Our Work

An Act to Amend the Police Act
Official Opposition
April 26, 2021

Trish Altass, MLA Tyne Valley-Sherbrooke
Official Opposition Critic Fisheries and Communities

It is important that PEI has a complaints process that makes it easier—not harder—for Islanders to submit complaints concerning police misconduct. Having appropriate, efficient, and transparent complaints processes are an important tool to ensure police services remain accountable to the communities they serve, and to preserve public confidence in police services.

With the exception of RCMP complaints (which are regulated federally), municipal police complaints in PEI are governed by the Police Act. Under the Act, complainants have 6 months to lodge a complaint. There is no discretionary ability for the person investigating or reviewing a complaint to consider a complaint made outside of that time window. The current process leaves Islanders with one of the most restrictive complaints processes in the country.

Table 1: Time limits on complaints, by Province
Time Limit

6-month time limit
(no exceptions)

6-month time limit
(with exceptions)

12-month time limit
(no exceptions)

12-month time limit
(with exceptions)

Provinces PE ON, NL AB, QC BC, NB, NS, SK

 

The 2017 PEI Police Review identified the restrictive complaints process as an issue. Other provinces that have recently conducted reviews of policing have similarly identified issues with restrictive complaints processes and have recommended making those processes more accessible. For example, the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission’s 2019 Halifax, Nova Scotia: Street Checks Report investigated the relationship between race and police checks and, through community consultations, identified issues with the six-month period to file a police complaint. The time period was increased to 12 months in January 2021.

The Official Opposition’s proposed Act to Amend the Police Act would increase the time available to file a police complaint from 6 months to 12 months, consistent with common practice in Canada, and would also allow the party responsible for investigating a complaint to hear complaints outside of the the 12-month period if there are good reasons to do so and it was not contrary to the public interest.

We want to hear from you

Download a copy of the proposed legislation here: An Act to Amend the Police Act – Consultation Draft (v01) – April 2021

As part of our consultation on this legislation, we are inviting Islanders to send their thoughts, comments, and questions to the Official Opposition by emailing officialopposition@assembly.pe.ca or by calling the office at (902) 620-3977.

You can also submit your feedback online by completing a survey here: https://forms.gle/sdnehzkQd47ENCZg6

Please be sure to submit comments no later than Sunday May 2, 2021.

The Official Opposition of Prince Edward Island provides a crucial role in the governing of our province. The caucus is made up of Green Party MLAs elected by Islanders.

We strive to offer informed and intelligent debate and proposals that are evidence-based and data-informed. Through respect and integrity, we seek to improve the work and efforts of government on behalf of all Islanders.

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Office of the Official Opposition
2nd Floor, Coles Building
175 Richmond Street, Charlottetown
Prince Edward Island, Canada