MEETING PREVIEW: Guelph Police Services Board for March 16, 2023

This month’s Guelph Police Board meeting will have a lot of information for you, which is something that was promised back in that first meeting of the year, but unless someone on the board wants to discuss things further this may be the only way you learn more about it without actually reading the agenda. For the meeting itself though, we will hear from the Chief as usual and the board will talk about endorsing national bail reform.

NOTE: This meeting takes place virtually at 2:30 pm but it will be broadcast on Guelph Police’s YouTube page.

Board Correspondence Report – There were no correspondences to or from the board this month.

2022 Access to Information Report – Every year, the service’s legal unit has to prepare a report to outline how many Freedom of Information requests they processed in the last year be they from citizens, law firms, community organizations or insurance companies. All this is outlined under the Municipal Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, or the MFIPPA.

In 2022, Guelph Police received 460 requests, which is a bit more than the number they received in 2021 and the five-year average, which is 439 and 440 respectively. On average, it took about 17 days for the Police to respond to each request. At the same time, they responded to 64 requests for information not technically covered under MFIPPA, and that includes Court Orders, Mandatory Blood Act Applications, Statements of Claim, Landlord Tenant Board Applications, and Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services queries.

Another interesting note in the report? The number of requests received by the police electronically in 2022 was 82 per cent, and then they sent out the compiled material electronically 96 per cent of the time. Why is this interesting? In 2019, pre-COVID, those numbers were both under 10 per cent. And for the record, GPS made $12,000 from FOI requests, which is way above average because of thee Collision Reconstruction Reports requested.

2022 Major Case Management Annual Report – What is a “major case”? According the definitions in Ontario Regulation 354/04 it’s a homicide, sexual assault, non-family abduction, the discovery of human remains, criminal harassment where the victim doesn’t know the harasser, and missing persons cases where foul play is suspect.

Every year, Ontario’s police services have to prepare two reports about all the major cases they dealt with; one for the MCM Regulation, and one under the ViCLAS Regulation of the Ontario Police Services Act. The MCM numbers seem to be a bit more thorough than the ViCLAS, but if you’re interested in seeing how different categories compare over the last seven years, check out the chart below.

2022 Missing Persons Annual Report – Every April, Ontario’s police services have to prepare a report about the number and types of urgent demands for records for missing persons investigations, and then get it approved by the board before submission to the Government of Ontario. The report for last year is pretty simple: there were two total urgent demands made and one of those times was for a missing persons investigation. Cell phone records were the subject of both requests.

Public Sector Salary Disclosure for 2022 – You’ve heard of the “Sunshine List”, well that’s what this is except it’s the Guelph Police-only edition. Last year, 188 employees with the Guelph Police Service made $100,000 or more, which is about half, or 54.5 per cent, of the people working with the service. The 188 people on the “List” in 2022, represents 18 more people from 2021, but it’s still down from the all time high of 190 in 2020.

Member Appointments – There’s one new appointment for the board to approve this month, and it’s Bradley Daw. After recently retiring as Manager of Facility Service and Development at the YMCA of Three Rivers, Daw will be taking on a part-time position as a custodian for Guelph Police.

*All the items to this point are technically on the consent agenda. Unless a member of the board pulls an item for questions or further discussion, all the above items will be approved as a slate.

Chief’s Monthly Report – As usual, Guelph Police Services Chief Gord Cobey will deliver a verbal report about the latest goings on at 15 Wyndham Street South.

Meeting Format Moving Forward – There’s no report with this agenda item, but presumably this will deal with whether or not the board meeting will be held in-person again. The agenda notes that the April meeting will still be held on Teams and live-streamed through YouTube, but as of this writing, the Police Board is one of the last local boards to be held completely online.

Bail Reform Decision – Included in the agenda is a motion that was passed at the Waterloo Regional Police Services Board that calls on the provincial and federal governments to enact sector-wide bail reform, which would include, and we’re quoting, “broadening the application of the reverse onus protocol.” According to a recent piece in Policy Options, that means, “Generally, the Crown must show why an accused should be detained or released on certain conditions. Reverse onus puts the obligation on the accused to show why they should be released. Failing that, the accused may be detained until trial.”

Police services demanding changes to bail reform stems from the murder of Ontario Provincial Police Const. Grzegorz Pierzchala last year. One of the two people accused of that crime, Randall McKenzie, was on bail and awaiting trail for a number of charges including assault and weapons offenses when he allegedly took part in the killing of Pierzchala. The WRPS Board motion is meant to encourage other services boards and municipal councils to pass similar motions.

Establishment of a Board Nominating Committee  – As you may have heard, the Guelph Police Services Board has been in the market for a new board member, and now that nominations have closed the time has come to establish a committee to sift through the applications. Three board members will need to volunteer for the task.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s