Making a Complaint
For all conduct, policy or service complaints that concern matters occurring on or after October 19, 2009, please visit the new Office of the Independent Police Review Director website. It contains all the necessary forms and allows electronic filing of complaint information.
For conduct, policy or service complaints prior to October 19, 2009, the information below still applies and will continue to be followed.
A citizen's guide for filing complaints about the policies of, services provided or the conduct of a police officer employed by the Toronto Police Service.
Defining a complaint
There are two types of complaints. They relate to:
- The policies of, or services provided by the Toronto Police Service
- The conduct of a police officer of the Toronto Police Service.
How may I make a complaint?
- If you are directly affected by an incident, you may make a complaint. Your complaint must be in writing , signed , and mailed, emailed, faxed or delivered to any police station of this Service, the Complaints Administration section of the PRS-Risk Management Unit, the PRS-Investigative Unit or the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services.
- You may also use a standard form which is available at any station of this Service or on-line in Adobe Acrobat format to make a complaint.
- Your complaint must normally be made within six (6) months after the incident occurred.
How is my complaint processed?
The Chief of Police, or his designate, must determine how your complaint is to proceed and if your complaint concerns conduct, policies or services of the Toronto Police Service. The Chief may decide not to deal with the complaint
- if it was filed six (6) months after the incident which led to the complaint;
- if it is frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith;
- if you are not directly affected by the incident.
The decision of the Chief must be made within thirty (30) days of receipt of the complaint.
Review of the decision
If you disagree with the initial classification of your complaint as either a policy, service or conduct issue, you may request that the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services review the classification. You may also request that the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services review the Chief's decision not to deal with your complaint. However, in either case, your request must be made within thirty (30) days of receipt of the decision. You should provide the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services with as much information as possible, including your reasons for requesting the review.
The Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services may confirm the decision of the Chief of Police, refer your complaint back for investigation, or assign it to another police service. There is no appeal from the decision of the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services.
Informal resolution of your complaint
The Police Services Act encourages an informal resolution of conduct complaints, at any time during the process, where the Chief of Police concludes that it was not of a serious nature and both you and the police officer consent to the proposed resolution.
How may I withdraw my complaint?
You may withdraw your complaint at any time in writing. However, the Chief of Police may continue to deal with your complaint if it is felt that the circumstances warrant further action.
What happens if I have a complaint about policy or services?
Complaints related to policy issues or services provided city wide are referred to the Chief of Police.
Complaints related to policy issues or services provided at the unit level are referred to the applicable unit commander.
If you are not satisfied with the decision of the Chief of Police or unit commander, you may request that the Toronto Police Services Board review the complaint by making a written request to the Board within thirty (30) days of having received notice of the decision.
Complaints about conduct
The Chief of Police must ensure that every conduct complaint is investigated (except for reasons cited earlier). After the investigative report is completed, the Chief or designate may:
- settle the matter by way of informal resolution if the conduct was not of a serious nature
- find the complaint unsubstantiated
- find the officer guilty of misconduct, or unsatisfactory work performance and impose a penalty without a formal hearing, where the conduct is not serious.
- decide the complaint should be heard by a police disciplinary hearing.
Can I file a complaint about the off-duty conduct of a police officer?
A complaint may be filed about the conduct of an off-duty officer, however, the officer shall not be found guilty of misconduct or unsatisfactory work performance, if there is no connection between the conduct and either the occupational requirements for a police officer or the reputation of the police service.
What takes place at a disciplinary hearing?
If the Chief of Police orders a disciplinary hearing, a prosecuting officer or a legal counsel or agent, as designated by the Chief, is responsible for presenting the evidence. You will be informed about your participation at the hearing. The hearing is presided over by a Hearing Officer who is also designated by the Chief. The Hearing Officer considers the evidence and decides the outcome.
An officer found guilty of misconduct or unsatisfactory work performance could face a range of penalties from reprimand to dismissal and could also be directed to undergo counseling, treatment or training.
What can I do if I am not satisfied with a decision at a disciplinary hearing?
A person making a complaint (complainant) or the police officer named in a complaint may appeal to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services within thirty (30) days of the decision of a disciplinary hearing, if the officer's misconduct or unsatisfactory work performance was not established. If a complainant wishes to appeal a penalty imposed by the Hearing Officer, consent from the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services is required.
Who are the police accountable to in the new complaints system?
The Chief of Police is accountable to the Toronto Police Services Board which reviews the administration of the complaints system on a regular basis. The Chief is also accountable to the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police Services for the Service's handling of complaints.
Addresses for filing complaints
Please note that complaints must be written and signed. If sent by e-mail you must attach an electronic signature.
Ontario Civilian Police Commission
Suite 605, 250 Dundas Street West
Toronto, ON M7A 2T3
Public complaints fax: 416-314-2036
Toll free phone: 1-888-515-5005
Toll free fax: 1-888-311-7555
c/o Toronto Police Service
791 Islington Ave.
Telephone: (416) 808-2800
Fax No.: (416) 808-2802
NOTE: A complainant may also attend any police station of the Toronto Police
Service to file a complaint.