Police Personnel File Not Subject to Production

Andrushko v. Ontario, [2011] O.J. No. 3693 (Div. Ct.)

This decision will be of interest to those defending claims against police officers.

The plaintiff was suing for wrongful arrest and assault. He sought production of the officer’s personnel file on the basis that it might reveal a pattern of using unnecessary and excessive force. The Crown resisted on the basis that Part V of the Police Services Act contains a statutory prohibition against production. The motions court judge ordered production.

Part V of the Police Services Act contains the following provisions:

69.(8) No person shall be required to testify in a civil proceeding with regard to information obtained in the course of his or her duties, except at a hearing held under this Part. 1997, c. 8, s. 35.

(9) No document prepared as the result of a complaint is admissible in a civil pro-ceeding, except at a hearing held under this Part. 1997, c. 8, s. 35.
(10) No statement made during an attempt at informal resolution of a complaint is admissible in a civil proceeding, including a proceeding under subsection 64(15) or 65(17) or a hearing held under this Part, except with the consent of the person who made the statement.

...
1. Every person engaged in the administration of this Part shall preserve secrecy with respect to all information obtained in the course of his or her duties under this Part and shall not communicate such information to any other person except,

(a) as may be required in connection with the administration of this Act and the regulations;
(b) to his or her counsel;
(c) as may be required for law enforcement purposes; or
(d) with the consent of the person, if any, to whom the information re-lates.


The Divisional Court overturned the lower court decision. It held that any documents prepared as a result of a Part V complaint are not subject to production or admissible in a civil proceeding. If any documents in the personnel file were not prepared directly as a result of a Part V complaint, they would not be protected by its confidentiality provisions.

- Tara Pollitt

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