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GTA police service loses bid to keep workplace investigation reports redacted

A Durham Regional Police station is seen in this undated photo. A Durham Regional Police station is seen in this undated photo.

A Toronto-area police service's attempt to shield information outlined in two workplace investigations has been dismissed by the courts.

In Ontario Superior Court of Justice documents released last week, the Durham Regional Police Service (DRPS) sought to hide the full unredacted reports from being disclosed, arguing they were privileged and confidential.

The application was bourne out of an investigation into the service launched in 2019 by the Ontario Civilian Police Commission into allegations of misconduct within the workplace.

As part of the 2019 workplace investigation, the commission requested to receive two reports authored by an outside lawyer.

It is these reports that Durham police first opposed handing over, according to the document. However, at an October hearing, lawyers for DRPS agreed to provide the reports to the commission "on the condition that [they] are not further disclosed, disseminated, or made publicly available due to confidentiality concerns." They argued that the redactions were done to "protect the personal health information of our members," the decision reads.

Lawyers for the commission rejected that submission and argued that transparency was important to protect employees from "harassment and a poisoned work environment," the filing states.

After hearing the parties' submissions the presiding judge, Justice Julia Shin Doi, ruled in favour of the commission, ordering Durham police to hand over the reports without restriction.

“There should be no restrictions attached to the production of either [report],” Shin Doi wrote in her decision, stating she had no concerns over a possible breach of confidentiality.

“There is also a greater public interest and benefit in disclosure without restriction to protect the employees from harassment and a toxic workplace, as advocated by the Association,” the judge continued

When reached for comment, a spokesperson for DRPS described the motion as “one aspect related to the overall OCPC investigation that has been ongoing for many years.”

Once the matter has concluded, the service said it will provide comment.

The investigation in which the workplace reports were ordered also saw Deputy Chief Dean Bertrim charged with deceit under the Police Services Act (PSA) by the OCPC in 2023.

On Wednesday, Durham police confirmed to CTV News Toronto that the reports do not concern Bertrim. The allegation of deceit faced by Bertrim under the PSA has yet to be tested under separate disciplinary tribunal proceedings.

In a Notice of Particulars, the commission alleged Bertrim provided false testimony as part of a motion to dismiss professional disciplinary charges against two officers in 2018. A year earlier, Bertrim had asked a professional standards investigator to conduct a review of the two officers’ conduct and produce documentation prior to serving them with notice of a hearing, according to OCPC. It is alleged, however, that the investigator never provided Bertrim with the report – because Bertrim never requested it. While testifying to the matter in 2018, Bertrim swore the report had been reviewed by now-retired chief Paul Martin during an August meeting, as is required under the police disciplinary process.

The disciplinary process against the two officers was stayed in June 2018 on the basis that Martin had not been provided with a written report, according to the notice.


CORRECTION: A prior version of this article stated that the two reports were requested as part of the ongoing disciplinary proceedings against Deputy Chief Dean Bertrim, when they were in fact requested as part of the OCPC investigation launched in 2019. CTV News has amended the error. Durham police have since confirmed that the reports in the April decision do not concern the proceedings against Deputy Chief Dean Bertrim, which have yet to be tested in a separate disciplinary tribunal matter. Top Stories

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