appearance may be necessary.

  • Video news release recordings, as was done in the Ottawa case (22-OFD-164), provide the presence of a Communications Coordinator without their having to go to the scene. Video clips can be embedded in news releases and/or posted on Twitter, allowing media to use them for their television or radio broadcasts.
  • Another option is to do interviews via Zoom, a practice that became increasingly popular during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • When reporters request interviews and on-scene interviews are not feasible, interviews can be done at SIU’s Mississauga headquarters.

Website Content

The SIU website is another valuable communication tool to assist in achieving the Agency’s goal of transparency through public reporting. The website provides information to the public about SIU programs, outcomes of investigations, publications such as the Annual Report and media releases. Members of the public wishing to contact SIU to provide tips or make a complaint about a police official have the ability to electronically submit photos, videos or audio files via the website.

An important element of the communication strategy is to ensure website content is accurate and reflects the most current actions of the SIU. For content that changes frequently (e.g., status of cases page and breakdown of occurrences), the backend of the website should be updated daily. To ensure website content is current and accurate, SIU will seek feedback from staff and review feedback provided by the public. The website pages should be reviewed monthly to ensure links are working accurately and images are not outdated.

Sharing Best Practices with Other Stakeholders

Currently, eight civilian police oversight agencies operate in Canada:

  • British Columbia Independent Investigations Office
  • Alberta Serious Incident Response Team
  • Saskatchewan Serious Incident Response Team
  • Independent Investigations Unit of Manitoba
  • Special Investigations Unit (Ontario)
  • Québec Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes
  • Newfoundland Serious Incident Response Team
  • Nova Scotia Serious Incident Response Team

In May 2018, SIU created the Police Oversight Communications Advisors Network, consisting of communications professionals from each of those oversight agencies. An SIU Communications Coordinator chairs the group, which meets quarterly to discuss issues pertaining to best practices in media relations.

Outreach Program

Nurturing the public’s confidence in the law enforcement services of Ontario is an important part of SIU’s mission. This is accomplished in some measure by the extent to which the community understands and has trust in the work of the SIU as a civilian oversight body. Outreach is essential to building confidence in civilian oversight and law enforcement accountability with both law enforcement services and community members.

SIU’s outreach efforts aim to:

  • Increase awareness of SIU and its mandate;
  • Enhance confidence in the integrity of SIU in conducting independent investigations;
  • Develop and strengthen stakeholder networks;
  • Encourage the public to report incidents and support the investigation process;
  • Encourage constructive scrutiny of its operations and;
  • Increase opportunities for corporate learning and improvement.

SIU will align its outreach efforts with the communication plan (currently under development) to increase awareness of SIU and its mandate among the people of Ontario. Short-term goals include:

  1. Develop and deliver outreach initiatives specific to each target group;
  2. Create information materials such as brochures translated into different languages for easy understanding by newcomers to Ontario and;
  3. Proactively participate in various community events and tradeshows and engage with an audience that is representative of Ontario’s population diversity, to deliver education/information sessions.

The outreach program will focus on fostering engagement with the following groups:

  • Community/advocacy groups
  • Indigenous communities
  • Youth groups, high school and college students
  • New immigrants
  • Disadvantaged/marginalized communities
  • Universities and colleges delivering police foundations programs, other justice related courses and community and social services programs
  • Law schools and legal clinics
  • Emergency Medical Services
  • Hospital personnel

First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program

The First Nations, Inuit and Métis Liaison Program (FNIMLP) will be enhanced to increase awareness and continue building relationships with Indigenous communities by:

  • Proactively engaging the Indigenous leaders in dialogue to establish relationships;
  • Developing an outreach program specific to the needs of Indigenous communities;
  • Participate in Indigenous activities and events to increase acceptance within Indigenous communities (e.g., Pow Wow celebrations, National Indigenous Peoples Day, art festivals and conferences) and;
  • SIU employees attending training and workshops to learn about Indigenous practices and protocols.

Members of the FNIMLP will continue to fulfill their responsibilities as follows:

  • Attend First Nations training at least once per year;
  • Assist SIU’s Training Coordinator with the development and implementation of Indigenous-based cultural competency training for all SIU staff and;
  • Assist SIU’s Outreach Coordinator with the development and delivery of outreach initiatives to Indigenous persons, organizations and communities, and developing and maintaining a positive professional relationship with leaders and representatives of Indigenous organizations and communities.

Section 10: Diversity and Inclusion Plan

As the communities SIU serves continue to grow and change, the Agency must continue to endeavour to reflect the Ontario public. Additionally, as SIU strives to become an employer of choice, management is aware of the importance of establishing an open, equitable and respectful workplace where all staff members participate fully and take part in the development of programs and services.

It is important for SIU to create an atmosphere where employees feel valued and their ideas are heard and respected. Employees are more engaged in an environment that is inclusive, resulting in a better performing organization.

To advance diversity and inclusion, SIU will take the following approach:

  • Continue reviewing and updating all the SIU administrative and operational policies, processes, practices, services and programs with a diversity lens, to create a positive, respectful and inclusive workplace;
  • Continuously improve talent acquisition and retention processes to build a workforce that reflects the communities served by the Unit;
  • Build employees’ knowledge and capacity to help foster positive, respectful and inclusive work experiences;
  • Apply an anti-racism lens to organizational, operational and modernization initiatives;
  • Continue to publish data on the collection of race-based data via the SIU website;
  • Further explore ways to remove barriers from the work of the organization; for example: ensure participants from equity seeking groups or DRC community groups are included if/when consultations are held and;
  • Managers will champion change (a priority to be included in their Performance Plans).

Section 11: Multi-Year Accessibility Plan

SIU is committed to ensuring equal access to justice for all Ontarians. This includes providing services and programs that people with disabilities can use and benefit from equally and free from discrimination. The agency is committed to creating an accessible organization by removing barriers for people with disabilities whether they work in the SIU, do business with the Unit or are members of the public who use SIU services.

Statement of Commitment

The SIU is committed to treating all people in a way that allows them to maintain their dignity and independence. We are committed to meeting the needs of persons with disabilities in a timely manner and will do so by preventing and removing barriers to accessibility and meeting accessibility requirements under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA) and O. Reg. 191/11 Integrated Accessibility Standards (IASR) which reaffirms the government’s commitment to accessibility across the OPS. The SIU aims to provide its services in accordance with the Ontario Human Rights Code (the Code) and the accessibility standards made under the AODA and IASR.

To support this, SIU has adopted the OPS and MAG established policies, procedures and processes including the OPS Accessible Customer Service Policy and integrated accessibility criteria into its procurement processes.

As an agency, the SIU is now a designated public sector organization and legally required to file an accessibility compliance report and develop its Multi Year Accessibility Plan.

This is a key priority for the agency in 2024-25 and the plan will incorporate existing best practices, processes, and systems currently in place to meet AODA requirements and standards including:

  • Customer Service,
  • Information and Communications
  • Employment
  • Built Environment
  • Emergency Preparedness – Procedures, Plans & Information

Section 12: Three-year Financial Plan

Multi-Year Operating Budget

Expense Category 2023-24 Budget 2023-24 YE Forecast Variance 2024-25 Budget 2025-26 Budget 2026-27 Budget
Salaries and Wages 8.5615 8.4265 0.1350* 8.5598 8.5598 8.5598
Employee Benefits 1.1469 1.1376 0.0093* 1.1424 1.1424 1.1424
DOE 9.7084 9.5641 0.1443 9.7022 9.7022 9.7022
Transportation & Communications 0.2150 0.4737 (0.2587)** 0.2150 0.2150 0.2150
Services 0.5502 1.1726 (0.6224)*** 0.5514 0.5514 0.5514
Supplies & Equipment 0.0617 0.2179 (0.1562)**** 0.0617 0.0617 0.0617
ODOE 0.8269 1.8642 (1.0373) 0.8281 0.8281 0.8281
TOTAL Operating $10.5353 $11.4283 (0.8932) $10.5303 $10.5303 $10.5303

SIU costs vary based on case load and any variances are managed within the existing budget and by working with the ministry to find offsets. See explanation of variances below:

* Salaries & Wages/Benefits:

  • Savings from efficiencies realized in the deploying and assigning of work to investigative staff (i.e. call outs, use of technical resources for virtual meetings, investigative interviews, and for collection of investigative data/work product).
  • Expenditure freeze has led to additional savings.
**Transportation & Communication:
  • Pressures relate to caseload travel expenditures (i.e., air, road, mileage, meals, lodging, vehicle rentals).
  • Resumption of in-person training and meetings as required when there is a strong business rationale.
  • Use of Microsoft Teams and audio-conference to conduct investigative business, meetings, training, etc. to mitigate pressures from travel related expenditures.
***Services – Structural Pressures for Operating costs:

Operationally Fixed Costs
  • Mandatory translation of Director's Reports
  • Vehicle Leases and Maintenance for Investigators
  • Various information technology pressures related to computer hardware end of life replacement and refresh
  • Communications/media, website maintenance
  • Storage (evidence, vehicles, records, SSB)
  • Other: Law Society fees, security system, copiers, job ads
Variable Costs
  • IT Projects: Adoption of Niche RMS to replace the SIU Investigative Support System, Transition from paper fingerprinting to new Live Scan digital fingerprinting system, Upgrades to Office Wireless Network to support a digital workplace and hybrid work
  • Staff training and development/conferences, memberships
  • Non-consulting service fee arrangements, forensics/scene reviews
****Supplies & Equipment:
  • IT equipment and supplies
  • Forensic lab supplies, safety apparel and accessories for forensic investigative staff when attending scenes and conducting fieldwork.

Section 13: Performance Measures and Targets

Performance Measure and Targets 2024-2025 2025-2026 2026-2027
Meeting the 120-day threshold in all non-death and non-charge cases 75% 75% 75%
Publish (a) media/ news release(s) for all cases 100% 100% 100%
All staff have taken cultural competency, anti-racism, and anti-bias training and courses. 100% 100% 100%

Table 3: Performance Measures and Targets from FY 2024-25 to FY 2026-27.