About the Review
The Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations (the “Review”) was prompted, in large part, by the tragic deaths of members of Toronto’s LGBTQ2S+ communities and by deep concerns about how the Toronto Police Service (the “TPS”) conducted the investigations into their disappearances. The Review is designed to evaluate how the TPS has conducted and is conducting missing person investigations, particularly in relation to LGBTQ2S+ and vulnerable or marginalized communities, make recommendations to promote efficient, effective and bias-free investigations and better police relations with affected communities.
Questions have been raised about whether missing person investigations were tainted by systemic bias
or discrimination against members of the LGBTQ2S+ communities as well as marginalized or vulnerable communities generally. There are also concerns about whether current TPS policies and procedures adequately protect against such bias or discrimination and whether the police adequately inform or warn about safety concerns.
The Honourable Gloria J. Epstein, a recently retired Judge, is leading the Review. She will be assisted
by Lead Counsel, Mark Sandler. A diverse group of community advisors (the Community Advisory Group) is working to ensure that the Review’s public outreach and engagement is robust, and that diverse voices within the community have the opportunity to be heard. The Review is also supported by a multi-disciplinary team.
The Review began in September 2018 and is expected to be completed on or before January 31, 2021.
The Review’s outreach and engagement with the public will take place across Toronto. Meetings with groups, individuals and the public at large will be held in fully accessible locations close to public transit.
A schedule of events open to the public will be posted on the project website.
The Review’s public outreach and engagement plan offers several ways for people to participate:
all members of the public or groups can make written submissions to the Review;
all are welcome to submit anonymous electronic comments through a portal on the Review’s website;
all are welcome to attend a forum or town hall meeting and share perspectives, experiences and suggestions in a public setting;
all are welcome to attend roundtable sessions by experts discussing the policy issues arising from the Review’s work;
a broad range of community groups and service providers will be invited to offer insights and expertise at stakeholder’s meetings with Judge Epstein and members of her team; and
individuals can request a confidential interview to share relevant personal experiences in a safe and supportive environment.
about 1,000 community members participated in an electronic survey available from November 2019 to the end of April 2020. It is now closed. The Review is currently analyzing the data obtained. The data will be summarized in Judge Epstein’s Report.
Email: or phone: 416 585 1706
You may also write to or fax the Review at:
Independent Civilian Review into Missing Person Investigations
439 University Avenue, Suite 1900 Toronto, Ontario
Fax: 416 408 2372
Here is an overview of the activities that the Review is currently involved in. This overview will be updated on an ongoing basis.
Community Advisory Group (the “CAG”) – The CAG is a group of community advisors that is working to ensure that diverse voices within the community are heard. The CAG includes a Community Advisor, Ron Rosenes, and a Coordinator, Haran Vijayanathan who further facilitate the group’s activities. The CAG is meeting on a regular basis, and is directly involved in the design and implementation of the Review’s public outreach and engagement plan.
The Public Outreach and Engagement Plan – On April 29, 2019, the Review announced its robust public outreach and engagement plan. It provides all members of the public, groups and organizations with a number of ways to contribute to the Review’s work.
In mid-May, 2019, Judge Epstein and her team began to meet with stakeholder’s groups to share their perspectives, experiences and recommendations.
Public Survey – About 1,000 community members participated in an electronic survey available from November 2019 to the end of April 2020. It is now closed. The Review is currently analyzing the data obtained. The data will be summarized in Judge Epstein’s Report.
Document Review – The Review’s legal team is examining more than 60,000 pages of documents obtained from the Toronto Police Services Board and the Toronto Police Service. The Review has also obtained documents from a variety of other sources. These documents include publicly accessible reports, and electronic and print media stories.
Police Interviews – The Review has identified many officers who will be interviewed as part of its mandate. These interviews are currently underway.
Research Program – The Review has hired Professor Kent Roach as its Research Director. Under Professor Roach’s leadership, the Review will commission papers from leading academics and other experts on issues relevant to its mandate. Some of these experts will participate in policy roundtables open to the public. These roundtables will take place in 2020. The Review is also examining best practices around the world.
September 1, 2018 -- The Review’s work commenced.
January 29, 2019 -- Bruce McArthur entered pleas of guilty to eight counts of murder. A week later, McArthur was sentenced to life imprisonment with no parole eligibility for 25 years.
March 26, 2019 -- The Review’s Terms of Reference were expanded to permit the Review to fully examine the missing person investigations relating to Bruce McArthur.
April 23, 2019 -- The Review announced its public outreach and engagement plan. Commencing April 23, 2019, any member of the public, group or organization was invited to provide written submissions to the Review. These submissions must be submitted on or before June 30, 2020.
Mid-May, 2019 -- Stakeholder’s meetings commenced.
November 12, 2019 -- The Review launched an online survey to gather public input and perspectives available until the end of April 2020. It is now closed. About 1,000 community members participated in the survey. The Review is currently analyzing the data obtained. The data will be summarized in Judge Epstein’s Report.
August 2020 -- The Review would like to hold a town hall in August 2020, if feasible. All members of the public will be welcome to attend.
January 31, 2021 -- Judge Epstein’s Report will be completed on or before this date.