The Edmonton Police Commission (Commission), in its capacity as a statutory decision-maker, believes that one of the aspects of procedural fairness is that any party affected by a decision of the Commission has the right to a panel of unbiased and impartial decision makers.
The process outlined in this policy is informed by common law considerations including fairness and natural justice principles.
NOTE: This policy and process applies only to statutory decision-making responsibilities as set out for the Commission in the Police Act.
Bias: is a leaning, inclination, or predisposition in favour or against a person or group or a particular result.
Reasonable apprehension of bias: happens when an informed person, viewing the circumstances realistically and practically, concludes that it is more likely than not that a decision-maker may not decide impartially or fairly.
- The Commission expects that all Commissioners will guard themselves against bias and will consult with the Commission’s internal legal counsel in any situation that might suggest a reasonable apprehension of bias.
- The Commission’s internal legal counsel, or other external counsel retained for this purpose, may provide advise and/or independent analysis to the Commission or individual Commissioner at any point before making their decision on reasonable apprehension of bias.
- Commissioners must disclose all matters which could create a reasonable apprehension of bias, including any real or perceived conflicts of interest as set out in Commission policy 4.2.2. – Conflict of Intertest.
- The Commission will use the following protocol when determining if a reasonable apprehension of bias exists may exist:
i. The Commissioner(s) has an apparent interest in the outcome of the decision, including, but not limited to, financial interest, personal interest, previous or current litigation with the complainant;
ii. The Commissioner(s) previous and/or current conduct may be perceived as favourable or unfavourable to one of the parties as it relates to the specifics of the matter before the Commission;
iii. The Commissioner(s) has demonstrated actual or reasonable appearance of a predetermination or prejudgment as it relates to the specifics of the matter before the Commission.
- Individual(s) raising the reasonable apprehension of bias must provide notice of intent to the Commission as part of their submissions on the merits, or earlier if they wish.
- Individual(s) raising the bias issue must also provide any evidence they wish to rely on to establish bias with their submissions on the merits. All other parties will then be given an opportunity to respond.
- The Commissioner(s) in question will be allowed to be present and participate in the proceedings and will have an opportunity to provide their position, either verbally or through written submission, on the bias issue..
- Other Commission members present may also provide their views, however no new evidence may be submitted that has not already been submitted by the parties.
- Only the Commissioner(s) in question will decide if there is a reasonable apprehension of bias and will make the decision whether to recuse themselves.
- A Commissioner in question may also recuse themselves if they are of the opinion that there is only a perceived appearance of bias even though they may be confident that they are not actually biased and can act impartially.
- The Commission’s written decision on a particular matter will include the Commissioner(s) in question’s reasons on the bias issue, if one is raised, along with the
Commission’s reasons for the decision on the merits. The raising of a bias issue will also be captured in the official minutes of the meeting.
- The decision on the bias issue forms part of the decision on the merits. Any appeal or review lies pursuant to the process to appeal or review the decision on the merits.
- Police Act, RSA 2000, cP – 17
- EPC Policy #4.2.2 – Conflict of Interest