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Human rights and policing: creating and sustaining organizational change is the first guide of its kind in Ontario. It aims to encourage and support police services across the province to better fill their critical role in preserving safety in our communities.

As Ontario becomes more diverse, all parts of society – including police services – must respond to meet the changing needs of a changing population. Applying an inclusive human rights lens is key to successfully preventing and resolving future conflicts.

Our job at the Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) is to build a climate of understanding and mutual respect so that even the most vulnerable people in our society feel a part of the community. Human rights principles help us move away from an “us versus them” approach – it is about working together to build strong, healthy communities.

Over the past three years, the OHRC worked with the Toronto Police Service and the Toronto Police Services Board on a human rights organizational change partnership. The project has provided all of us with insight and lessons on how police services across Ontario can effectively apply human rights principles at all levels of their organizations.

This guide is the culmination of that learning. It offers a broad framework with key principles and concrete examples of good practices to guide organizational change in police services. It includes best practices – and things to avoid – and offers many case study examples.

Organizational change ultimately depends on local leadership and decisions based on local needs and organizational cultures. We have developed this guide so that the people responsible for implementing change processes have the tools to get started.

This has been a ground-breaking project for the OHRC. We learned so much. Now we look forward to sharing what we learned and supporting police services across our province and country as they take a progressive approach and embed human rights in their own unique organizations.

We continue to build relationships with police services across Ontario, and to support individual police services as they work to provide the best possible service to every member of their community.

Barbara Hall, B.A, LL.B, Ph.D (hon.)
Chief Commissioner
Ontario Human Rights Commission

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