In May 2007 the OHRC, the Toronto Police Service (TPS) and its Services Board agreed on a Human Rights Project Charter that outlined a program of joint activity to develop and implement a number of interventions aimed at enhancing the capacity of the TPS and its Board to address human rights concerns. This project covered areas of concern including policies and procedures; training, human resources, accountability, public liaison and education. This three year joint project concluded in May 2010.
The Windsor Police Service (Service) and the Windsor Police Services Board (Board) for many years have been open to the concerns brought forward by various ethno-racial, cultural and faith organizations and communities. The Board and Service responded with Service-wide change initiatives aimed at protecting and promoting human rights and equity, including the development of a Diversity Statement in August, 2004.
In addressing internal and external complaints made to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and previous to the change to the human rights system, to the OHRC, the Service implemented organizational-wide training. As well, both the Board and the Service continued working with the OHRC to develop policies that serve the public good as complaints were addressed, such as an expanded policy for Unlawful Profiling or Bias-Based Policing and an additional policy directive specific to Racially Biased Policing and Racial Profiling.
Throughout these events the Board and the Service continued to make efforts to be reflective of the community’s demographics.
The Service reviewed the representativeness of it applicant pool and its ranks. This review confirmed that the applicant pool was not representative of the make up of the Windsor community. It further confirmed that the ranks of the Windsor Police Service above constable level did not represent the makeup of the community, and notably, it did not reflect the constable pool itself. The Board and Service recognize that the lack of representativeness of its applicant pool and its ranks above constable level has contributed to the public’s view that the Service is not reflective of the City of Windsor.
In view of these factors, the Board and Service approached the OHRC proposing a project charter modeled after the Toronto project charter. In addition, all three parties recognized the valuable role that the OPC could also play in such a project and invited the OPC to participate as a Project Sponsor as well.
A committee, composed of representatives of all four parties (The Board, the Service, the OHRC, and the OPC) met during the fall of 2010 to negotiate a human rights project charter patterned on the Toronto Police human rights project. The purpose was to determine an appropriate project structure and approach to review, and if necessary, alter existing initiatives, and policies, procedures, and practices of the Board and Service to ensure that the requirements of the Ontario Human Rights Code are upheld both in all service provisions and in employment practices of the Service.
Integral to this project charter is the joint working group of the four parties to support the Board and Service change initiatives aimed at ensuring the human rights of their employees and service recipients.
Although there is no requirement to do so, outstanding human rights complaints may be settled with reference to this initiative.
Project Objective & Term
During the term of this agreement, the Human Rights Project (Project) is intended to provide support to the Board and the Service in their ongoing initiatives aimed at identifying and eliminating any possible discrimination in its employment practices including the hiring, selection for transfer, retention and promotion of Service members, and in the delivery of services.
The Project Charter’s description of work required to attain these objectives is contained in this document.
The Project Charter:
- Is for a term of no more than three years unless all four parties agree to extend the term beyond the three year term;
- Details the agreed upon relationship to be established between the four parties to fulfill these aims;
- is a joint undertaking to address the issues identified in this Project and is not an admission of liability as to those issues by either the Board or Service as it relates to any past, present or future complaints or other legal proceedings against the Board or Service;
- Is not intended to resolve individual complaints filed with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, however, the Project will address the issue of public interest remedies in general; and
- Recognizes the primacy of the Ontario Human Rights Code and in no way fetters the statutory powers and duties of the OHRC, the OPC, or fetters the responsibilities of the Board and the Service in the exercise of their statutory duties.
Assumptions & Challenges
The parties understand the challenges inherent in this Project. For example, change has the potential to create resistance among both internal and external stakeholders. The parties recognize that perceived failure to respond to human rights concerns as a result of this Project has the real potential to further frustrate communities and groups alienated from the Service.
The Project assumes the following:
- The parties will remain committed to the stated objectives;
- The parties commit to provide sufficient resources to achieve the Project’s goal; and
- The parties commit to providing timely responses and approvals when required.
The Project is supported at the highest levels of the four organizations with the Chief Commissioner of the OHRC, the Director of the OPC, the Chair of the Board, and the Chief of Police acting as Project Sponsors.
All working groups will attempt to achieve objectives by consensus. If consensus cannot be achieved, the issue will be referred to the Project Sponsors for their consideration. In the event that the Project Sponsors cannot reach consensus, the parties will agree to disagree on the particular issue and carry on with the rest of their work.
The OHRC and the OPC acknowledge that the Board and Service are owners of their own change process. The Board and Service have statutory responsibilities that cannot be delegated to another authority and in particular, the role of the Chair of the Board as a Project Sponsor shall not be construed as binding the Board.
The role of the OHRC and the OPC will be to provide advice to the Board and Service regarding their ongoing change initiatives, assist in the development of target change objectives, and to report on the progress of the Board and Service in relation to these initiatives.
An initial list of agreed upon target change objectives is identified as Appendix A to this Charter. Over the course of the Project, amendments to the target change objectives may be appropriate. If all four Project Sponsors agree to a proposed amendment, revised target change objectives will be drafted and added to this Project Charter as Appendices.
The Project will be directed by a Project Sponsors Committee made up of the OHRC, OPC, the Board and the Service. The Project Sponsors Committee will meet on a regular basis and will maintain the following features/functions:
- Involvement from the OHRC will include the Chief Commissioner and staff representatives;
- Involvement from the OPC will include the Director and staff representatives;
- Involvement from the Board will include the Board Chair, a member of the Board, the Board’s Administrative Assistant and Board Counsel;
- Involvement from the Service will include the Chief of Police and other members as assigned;
- Meetings will be convened at least quarterly subject to change by agreement of the Project Sponsors;
- Meetings will be held regularly at the Police Headquarters, unless otherwise agreed;
- The Board or Service will resource the meetings with staff responsible for meeting logistics and for keeping minutes;
- The OHRC, the OPC, the Board and the Service will each assign individuals to a Steering Group responsible for administering the Project. This working group will meet more frequently than the Project Sponsor Committee and will be responsible for providing detailed guidance for the overall Project, identify and address issues of concern, generate agendas, materials, and reports required for the project, and ensure adequate training for members working on the Project.
- The OHRC, the OPC, the Board and the Service will each assign one person to facilitate ongoing communication between the organizations;
- The Board and/or Service will provide a formal update of change initiatives for each meeting;
- The OHRC and the OPC will provide feedback and identify concerns related to the update and/or concerns related to human rights policy concerns;
- Committees may be formed when needed. Individuals may also be a assigned specific tasks when needed;
- The Project Sponsors Committee will review the need for a continued relationship annually with the first public report to be completed by the end of 2011; and
- Given that sensitive matters are likely to be discussed, confidentiality shall be maintained with respect to all matters discussed at the meetings of the Project Sponsors Committee, the Steering Group, and all working groups unless the parties agree otherwise and are legally entitled to disclose.
- Involvement of other organizations from the community will be permitted at the discretion of the Steering Group, and efforts will be made to involve members of the community and the Windsor Police Association where appropriate.
Subject to the confidentiality clause above, the OHRC, the OPC, the Board and the Service will communicate their activities both within their organizations and to the general public.
- Detailed minutes will be distributed after each meeting in accordance with the following distribution list:
Director Bill Stephens
Chief Commissioner Hall
Chief Gary Smith
Eddie Frances, Chair
Senior Management Committee
Senior Management Team
Inspector – Diversity Management Unit
Board Counsel and Administrative Assistant
OPC staff representatives
OHRC Staff Representatives
Director Human Resources, Inspector – Diversity Management Unit
- An internal annual report will be developed jointly to review progress of the Project.
- The Chief of Police will report publicly on progress to the Board annually.
- Special issue reports will be produced when appropriate.
Indicators of Success
The following are meant to be an initial guide for the success of the Project Charter with potential for other indicators to be added:
- Human rights issues and concerns at Service are identified and response plans are detailed and implemented;
- Specific human rights issues and concerns are addressed, including those identified in target change objectives agreement appended as Appendix A to this Charter;
- Human rights complaints processes are running effectively to address human rights concerns within the Service; and
- Public confidence is developed in marginalized and alienated communities.