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Statement on Chief Mark Saunders: Real Leadership

Ontario’s police leaders know that policing is always changing and evolving in order to meet the community safety and well-being needs of Ontarians. Change always brings with it questions both from the members who serve with police services, as well as, from community groups and governments with whom we partner to keep Ontarians safe.  Change is not always easy, but it is needed if we are to meet the very high expectations of the people of this Province.

Since his appointment as the Chief of Police of Canada’s largest municipal police service, Chief Saunders has been a highly respected member of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police’s (OACP) Board of Directors. He has shared his expertise, his ideas, and his passion for policing with his colleagues.  Chief Saunders has always put the needs of the people of Toronto and Ontario first.  Along with the desire to serve his community, Chief Saunders has always stressed that a priority for us as police leaders is to meet the safety and well-being needs of our police personnel.  From engaging our people in changes to our organizations to addressing their professional and personal well-being needs, Chief Saunders has been a leader.

As part of the overall modernization and reform of policing in Ontario, Chief Saunders has led the development of a modernization strategy for the Toronto Police Service (TPS) entitled The Way Forward.  This Strategy was developed in partnership and consultation with communities across the City of Toronto. It has engaged all members of the Toronto Police Service, individually as well as through representative groups, to ensure their voices were heard.

As a member of our Board of Directors, Chief Saunders has shared the TPS modernization strategy with other police services.  This sharing of best practices and ideas assists all police leaders as they engage within their own communities, on the needed changes that are helping police personnel meet their respective communities’ needs.  We also know that Chief Saunders has been influenced by his conversations with his OACP colleagues.  At the end of the day, every Chief of Police in Ontario has certain legislated obligations and duties as the leader of their police service.  Every Chief understands and accepts that fact.

The OACP is aware of the recent campaign launched by the Toronto Police Association (TPA) over the modernization efforts being undertaken by the Toronto Police Service.  While we appreciate that some people find change difficult, Ontario’s police leaders want to state clearly that we support the efforts of Chief Mark Saunders in leading his service forward and positioning it to meet the evolving community safety and well-being needs of his community.

Chief Saunders and his command team are leading needed change; change that is happening across Ontario as we seek to meet today’s needs in a manner that is effective and respects the views of all stakeholders.


Issued by the Ontario Association of Chief of Police: February 23, 2018


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