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What is the Independent Civilian Review into Missing Persons Investigations?

The Independent Civilian Review into Missing Persons Investigations was established by the Toronto Police Services Board. The Review was prompted by the tragic deaths of members of our diverse community and more specifically, by deep concerns about how the Toronto Police Service conducted the investigations into their disappearances. Questions have been raised about whether the handling of missing persons investigations have been tainted by systemic bias or discrimination, and whether current policies and procedures adequately protect against such bias or discrimination against members of the LGTBQ2S+ community as well as marginalized or vulnerable communities more generally. The Review was also prompted by questions raised about how and when the Toronto Police Service advises or cautions the public and members of specific communities about safety concerns, and whether the current approach adequately protects the public.

Who will conduct the Review?

The Honourable Gloria J. Epstein has been appointed as the Independent Reviewer. Her duties commenced on September 1, 2018 upon her official retirement as a judge of the Court of Appeal for Ontario. She will be assisted by her lead counsel, Mark Sandler. See "The Review Team" for brief biographical information about each. See "Statement of Hon. Gloria Epstein" for a brief videotape outlining the Independent Reviewer’s vision for the Review.

They will be assisted through a broad consultative process. This will include opportunities for individuals and organizations to meet with the Independent Reviewer and her team either in a public forum or, at their request, confidentially. An Advisor and Advisor Group will be engaged to further ensure that diverse voices within the community are heard. Further information about the Advisor and Advisor Group will be posted on this website early in the Review’s mandate once they are appointed.

What is the timing for the Review?

The Review formally commenced on September 1, 2018. It is anticipated that the Independent Reviewer’s final report will be issued on or before April 2020.

How will the Review be conducted?

The nature and scope of the Review are guided by the Terms of Reference. These were designed by a diverse Working Group and its facilitator, Breese Davies, with feedback from the Independent Reviewer and her lead counsel.

The Review has already commenced the task of collecting and reviewing relevant documents which will assist in identifying issues to discuss with community and policing stakeholders. This website will also identify opportunities for individuals and organizations to submit written submissions, if so desired, to the Review.

More information about the Review will be posted on this website early in the Review’s mandate and on an ongoing basis.

What is the Purpose of the Review?

The Review will enable the Hon. Gloria Epstein to make recommendations pertaining to how missing persons investigations should be conducted in Toronto. They will be designed to promote efficient, effective bias-free policing in relation to missing persons investigations and more generally in relation to communities that feel marginalized and vulnerable.

Review Team

The Reviewer

Justice Gloria Epstein

The Hon. Gloria Epstein

After graduating from the Smith School of Business with a B.Comm., Justice Gloria Epstein ran a fishing camp on an island on Lake Temagami for two years before attending law school at the University of Toronto from which she graduated in 1977. Justice Epstein was appointed Queen’s Counsel in 1992. She was appointed to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in 1993 and has served as a judge of the Ontario Court of Appeal since 2007.

In her 25 years on the bench, Justice Epstein has presided over a wide range of trials and appeals, covering many areas of the law. Among her more noteworthy cases is the 1999 decision in M. v. H., in which she ruled at the trial level that the statutory exclusion of same-sex couples from the definition of common-law spouse violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. That decision was upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada. Also during her time as a trial judge, Justice Epstein was appointed to review the Ontario government’s involvement in the lives of the Dionne Quintuplets.

Throughout her career, Justice Epstein has been active in the broader community, including involvement as Director of Women’s College Hospital Foundation, Special Advisor to the Canadian Association for the Riding Disabled, member of the committee established to facilitate access to the courts for people with disabilities, Director of the Canadian Women’s Foundation, Director of the Starlight Foundation, Co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Justice Education Network, and Chair of the Alumnae Association of the University of Toronto Faculty of Law.

Justice Epstein currently serves on the National Board of Directors of Pathways to Education, a non-profit program that provides a comprehensive blend of academic, financial, social, and one-on-one support to marginalized youth living in low income communities to help them complete high school and realize their full potential. She also sits on the Smith School of Business Advisory Board, which offers advice to the Dean on Smith’s strategy and initiatives.

In 2007, Justice Epstein was awarded the University of Toronto Arbor Award for volunteerism and in 2013, was recognized as a YWCA Woman of Distinction.

Lead Counsel

Mark J. Sandler

Mark Sandler

Mark Sandler, Lead Counsel, has practised law for over 38 years. He has served as commission or review counsel to 14 public inquiries or systemic reviews, including a soon-to-be completed systemic review conducted by the Office of the Independent Police Review Director into the Thunder Bay Police Service and its relationship to the Indigenous community. He has served on a number of tribunals, including as a part-time member of the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, and as Chair of the Appeal Panel of the Law Society of Upper Canada. He also served as Senior Counsel and National Chair of the League for Human Rights of B’nai Brith Canada. He has provided human rights and anti-racism advice and training to multiple agencies, including various governments. He appeared as a witness before House of Commons and Senate Committees on legal remedies to combat hate, and the inclusion of sexual orientation and gender in criminal legislation to address hate propaganda and hate motivated crime.

email msandler@missingpersonsreview.ca

Information about additional members of the Review Team will be posted on this website when available.

Terms of Reference

The nature and scope of the Review are guided by the Terms of Reference. These were designed by a diverse Working Group and its facilitator, Breese Davies, with feedback from the Independent Reviewer and her lead counsel.

Terms of Reference [8 pages – 107kb]

Notices to the Public

To be updated.


Media Relations

Peter Rehak

email prehak@missingpersonsreview.ca

Media Release - Independent Civilian Review into Missing Persons Investigations has started its work [3 pages – 80kb]


Anyone wishing to contact the Review can do in the following ways:

Correspondence: Independent Review into Missing Persons Investigations
439 University Avenue
Suite 1900
Toronto, Ontario
M5G 1Y8
Attention: Mark Sandler

email info@missingpersonsreview.ca


email msandler@missingpersonsreview.ca

phone 416 585 9191

Fax: 416 408 2372