What is a disciplinary appeal?
A disciplinary appeal is an appeal of a hearing officer’s decision. A hearing officer is designated by the police chief or Ontario Provincial Police Commissioner to conduct a hearing into misconduct allegations against police officers.
Who can appeal a hearing officer’s decision?
The respondent officer(s) and the public complainant may appeal a hearing officer’s decision about whether the officer committed misconduct. The public complainant requires the OCPC’s permission to appeal the penalty imposed by a hearing officer.
How long does a respondent officer or public complainant have to appeal a hearing officer’s decision to the OCPC?
30 days from the time the decision was received.
What are possible outcomes of a disciplinary appeal to the OCPC?
Under the Police Services Act, the OCPC has the authority to:
- confirm, vary, or revoke the decision of the hearing officer;
- substitute its own decision; or
- order that a new hearing take place.
Can a complainant or respondent present new evidence at a disciplinary appeal hearing?
The OCPC conducts its disciplinary appeal hearings based on the evidence presented to the hearing officer. The OCPC makes a decision on whether the hearing officer erred in applying the law based on the evidence provided at the first instance hearing. The OCPC will also consider whether the penalty imposed by the hearing officer was reasonable. Under limited circumstances, the OCPC may decide to allow new evidence to be presented.
How do you appeal a penalty decision?
The public complainant who initiated the complaint must obtain the OCPC’s permission to appeal the penalty imposed on the police officer. To obtain permission, the public complainant must submit to the OCPC a Request for Leave to Appeal a Disciplinary Penalty form along with a copy of the hearing officer’s penalty decision. The documents must also be provided to the other parties involved at the disciplinary hearing. Click here to access this form.
I am a party to an OCPC proceeding. Do I have to inform the OCPC of my new legal representative?
Yes. Where a party’s lawyer or paralegal begins or ceases to represent the party in the proceeding, the party or the representative must notify the OCPC and the other parties in writing. The contact information for the party and the new representative must also be provided at this time.
How do I withdraw my appeal?
If you do not wish to continue with your appeal or application, you must provide written notice to the OCPC and copy the parties. By withdrawing the appeal, the OCPC file will be closed and your rights to a hearing before the OCPC are terminated.
Pre-hearings and Hearings
Can matters be settled without a hearing?
Yes. Before a matter proceeds to a hearing, the OCPC will hold a pre-hearing conference. The purpose of a pre-hearing conference is to discuss procedural matters, exchange information, and settle any relevant issues. Refer to Rule 14 for more information.
Is the Party allowed to make a request to adjourn a proceeding before the OCPC makes a decision?
Yes. Parties may submit a written request to adjourn a motion, pre-hearing conference, or hearing. The request must be provided to the OCPC and the other parties involved in the proceeding. To access the adjournment request form, please click here. Refer to Rule 16 for more information.
Are hearings open to the public?
Electronic hearings are open to the public unless ordered otherwise by the OCPC. Pre-hearing conferences are not open to the public unless the OCPC orders otherwise. Members of the public are encouraged to confirm hearing details with the OCPC directly. For a list of upcoming hearings, refer to the OCPC’s Schedule of Proceedings.
After the Hearing
When will the OCPC release its decision?
OCPC generally releases its decision within 90 days of the hearing. However, case complexity and procedural matters may affect the delivery of a decision in a timely manner.
When does the OCPC’s decision take effect?
OCPC decisions take effect the day it is released to the parties, unless otherwise specified within the decision.
How can I access a specific decision?
All OCPC decisions released on or after January 1, 1977 are available on the Canadian Legal Information Institute (CanLII) website. For information on how to use CanLII, please see the CanLII guide.
If you need access to a particular decision that is not available on CanLII, please contact the OCPC:
Toll-Free Telephone: 1-888-444-0240
Toll Free TTY: 1-844-650-2819
Can OCPC decisions be appealed?
There is no statutory right of appeal of a disciplinary appeal decision made by the OCPC. However, pursuant to the Judicial Review Procedure Act, any party to an appeal heard by the OCPC has the right to bring an application for judicial review to the Divisional Court. For more information on the Divisional Court, click here.
A helpful guide on judicial reviews can be found on the Human Rights Legal Support Centre website. The process may vary, but this guide will provide a general overview.
Abolition or Reduction of a Police Force
How is the process of abolishing, reducing or disbanding a municipal police services initiated?
The process is initiated once an application by the municipality is received by the OCPC.
How long does it take for the OCPC to process an application?
The OCPC reviews the information in the application in a timely manner to ensure that it meets the criteria in section 40 of the Police Services Act. If there are any concerns with the application, the OCPC will make further enquiries of the municipality or municipal police services board. The OCPC has the responsibility to ensure that the abolition of an existing police force does not otherwise contravene the Police Services Act.
Can a member of the public express their opinions and/or concerns about a particular application?
Depending on the nature of the application, the OCPC may decide to hold a public hearing. Until that decision is made, all public submissions should be sent to the municipality or municipal police services board. The municipality or Board is responsible for making those submissions available to the OCPC. However, if the OCPC receives submissions directly, it will consider those as part of its review.