Today our office submitted a set of eight recommendations to the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services on its Strategy for a Safer Ontario consultation, which includes a review of the Police Services Act (PSA). We are pleased the Ministry is openly engaging with the public and other stakeholders on this important initiative.
The Ministry’s consultation paper considers the use of surveillance technologies and practices to strengthen public safety. These measures involve the collection, use and disclosure of personal information, for which police services are accountable under Ontario’s access and privacy legislation. While the goal of enhancing public safety is laudable, the Ministry must ensure that access and privacy rights are protected.
In this submission, we call for:
- strong governance frameworks that meet transparency and privacy best practices for programs that involve sharing of personal information among multiple agencies
- province-wide standards for police use of surveillance technologies
- amendments to the PSA to ensure transparency and accountability in outcomes of police misconduct complaints and Special Investigation Unit matters
- engagement with our office and other key stakeholders on new programs or initiatives, or legislative reform, that may impact privacy or access rights