News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

November 29, 2021

PROVINCE INTRODUCES AMENDMENTS TO POLICE SERVICES ACT

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Changes Would Ensure Manitoba has Most Effective Independent Police Oversight Agency in Canada: Friesen

The Manitoba government is introducing amendments to the Police Services Act that would strengthen the Independent Investigations Unit (IIU) and support greater responsiveness and accountability in policing across the province­­­­, Justice Minister Cameron Friesen announced today.

“It is our government’s aim that all Manitobans have confidence in the work of the IIU,” said Friesen. “These amendments broaden the scope of the IIU’s mandate, increase accountability for police services, and establish a new role of director of Indigenous and community relations, in order to provide a direct connection between the investigations, the board, and the families and communities affected. I have been honoured to advance this work with the guidance and collaboration of Manitoba’s grand chiefs and their officials at the working table that supported these actions.”

The department established an implementation team that has been working directly with Indigenous organizations including the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC), Manitoba Keewatinowi Okimakanak (MKO), the Southern Chiefs Organization (SCO) and the Manitoba Metis Federation and other targeted stakeholders to inform amendments to the legislation.

Legislative changes would be implemented to strengthen the work of the IIU and address gaps in current legislation, address concerns raised by stakeholders and enhance relationships between the IIU and affected communities. Proposed amendments include:

  • establishing a position within the IIU to ensure Indigenous organizations, community leaders and affected people/family members are directly engaged throughout the course of an investigation;
  • replacing the Civilian Monitor Program with a Community Liaison Program to allow the appointment of designated individuals from affected communities or organizations to work with the IIU to provide a direct connection between the investigation and the community, and ensure the investigation is conducted with respect and sensitivity;
  • enabling a Crown attorney to temporarily act in place of the civilian director when the director is away from the office for vacation or illness;
  • discontinuing the practice of seconding serving police officers to serve on the IIU while employed by a police agency;
  • establishing a duty to comply with requests from the IIU’s civilian director or investigators; 
  • requiring the IIU to be notified immediately in all instances, not just instances of serious injury or death;
  • implementing penalties for police officers that fail to comply with the legislation (duty to comply and notification obligations); and
  • enhancing transparency by prescribing IIU public reporting requirements.

In November 2020, Manitoba released the independent review of the Manitoba Police Services Act. The review included dozens of recommendations aimed at supporting greater responsiveness and accountability in policing.

The recommendations were informed by significant research and stakeholder consultations with representatives from various organizations in Manitoba’s policing and police governance system including provincial and municipal government officials, chairs and members of police boards, chiefs of police and police associations, Indigenous organizations and oversight agencies.

Input was also provided by provincial and federal public prosecution services, non-governmental organizations involved in aspects of community safety, and other civil society organizations such as the Criminal Defence Lawyers Association of Manitoba.

The Independent Investigation Unit (IIU) investigates all serious incidents involving police officers in Manitoba, whether occurring on or off duty. For more information on the unit, visit www.iiumanitoba.ca/.  

 

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