FAQ Group: Affected person and family members

How can I request an update on my file as an Affected Person?

At any point during an investigation, Affected Persons are welcome to contact the IIO to obtain an update on their file. The Affected Persons Liaison will be the primary point of contact.

Once an investigation is complete, if it is forwarded to Crown Counsel with the BC Prosecution Service (BCPS) and Crown does not approve charges, they will issue a Clear Statement that provides a brief chronology of the evidence and the rationale for the decision. Clear Statements can be found on the BCPS website.

If the Chief Civilian Director does not refer the file to Crown Counsel, they may choose to publish a public report or media release explaining the decision on the IIO website where it is in the public interest to do so.

What is “embargoed information”?

Sometimes the IIO provides an Affected Person and/or their families with information that is considered “embargoed”. Usually this information is related to a decision made by the Chief Civilian Director (CCD) that is shared with the Affected Person and/or their family, along with other involved parties, before it is made public. For example, where the CCD is referring the file to Crown Counsel or is about to issue a public report, the Affected Person or their family will be notified in advance. When this occurs, the IIO requires that the information be kept confidential until it is made public. The Affected Person and/or their family may contact the Affected Persons Liaison if they have any questions.

What type of information may be provided to an affected person during an investigation?

The IIO recognizes that the wait for an investigation to conclude is challenging for Affected Persons and their families. The IIO places the highest importance on ensuring an unbiased, thorough investigation, and only information that does not jeopardize the integrity of the investigation will be provided until such a time as the investigation has concluded.

Updates provided to Affected Persons and families often include information regarding the status of the file and upcoming milestones. Upon conclusion, if an investigation is not being referred to Crown Counsel for consideration of charges, the IIO will provide as much information as possible to Affected Persons and families, while respecting relevant privacy laws.

Where an investigation is referred to Crown Counsel, the IIO is limited in what information that can be provided until a charge decision and any related court proceedings are concluded.

Will the IIO release the name of an Affected Person to the public?

In general, the IIO does not release the names of affected persons, as stated in the Canadian Civilian Oversight Agencies Joint Statement on the Release of Names. Only under exceptional circumstances will the IIO determine it necessary to release the name of an Affected Person, such as to secure essential evidence when there are no alternative means available to do so. If Crown Counsel approves a charge, the BC Prosecution Service will release the name of the Affected Person.

What should an Affected Person do if they are contacted by the media?

Media outlets may contact Affected Persons or their families regarding an incident under IIO investigation and request comment. It is up to the Affected Person or their family if they wish to speak to the media, but they are not obligated to do so even if media ask. Please refer to the media page in the IIO’s Information for Affected Persons and Families booklet for more information. This resource is also available in Traditional Chinese and Punjabi.

Can the information provided by an Affected Person be used against them?

An Affected Person may be the subject of a concurrent or parallel police investigation, and as a result, they may face jeopardy. When an IIO Investigator takes an Affected Person’s statement, the focus is on the Affected Person’s interaction with police, not the Affected Person’s possible criminal conduct. The Investigator will advise the Affected Person not to provide incriminating information in their IIO statement as IIO file material may be disclosed to the involved police agency.

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