Canadian policing needs to change. It needs to become less violent and discriminatory, better governed, and more effective. All of this needs to be done for the sake of both the public and the police.
One of the reasons why police conduct does not change is that those who govern the police have too often been missing in action.
Canadians need to take democratic control of their public police and define what they want the police to do and what they do not want them to do. The police should be subject not only to civilian accountability and oversight but also to true civilian and democratic governance. In other words, we should expect more from the police than conduct that satisfies the minimal requirements of legality. Responsible and democratically accountable authorities need to send clearer signals about policing priorities and expectations.
On July 21, we will host a webinar session with author Kent Roach. In this session, Professor Roach will talk about how the police are under-governed and are too often left to govern themselves. Roach has proposed ways to ensure greater clarity and transparency in the critical relationship between the police and those that have democratic authority to govern them.
Join Kent Roach, author of "Canadian Policing: Why and How It Must Change". “Taking his cue from social movements and public debate calling for reform or abolition of policing as we currently know it, Kent Roach guides the reader through the history and structure of policing institutions, governance, and oversight, all the while inviting us to imagine different futures for policing in Canada.” - Benjamin L. Berger, Professor and York Research Chair in Pluralism and Public Law, Osgoode Hall Law School, York University
Kent Roach is Professor of Law at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto and of Yale, and a former law clerk to Justice Bertha Wilson of the Supreme Court of Canada. Professor Roach has been editor-in-chief of the Criminal Law Quarterly since 1998. In 2002, he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2013, he was one of four academics awarded a Trudeau Fellowship in recognition of his research and social contributions. In 2015, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada. In 2016, named (with Craig Forcese) one of the top 25 influential lawyers in Canada (change-maker category) by Canadian Lawyer. He was awarded the Molson Prize for the social sciences and humanities in 2017.
He is the author of 16 books including Constitutional Remedies in Canada (winner of the Owen best law book Prize); Due Process and Victims’ Rights (short listed for the Donner Prize for public policy), The Supreme Court on Trial (same); (with Robert J. Sharpe) Brian Dickson: A Judge’s Journey (winner of the Dafoe Prize) and The 9/11 Effect: Comparative Counter-Terrorism (winner of the Mundell Medal); (with Craig Forcese) False Security: The Radicalization of Canadian Anti-Terrorism (winner of the Canadian Law and Society Association best book prize) and Canadian Justice, Indigenous Injustice: The Gerald Stanley/Colten Boushie Case (short listed for the Shaughnessy Cohen prize for political writing.) He is the author of the Criminal Law and Charter volumes in Irwin Law’s essentials of Canadian law series. His 15th book Remedies for Violations of Human Rights: A Two-Track Approach to Supra-national and National Law was published by Cambridge University Press in 2021 and his 16th book Canadian Policing: Why and How it Must Change was published in 2022 and was short listed for the Balsillie Prize in Public Policy. His next book Un-True Crime: Guilty Pleas, Imagined Crimes and What Canada Must Do About Its Wrongful Convictions will be published by Simon and Schuster in 2023. He is the co-editor of 13 collections of essays and 3 casebooks including Comparative Counter-Terrorism published by Cambridge University Press in 2015. He has also written over 275 articles and chapters published in Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as in Canada.
Professor Roach has served as research director for the Goudge Inquiry into Pediatric Forensic Patholology, for the Commission of Inquiry into the Investigation of the Bombing of Air India Flight 182, for the Independent Civilian Review of Toronto Police Missing Persons Investigations and for the public consultations resulting in A Miscarriage of Justice Commission report. He served as volume lead for the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's Report on the Legacy of Residential Schools He was a member of research advisory committee for the inquiry into the rendition of Maher Arar and the Ipperwash Inquiry into the killing of Dudley George. . He has been a member of Canadian Council of Academies expert panels on policing and subsequently on Indigenous policing. He is also part of a group working on a Canadian Registry of Wrongful Convictions.
Professor Roach has won awards for his pro bono work and contributions to civil liberties. He has represented Aboriginal and civil liberties groups in many interventions before the courts, including Gladue, Wells, Ipeelee and Anderson on sentencing Indigenous offenders, Latimer on mandatory minimum sentences, Stillman, Dunedin Construction, Ward, Conseil Francophone and G v. Ontario on Charter remedies, Golden on strip searches, Khawaja on the definition of terrorism, Chouhan on peremptory challenges and Corbiere and Sauve on voting rights.