Ontario Civilian Police Commission Investigating Thunder Bay Police Service

THUNDER BAY – NEWS – The Ontario Civilian Police Commission (CPOC) is concerned about the Thunder Bay Police Department (TBPS) the management of discipline within the police service, the conduct of criminal investigations by its officers and the ability of senior management to administer the day-to-day operations of the police service in good faith and in accordance with Police Services Act (Message of public interest).

The CCOP’s concerns are based on the results of a preliminary review conducted in TBPS at the request of Solicitor General Sylvia Jones and the Thunder Bay Police Services Board.

Effective February 10, 2022, in order to ensure continued public confidence in the delivery of policing services in Thunder Bay, the COPC, relying on the powers granted by s. 25 of Message of public interestwill open an investigation.

In a statement, Kristen Oliver, Chair of the Thunder Bay Police Services Board, said, “The Thunder Bay Police Services Board welcomes today’s announcement by the Ontario Civilian Commission on Police (CCOP), that it will initiate an investigation of the Thunder Bay Police Department, as requested by the Commission on April 29, 2021. We will await the outcome of the investigation and the Commission will act accordingly based on the findings of the the OCPC. As the investigation is ongoing, it would be inappropriate to comment further.”

MANDATE: Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) Investigation


  1. On April 29, 2021, the Thunder Bay Police Services Board (TBPSB or Commission) has requested an investigation into the Thunder Bay Police Department (TBPS or department) Chief Sylvie Hauth, Deputy Chief Ryan Hughes and Legal Counsel Holly Walbourne, pursuant to the authority granted to the Commission by s. 25 of Police Services Act (Message of public interest).
  2. On January 22, 2022, the Solicitor General, Ms. Sylvia Jones, requested an s. 25 survey of senior officials of the TBPS with respect to the investigation of Council Member Georjann Morriseau, the management of discipline with the TBPS and its administration.
  3. On January 28, 2022, the TBPSB notified the Commission of the suspension of TBPS Deputy Chief Ryan Hughes and asked the Commission to assign the chief of police from another police department to conduct an investigation.
  4. In response to these requests for Commission intervention, the Commission conducted a preliminary review. Based on this review, I am satisfied that the circumstances warrant a thorough investigation.
  5. On February 9, 2022, the Commission, on its own initiative, decided to conduct an investigation under ss. 25(1)(a) and (b) of the Message of public interest in:
    1. Allegations that TBPS Deputy Chief Ryan Hughes:
      • opened a criminal investigation into Commissioner Morriseau for alleged breach of trust by a public official, without sufficient cause and without the knowledge of the chief, despite an apparent conflict of interest in the investigation of a member of the jury;
      • ordered a subordinate to obtain a production order under the Criminal Code to obtain information from Commissioner Morriseau’s cell phone on misleading grounds, which was obtained without the knowledge of the chief;
    2. Allegations that TBPS Chef Sylvie Hauth:
      • failed to take appropriate action to respond to the aforementioned actions of Deputy Chief Hughes;
      • provided false information to the Thunder Bay Police Services Board regarding the above investigation;
      • failed to take appropriate action to respond to allegations of misconduct involving certain members of the Thunder Bay Police Department; and
    3. Allegations that Chief Hauth, Deputy Chief Hughes and Ms. Walbourne colluded in their responses to recent inquiries from the Ontario Civilian Police Commission regarding the Commission’s request for an investigation under s. 25 (1) of the Message of public interest.
  6. The above allegations, if proven, may constitute gross misconduct under the Code of Conduct provisions of Ontario Regulation 268/10 at Message of public interestand, in the case of the leader, may constitute a failure to perform the duties set out in subsection 41(1) of the Message of public interest. They raise serious concerns about the management of discipline within the police service, the conduct of criminal investigations by its officers, and the ability of senior management to administer the day-to-day operations of the police service in good faith and in accordance with Message of public interest.
  7. In addition, the investigation will focus on the administration of the TBPS in light of the conduct and performance of the duties of the Chief and Deputy Chief, described above, and their relationship to the Council.
  8. The Commission may also add and/or modify matters to be investigated or named parties to the terms of reference at any time during the investigation as new information arises.

Sean Weier
Executive Chairman, Courts Ontario
Ontario Civilian Commission on Police


The CCOP is an independent quasi-judicial body. The COPC hears appeals, adjudicates applications, conducts investigations and resolves disputes regarding the oversight and delivery of police services. The powers and duties of the COPC derive from the Police Services Act, RSO 1990, c. P.15. and in particular Articles 22 & 25 of the Message of public interest.

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