Ombudsman Ontario

Ombudsman Ontario

November 05, 2013 10:00 ET

Ombudsman Appoints Former Police Chiefs as Advisors to De-Escalation Investigation

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Nov. 5, 2013) - Ontario Ombudsman André Marin today announced he has appointed two prominent former police chiefs as special advisors to his ongoing investigation into the direction provided by the province to police for de-escalating conflict situations.

The advisors are Hon. Vern White, former chief of the Ottawa and Durham police services and former Assistant Commissioner of the RCMP, and Mike Boyd, former chief of the Edmonton Police Service and former deputy chief of the Toronto Police Service. They will share their expertise with the Ombudsman during the investigation.

"I am honoured that these two professionals with decades of experience have agreed to assist my office in this important work as we review the use of force by police in Ontario and determine where improvements are needed," Mr. Marin said. "Former chiefs Boyd and White are well-respected across Canada by police and the public alike. They are committed to increasing public confidence in police, and I welcome their input."

The investigation is reviewing, among other things, the training provided to police through the Ontario Police College, as well as how the province has responded to relevant recommendations from numerous inquests into police-involved deaths. To date, the Ombudsman has received 164 complaints and submissions relating to this case, and Mr. Marin has met with several family members of Ontarians who were killed by police in recent years.

The Ombudsman's office is also contacting every police chief, police association and police services board in the province to invite their co-operation in the investigation.

Anyone who has information relevant to the investigation can call 1-800-263-1830, file an online complaint at or email

Since his appointment in 2005, Mr. Marin has conducted some 30 major systemic investigations into issues affecting large numbers of Ontarians and his recommendations have sparked wide-reaching government reforms, including improvements to newborn screening and drug funding, overhauls of the property tax assessment system and Ontario lottery security, and better support for provincial police officers dealing with operational stress injuries.

Biographical info and comments

Mike Boyd served with the Toronto Police Service for 34 years, including as Deputy Chief from 1994-2004 and interim chief in 2005, before becoming Chief of the Edmonton Police from 2006-2010. He was vice-president of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police from 2008-2010. Among many other accomplishments, he investigated police-involved deaths long before the creation of the province's Special Investigations Unit, and was a member of the first Use of Force Review Committee in Ontario.

"I have spent much of my career promoting a high degree of professionalism among police members and the development of policing skills that involve critical thinking and tactical communications. I welcome the chance to share my experience and that of the thousands of police personnel I've worked with at all levels, in an effort to improve how we serve the public." -Michael J. Boyd

Vern White was in policing for 31 years, moving from constable to Assistant Commissioner with the RCMP before becoming Chief of the Durham Regional Police Service from 2005-2007 and Chief of the Ottawa Police Service from 2007-2012. He has a Professional Doctorate in Police Leadership from Charles Sturt University in Australia and has lectured at universities around the world. He was appointed to the Senate of Canada by Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2012.

"The Ombudsman's invitation to police chiefs to provide input in this investigation has significant potential to benefit all police as well as the public. I am glad to contribute my expertise toward this crucial issue as a way of giving back to the Ontario public." -Hon. Vern White

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More information related to this investigation can be found under "Investigations" at

Please note: Mr. Marin is speaking at 1 p.m. today at the Ottawa Convention Centre, 55 Colonel By Drive, Room 213. There will be a live webcast at 1 p.m. and video thereafter at

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