Administrative law – Judicial review application – Compliance with legislation – Standard of review – Correctness test – Police – Training requirements
Ottawa-Carleton (Region) Police Services Board v. Ontario (Civilian Commission on Police Services),  O.J. No. 5498, Ontario Superior Court of Justice, December 14, 2001, Zuber, Matlow and Cusinato JJ.
Sheila Dunlop was a member of the Ottawa-Carleton Police Service from 1993 and an inspector since 1994. Ms. Dunlop had previously served as an Executive Coordinator to the Ontario Police Commission. As part of an employment equity initiative, the Ministry of the Solicitor General commenced discussions with the Ottawa Police Services respecting the secondment of Ms. Dunlop to the Ottawa Police Services. The Ministry agreed that Ms. Dunlop would undergo an individual training program at the Ontario Police College. Basic recruit training was not required. Effective June 1994, Ms. Dunlop permanently joined the Ottawa Police and was sworn in at the senior level rank of inspector. In April 2000, the Commission issued a Direction to the Board that it take steps to ensure that within the following six months, Ms. Dunlop attend at the basic recruit training course at the Ontario Police College. The Commission took the position that it was entitled to issue this direction pursuant to s. 9(2) of the Police Services Act in instances where the Board was not complying with the Act. The Commission further took the position that the Board was not complying with ss. 42, 43 and 44 of the Police Services Act, which provided that an officer must complete the prescribed training within six months of the day of appointment. Under s. 2 of the Act, “prescribed” is noted to mean “prescribed by regulations”. “Basic recruit training” was not prescribed by any of the regulations.
In determining the appropriate standard of review, the court noted that the Police Services Act covers a wide range of police matters and it could not be said that the Commission possessed any special expertise in the interpretation of this Act. The court further noted that the Commission was not insulated by any privative clause in the Act. Therefore, the standard of review was found to be one of correctness. The court held that the Commission in interpreting the phrase “initial period of training” read into the statute a requirement that was not laid out in the legislation and thereby erred in law. In the result, the court issued an order quashing the Direction issued by the Commission.
To stay current with the new case law and emerging legal issues in this area, subscribe here.