FAQ Group: General FAQs about the IIO

Where can I learn more about the IIO?

Additional information may be found on the IIO website at www.iiobc.ca.  All employment opportunities for the IIO are posted to the BC Employment website. Please check back regularly.

What support can people expect if they find themselves involved in an IIO investigation?

People affected by an IIO investigation can expect to receive support and information from the investigators assigned to the case.  In addition, the IIO has a specially trained Affected Persons Liaison who is responsible for services to affected persons. This could include referral for counseling, mediation, linkages to community resources and assessment.

What is the difference between Crown counsel’s charging standard and the Chief Civilian Director’s statutory referral standard?

Under the provisions of Section 38.11 of the Police Act, the Chief Civilian Director may report a matter to the Criminal Justice Branch if, after an investigation, the Chief Civilian Director considers that there are reasonable grounds to believe that an officer may have committed an offence under any enactment, including an enactment of Canada or another province.

Under the Crown Counsel Act, the Criminal Justice Branch has jurisdiction over the charge assessment and charge approval process. In approving charges, the Criminal Justice Branch must generally be satisfied not only that an offence may have been committed, but that the commission of an offence can be proven in court beyond a reasonable doubt. Criminal Justice Branch policy provides that in making this assessment Crown Counsel will apply a two-part test:

  •  there must be a substantial likelihood of conviction based on the evidence gathered by the investigating agency; and,
  •  a prosecution must be required in the public interest.

Will the IIO release names?

The IIO generally does not release the names of the individuals involved in our investigations. The IIO consults with and takes advice from the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner regarding the release of identifying information contained within our Public Reports.

The law that governs us with respect to the privacy of our Affected Persons, involved officers and civilian witnesses is contained within the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (FOIPPA). Further, the civilian oversight agencies in Canada (IIU, IIO, SIRT, ASIRT and SIU) agreed upon a joint standard across Canada in 2015 regarding the release of names. An excerpt of that joint statement follows:

“Society is entitled to be fully informed when someone is killed by police, which is why we will continue to provide the media and public with a detailed account of our investigations. At the same time, we will continue to err on the side of compassion and human decency by empowering complainants and their families with the decision to release or not to release, while at the same time ensuring we are able to conduct effective investigations. We feel this is a reasonable compromise.” (See Joint Statement on Release of Names in the Publications section for the full text).

What happens at the end of an IIO investigation?

If the CCD concludes that an officer may have committed an offence, he is required to report the matter to Crown counsel. If he does not make a report to Crown counsel, he is permitted by s.38.121 of the Police Act to publicly report the reasoning underlying his decision.

In his public report, the CCD may include a summary of circumstances that led to the IIO asserting jurisdiction; a description of the resources that the IIO deployed; a statement indicating that the IIO, after concluding the investigation, has reported the matter to Crown counsel; or a summary of the results of the investigation if the matter has not been reported to Crown.

He is only permitted to disclose personal information about an officer, an affected person, a witness or any other person who may have been involved if the public interest in disclosure outweighs the privacy interests of the person. Prior to disclosing any personal information, he is required, if practicable, to notify the person to whom the information relates, and further, notify and consider any comments provided by the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

When will IIO release information on a particular incident?

The IIO is committed to ensuring fair, unbiased investigations and appropriate decision-making relating to each case falling within its jurisdiction.  As such, the IIO will not, during the course of an investigation, make any public statement about the investigation unless such statement is aimed at preserving the integrity of the investigation.  The IIO is committed to ensuring that at the completion of any investigation, the public has the information necessary to determine whether the IIO investigation was thorough and complete and the Chief Civilian Director’s decision relating to any case that is not forwarded to Crown Counsel for prosecution is reasonable.  As such, the IIO will issue public reports, at the earliest available opportunity upon the conclusion of an investigation, to ensure transparency in investigations.  Until an IIO investigation is complete, however, information specific to any case investigation will be limited in its production to the public or the media.

Under what circumstances will the IIO use police transportation?

The IIO is committed to a timely response to all incident scenes given the resources available to its investigators.  As such, the IIO, upon notification of an incident, will determine the means of transportation that will ensure the timeliest response possible.  If an incident takes place outside of the Lower Mainland, the IIO may use transportation available from the RCMP or another police agency, to include airplanes and boats that are readily available at no cost.

When will IIO use police facilities to during an IIO investigation?

Although the IIO recognizes the need to ensure the public is aware that it is independent from all other police services in the province, there are times in which IIO investigators will make use of police facilities in order to ensure a timely, competent investigation.  Specifically, the IIO may use a police facility to interview police witnesses when that facility is readily available and convenient for interview purposes.  The IIO will always seek to interview civilian witnesses at a neutral location, however, if there is no objection by a witness to an interview being conducted at a police facility and that facility is convenient, and readily available at no cost, such facility may be used to conduct the interview.  The IIO office, located in Surrey, is often not a convenient location for civilian witnesses.  Police facilities, which are located throughout the province, tend to be more readily available and convenient to conduct interviews in particular, those that take place outside of normal business hours.

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