Black Action Defence Committee salutes Ontario Government on passage of ‘The Safer Ontario Act 2018’

The following statement from the Black Action Defense Committee (BADC) of Toronto was condensed for reasons of space:

From Left: Kingsley Gilliam Director Communication BADC; Gerry Mcneal, Director OPIRD; Valarie Steele VP BADC and PRESIDENT JDCF, Hewitt Loague, President BADC and Selwyn Pieters Atorney for BADC on Andrew Luko Inquest and other cases.

The Black Action Defense Committee wishes to publicly congratulate the Government of Ontario on the Passage and Royal Ascent of Bill 175 and unequivocally supports this landmark piece of legislation that has the potential to make Ontario a better place to live and raise families without fear of police brutality and harassment.

Bill 175, short titled “The Safer Ontario Act 2018, was passed in the legislature last Thursday March 8, 2018. It offers the first significant updates to policing legislation in Ontario, since the enactment of the Police Services Act in1990, more than 25 years.

The new package of legislation contained in Bill 175 repeals the Police Services Act and several regulations and replaces them with separate Police Oversight legislation under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of the Attorney General; The Ontario Special Investigations Act, 2018, which consequently repealed (section 106) of the Police Services Act.  Bill 175 also creates new policing legislation, the Police Services Act, 2018 which remains under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and governs all policing matters.

Black Action Defense Committee, BADC, wishes to express our heartiest congratulations to Premier Kathleen Wynne and her government for listening to the many voices of Ontarians, including BADC’s that demanded action of the government on policing and police oversight issues, by accepting BADC’s demand to appoint a senior judge, to review policing and police over sight in the province. Her appointment of Justice Michael Tulloch of the Ontario Court of Appeals to review policing and Police Oversight was a game changer.

Furthermore, her appointment of two courageous Ministers, Attorney General Hon. Yasir Naqvi and Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services  Hon. Marie-France Lalonde to overhaul policing and police oversight legislation was an act of courage and resolve.

BADC Congratulates these two brave and courageous ministers on their fortitude in leading the community and the legislature through this very controversial debate and consultation process which none of their predecessors dared to tackle.

Valarie Steele and Kingsley Gilliam of The Black Action Defense Committee BADC participated in numerous consultations with these two Ministers and their dedicated staff and the policy directorate of their respective Ministries over the last year, providing the Black and radicalized community’s perspective on critical issues that the legislation should address.

It was an honour and privilege for us to have worked with these Ministers and the dedicated public servants on their respective teams; who recognized the seriousness of the challenges at stake, and drew extensively on BADC’S expertise and Kingsley’s extensive Strategic Policy background in shaping policy and legislation in the Ontario Public Service, to assist them negotiating conflicting interests, to create the balanced frame work that this legislation represents.

The measures contained in the legislation will help to regain public trust in police services, when they are fully implemented. They will also provide greater accountability of police officers; professionalize policing by increased training and accountability and establishing a professional college of policing in Ontario to regulate professional standards of policing like other regulated professions, thus making it less attractive for police abuse of power and regulating professional conduct.