The OIPRD’s Broken Trust Report in December 2018 made the following recommendations regarding sudden death investigations by the Thunder Bay Police Service:

  1. Nine of the TBPS sudden death investigations that the OIPRD reviewed are so problematic I recommend these cases be reinvestigated.
  2. A multi-discipline investigation team should be established to undertake, at a minimum, the reinvestigation of the deaths of the nine Indigenous people identified.
  3. The multi-discipline investigative team should establish a protocol for determining whether other TBPS sudden death investigations should be reinvestigated.
  4. The multi-discipline investigation team should also assess whether the death of Stacy DeBungee should be reinvestigated, based on our Investigative Report and the Ontario Provincial Police review of the TBPS investigation. The team should also assess when and how the investigations should take place, without prejudicing ongoing Police Services Act proceedings.

In response, the Thunder Bay Police Service, the Office of the Chief Coroner and the Ontario Forensic Pathology Service prepared an independent, multi-disciplinary and multi-agency team approach that would use basic principles to reinvestigate these cases.

The goals of these enhanced investigations include:

  • Truth-seeking and transparency
  • Supporting the administration of justice
  • Development of the Thunder Bay Police Service investigation team through application of best practices
  • Enhancing professional collaboration among the partner agencies
  • Community confidence in outcome/results of reinvestigations
  • Restoring the confidence of the public and the affected communities and families

A three-tiered oversight framework was created to manage and conduct the reinvestigations:

Executive Governance Committee:

  • Nishnawbe Aski Nation (NAN) Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler *replaced by NAN Legal Services Director Irene Linklater
  • Honourable Justice Stephen T. Goudge
  • Dr. Dirk Huyer, Chief Coroner for Ontario
  • Dr. Michael Pollanen, Chief Forensic Pathologist for Ontario
  • Chief Sylvie Hauth, Chief of Thunder Bay Police Service
  • Ms. Helen Cromarty, First Nation Elder

Investigative Resource Committee:

  • Dr. Kona Williams, Forensic Pathologist
  • Dr. Linda Kocovski, Forensic Pathologist
  • Dr. Annelind Wakegijig, Coroner
  • Dr. Barry McLellan, Investigating Coroner
  • Kimberly Murray, Assistant Deputy Attorney General, Indigenous Justice Division, Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Susan Orlando, Crown Attorney, Ministry of the Attorney General
  • Other expertise as required such as toxicologist, forensic identification officer, representatives to support families, etc.

Blended Investigative Team:

  • Detective Superintendent Ken Leppert (retired OPP) - LEAD
  • Nishnawbe Aski Police Service (NAPS) Detective Constable
  • Thunder Bay Police Service (TBPS) Detective Constables (5)