If the number of investigations referred for consideration of charges were a measure of the IIO’s success as a police oversight and accountability body, that would assume that all police actions or inactions are wrong and are never legally justifiable. Since this is not the case, it would not be logical to consider the total number of referrals as a measure of success. Instead, completing thorough, unbiased investigations that result in the appropriate outcome based on the evidence available (either finding there are or are not reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed) is the true goal of the IIO.
In Canada, police have powers and responsibilities that may include the justified use of lethal force. Deaths are tragic. However, if lethal force is used to protect others or themselves from grievous bodily harm or death, police are justified in Canadian law to use that force, and this therefore should not be referred for consideration of charges.
However, when lethal or excessive force is used unjustly, the IIO investigation will collect evidence that supports the existence of reasonable grounds to believe an offence has been committed. Based on this evidence, the Chief Civilian Director may submit a referral to Crown Counsel (BC Prosecution Service) for consideration of charges.