The Toronto Police Service has implemented one of the key recommendations from Judge Epstein’s Report by launching its Missing and Missed Implementation Team. Seven Community Representatives were selected from over 148 applicants bringing forward expertise, lived experiences and years of community advocacy. They are joined by four volunteers, all members of Judge Epstein’s Community Advisory Group, who will continue to provide the same advice and support as they did for the initial Review.

Since Judge Epstein delivered her report in April 2021, the Service has created a dedicated team of 16 TPS members who work full time on the implementation of all 151 recommendations. To ensure TPS efforts honour the intent of the Judge’s review and reflect the best interests of the communities most impacted by the review, the Community Representatives will advise the Service throughout the process.

“We cannot do this work alone and we recognize that how we implement these recommendations will affect how successful we are at earning the community’s trust,” said Chief of Police James Ramer. “The recommendations also seek to build public confidence in the Toronto Police Service, and to continue to build bridges with members of all the communities we serve. We are lucky to have a group of dedicated Community Representatives who have come forward to help us.”

The Implementation Team is a joint effort of community and TPS members who meet regularly and publicly report on their efforts to the Toronto Police Services Board. The group also includes police representatives from Peel Regional Police Service and the Ontario Provincial Police. It will be co-chaired by a Community Representative and Staff Superintendent Pauline Gray, who has been appointed by Chief Ramer to lead the Service’s implementation.

“The Board views Judge Epstein’s Report as establishing a renewed approach to working with communities, and acknowledging and working to address systemic discrimination in its many manifestations,” said Chair of the Toronto Police Services Board Jim Hart. “To be effective and successful in our efforts in this critical area, we must see the public as a valued partner, with information, perspectives, knowledge and insight that the police may not always have, combining this with our professional expertise so that we can do our best to serve and protect every single member of the public.”

Chair Hart continues, “We are incredibly grateful for the ongoing work of the Missing and Missed Implementation Team, and, in particular, the dedication and commitment of the Community Representatives who are lending their invaluable voices to this endeavour.”

The first substantial deliverable of the Implementation Team will be a comprehensive plan outlining the road map and associated milestones of each of the 151 recommendations. Since coming together in September, the Team determined more time was needed in order to fully understand and prepare this critical next step. As a result, at the request of the Team, the TPS sought, and was granted, approval by Judge Epstein to extend the reporting deadline of October 30, 2021 to December 31, 2021. The Implementation Plan will be posted on the website at that time.

The next update to the Toronto Police Services Board is scheduled for December 13, 2021.

Community Representatives on the Implementation Team include:

Praney Anand, a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) and the current Executive Director at the Alliance for South Asian AIDS Prevention with more than a decade of experience working with gender and sexual minority communities in research, counselling, and education.

Monica Forrester, 2Spirit Transwoman of colour, Founder of Trans Pride Toronto and Transitioning Together 2004, currently working with Maggie’s Toronto as the Program and Outreach Manager, Monica was a member of Judge Epstein’s Community Advisory Group.

Ashley Hiscox has over a decade of experience working as a trauma-informed victim support and response specialist, supporting people impacted by crime and sudden tragedy, and their direct involvement with police in relation to these. She has worked closely with and advocated for members of vulnerable and marginalized communities, including those affected by missing persons.

Justin Khan, the Director of Public Interest and Legal Initiatives at The 519 and a vocal advocate for 2SLGBTQ+ communities navigating the justice system.

Michele Lent, previously a 26-year member of the New York Police Department, a member of the Gay Officers Action League and a member of Judge Epstein’s Community Advisory Group.

Maureen Parkinson has worked with the provincial government managing various teams in investigating at risk persons facing financial/physical abuse, homelessness and a lack of financial resources. These people often cannot speak for themselves and advocating on their behalf called for liaisons with multiple local, provincial and federal agencies all while being cognizant of the individual’s prior capable wishes and personal background.

Ron Rosenes, a life-long advocate and community leader, awarded the Order of Canada in 2015 for his work on behalf of HIV communities, and a member of Judge Epstein’s Community Advisory Group.

Desmond Ryan, with lived experience as a police officer spent decades working with people experiencing homelessness and addiction as well as those in the street-level sex trade, including Trans and marginalized sex trade workers.

Natalie Sitt, a Parole Supervisor with the Correctional Service of Canada brings experience working closely with Elders, Indigenous Liaison Officers and first-hand knowledge of how the justice system has impacted many Indigenous people.

Haran Vijayanathan, the Director of Equity and Strategic Initiatives at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, a Casey Award winner for work with HIV/AIDS and 2SLGBTQ+ communities, and a member of Judge Epstein’s Community Advisory Group.

Flora Vineberg, an Associate at Spring Law with a Masters in International Law and Human Rights, frequently represents sexual assault survivors, and a current member of the Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Committee.

Media inquiries can be directed to Meaghan Gray, Corporate Communications, at meaghan.gray@torontopolice.on.ca.

For more news, visit TPSnews.ca.