Bill 78, Extending Eligibility of Queen's Commission to Municipal Police and First Nations Constables, Passes in Ontario Legislature

Published on April 29, 2022

Legislation Seeking to Expand Eligibility Criteria for Queen's Commission Receives Royal Assent

QUEEN'S PARK – Members of the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 78, An Act to Amend the Police Services Act, 2021. Tabled by MPP for Kitchener-Conestoga Mike Harris in December 2021, Bill 78 amends the Police Services Act to allow municipal and First Nations police services officers across the province to be eligible for the Queen's Commission. Until now, the Queen's Commission was attainable only by officers of a certain rank of the Ontario Provincial Police. Bill 78 passed with all-party support and received Royal Assent on April 28, 2022.

"I want to thank my fellow parliamentarians at Queen's Park for their support in passing Bill 78," said Mike Harris, Member of Provincial Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga. "I know this move means a lot to our officers in municipal and First Nation police services. The legislation intends to honour exemplary officers and foster stronger relationships within their communities by underscoring the tremendous work they undertake every day in service of the people of Ontario."

With the passing of Bill 78, the Police Services Act is amended to allow the Lieutenant Governor in Council to authorize the issue of a commission under the Great Seal to municipal police officers and First Nations Constables.

Ontario's municipal officers face innumerable challenges and risk their lives in the daily performance of their duties. Whether serving in First Nations, rural or northern communities or large urban centres, Ontario's police officers are doing the hard work of enforcing laws and seeking justice so that all Ontarians may live with safety and peace of mind.

QUOTES

"I want to commend MPP Harris for bringing forward Bill 78 on behalf of Ontario's dedicated police officers and congratulate him on its passage," said Solicitor General Sylvia Jones. "Many hard outstanding municipal and First Nations police officers are deserving of the Queen's Commission."

"I applaud these changes, which will honour the incredible work and leadership of officers who work each and every day to uphold the law and public safety, who work to foster trust and confidence between their organizations and the communities they serve, and who commit themselves to achieve justice for all," said Bryan Larkin, Chief of Police for the Waterloo Regional Police Service and the President of the Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police. "Extending the Queen's Commission to exceptional municipal police officers and First Nations Constables is an honour that is deserving and is one that I support fully."

"I want to thank MPP Harris for all of his work on this Bill that will see First Nations and Municipal Officers be eligible for the Queen's Commission," said Chief Robert A. Davis - Brantford Police Service. "Officers serving First Nations communities face unparalleled challenges daily, yet rarely see or garner the recognition that is deserved. Officers in Municipal services of all sizes are dedicated to keeping their communities safe and are called upon daily to do so, knowing the risks of every call are never fully known. First Nations and Municipal officers do amazing work to ensure public safety and trust. It is great to see that through this Bill, we will be eligible for the Queen's Commission."

"I am pleased to support this legislation allowing all municipal and First Nations officers the ability to receive the Queen's Commission in recognition of exemplary performance," said Todd Rollauer, Interim Chief of the Durham Regional Police Service. "Officers at Durham Regional Police Services (DRPS) and across this province risk their lives each and every day and rise to extraordinary levels to serve and protect our communities. This change allows all officers across Ontario to be recognized for their hard work and dedication to community safety and is fully endorsed by this service."

"The PAO is pleased to support this effort to ensure that all officers across Ontario can be recognized for their vital service to the province," said PAO President Mark Baxter. "Police officers in this province are incredibly hardworking and dedicated to their local communities and I'm glad to see that MPP Harris' bill allows for all of them to be eligible for a Queen's Commission."

"I have read over MPP Harris' letter proposing the Queen's Commission be made available to First Nations and Municipal police officers. We all do the same job for the communities we serve and we should be on the same page as far as recognition of exemplary performance," said Chief of Police of Six Nations, Darren Montour.

"As a retired Commissioned Officer with the Ontario Provincial Police, I fully support this amendment to the Police Services Act, which extends the eligibility criteria of the Queen's Commission to officers in municipal and First Nations jurisdictions," said Chief Scott Tod, of the North Bay Police Service. "In my current role as municipal Police Chief, I can attest to the deserving qualities of municipal and Indigenous police leaders specific to the trust and confidence to their loyalty, integrity and ability."

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