What We Can Investigate

The SIU is a civilian law enforcement agency with a consequence-based jurisdiction to conduct criminal investigations. The SIU only investigates incidents involving the police and civilians that have resulted in serious injury, death or allegations of sexual assault.

Serious Injury

What the SIU can investigate is dependent on the definition of serious injury. Subsection 113(5) of the Police Services Act, in part reads:

The Director may…cause investigations to be conducted into the circumstances of serious injuries and deaths that may have resulted from criminal offences committed by police officers.

The definition of “serious injuries” used by the SIU was set out by the first Director of the SIU, the late Honourable John Osler. The definition reads:

"Serious injuries" shall include those that are likely to interfere with the health or comfort of the victim and are more than merely transient or trifling in nature and will include serious injury resulting from sexual assault. "Serious Injury "shall initially be presumed when the victim is admitted to hospital, suffers a fracture to a limb, rib or vertebrae or to the skull, suffers burns to a major portion of the body or loses any portion of the body or suffers loss of vision or hearing, or alleges sexual assault. Where a prolonged delay is likely before the seriousness of the injury can be assessed, the Unit should be notified so that it can monitor the situation and decide on the extent of its involvement.”

In the words of the Honourable George W. Adams, author of two reviews on the SIU: "It is not practical for a police service to attempt to determine the SIU's jurisdiction in a strict legal sense before notification is effected because of the inherent uncertainty of many incidents. The issue of notification must be treated more like that of calling an ambulance - when in doubt call."

Off Duty Officers

The SIU will not normally investigate incidents involving off duty police officers acting in the course of their private lives. If, however, an officer is off duty and police equipment or property is involved, or the officer identifies himself/herself as a police officer in the course of the occurrence, the SIU will investigate the incident if it involves serious injury, death or an allegation of sexual assault.

What We Cannot Investigate

Complaints regarding a perceived lack of service, policy, or improper conduct by the police (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.