THUNDER BAY - The Thunder Bay Police Services Board has appointed an integrity commissioner, which it believes will bring enhanced ethics, good governance, and transparency to the board.
During the Thunder Bay Police Services Board meeting on Tuesday, the board received a report recommending the appointment of an integrity commissioner.
Integrity commissioners are often appointed by local municipal governments and boards across the province. The role of an integrity commissioner is to assist the board with a variety of issues, including ethical concerns, conflicts of interest, codes of conduct, and transparency.
“In Ontario, Police Services Boards, along with boards of health and library boards, are specifically excluded from the requirement to appoint an Integrity Commissioner and adopt a Code of Conduct, as provided for in Section 223 of the Municipal Act,” the report presented to the Police Services Board reads.
“There is however nothing that prevents a Police Services Board from electing to do so. This Report will recommend that the Thunder Bay Police Services Board do just that, and outline the framework for implementing such a decision.”
Police Services Board secretary John Hannam said the board is dealing with much more complex issues than it was 20 years ago.
“The kind of expert advice an integrity commissioner can provide is something the board can benefit from and something the board should consider moving forward,” he said.
There was no discussion on the matter and the board voted in favour of appointing the Toronto-based company, Principles Integrity, which also works with the Thunder Bay city council.
“I am pleased that the Board has made the decision to select an Integrity Commissioner to assist us in ensuring enhanced ethics, good governance and increased transparency,” said chair, Kristen Oliver in a statement.
“We look forward to working with Principles Integrity to further enhance the work we are doing to ensure public safety, effective oversight of the Service and fulfill the responsibilities required of us under the Police Services Act.”
The move follows recent revelations that several complaints have been filed with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal against the Thunder Bay Police Services Board and Thunder Bay Police Service leadership.
This includes a complaint filed on behalf of Police Services Board member Georjann Morriseau, alleging shortcomings and systemic discrimination by the board and police leadership.
The Thunder Bay Police Services Board also re-appointed Kristen Oliver and Michael Power as chair and vice-chair respectively for a second year. No other members were nominated for the positions.
“I am pleased to continue to serve as Chair of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board,” said Oliver said. “I look forward to continuing to work with the Thunder Bay Police Service and Thunder Bay Police Services Board to deliver adequate and effective police services in our community.”