Review of Police Interaction with Persons with a Mental Illness (Details)

Name of province/ territory:


City/ Region:


Description of Initiative:

  • In May 2012, Minister Madeleine Meilleur announced that the Ontario Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services would undertake a review of police interactions with persons with a mental illness.
  • The Ministry has gathered information about current practices within police services across Ontario as well as police services in other jurisdictions. The Ministry has also completed a comprehensive academic literature review related to police officer interaction with persons with a mental illness. This work has identified a number of potentially adoptable practices that are in use across Canada and in other leading jurisdictions such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and European countries.
  • As part of the Ministry’s Future of Policing project, policing stakeholders on the Future of Policing Advisory Committee (FPAC), and in its working groups, have also been discussing police service delivery to persons with mental health issues.
  • The Ministry will take themes identified through the review and through FPAC discussions to other ministries, appropriate social services agencies and health care providers in order to conduct a broader consultation. That consultation will occur in 2014 and will inform further action and next steps.

Initiative Key Objectives:

This review had several objectives:

  • gain a better understanding of the current practices and ministry requirements related to police interaction with persons with a mental illness;
  • establish a baseline of current policies, practices and training in Ontario related to police interaction with persons with a mental illness;
  • develop a list of best practices related to police interaction with persons with a mental illness; and
  • make recommendations.

Section Responsible for Implementation:

Cross-cutting (Policy and Strategic Planning Division; Public Safety Division; Office of the Commissioner of Community Safety (OCCS)). OCCS is the lead.

Key Contact:

Vanessa Ciolfitto

Groups/ Agencies/ Key Partners Involved:

  • community groups
  • other police services
  • civilian governing authorities
  • other government departments/agencies
  • academic institutes (research and evaluation)

Level of Involvement (consultative - information sharing) and/or cooperative - direct involvement):

Involvement will be for information sharing.

Amount of Time Initiative has been in Place:

Since June 2012.

Reason for Undertaking the Initiative:

Minister commitment to undertake a review to improve public safety (e.g., not linked to economic/fiscal concerns).

Resources Required to Implement this Initiative:

None identified for phase one.

Method of Implementation:

Phased (ongoing).

Key Outcomes of the Initiative:

Currently underway.

Availability of a Communication Strategy:


Key Messages used to Publicize the Initiative:


Forms of Evaluation by which the Initiative will be Assessed:

  • internal
  • quantitative
  • qualitative

Evaluation Completed or Community Feedback Received:


Summary of the Outcomes:

Potential for using external consultant but these decisions have not yet been made.

Summary of the Performance Measure Data Collected:


Economics of Policing Pillars:

Further Details:

Exploring various models of policing employed to support police interaction with persons with a mental illness (e.g., Crisis Outreach and Support Team or COAST).

Additional Comments or Suggestions:


Record Entry Date:


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