Conducted Energy Weapons (TASERs)
Summary of the expansion of Conducted Energy Weapon authorization in Ontario
Conducted Energy Weapons (CEWs) have been in use by police in Ontario since 2002. Until now, only frontline supervisors and officers who are members of tactical units, hostage rescue teams and containment teams have been permitted to carry CEWs.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services initiated a review to explore the advisability of expanding deployment of CEWs. The review included an examination of current medical literature, a jurisdictional scan and consultation with stakeholders, including police and civil liberties advocates.
Following the conclusion of this review, the minister has decided to lift the existing restriction and to allow police services to determine which officers should be permitted to carry CEWs, based on their local needs and circumstances.
The government is committed to openness and accountability in policing. After consulting with policing and community groups, the government is introducing changes that:
- Provide direction and guidance as to when a CEW would be deemed to be appropriate;
- Increase reporting provisions (i.e., CEW use will be reported in an open and transparent manner, including when a CEW is displayed with the intention to achieve behaviour compliance);
- Enhance training, including scenario-based training and training for interactions with people with mental health issues, to assist in ensuring the safe, appropriate and effective use of CEWs; and
- Expect that police services should engage local communities prior to deciding to expand CEW deployment in their jurisdiction.
The Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services will continue to monitor and review the use of CEWs and will assess the impact of expanded use going forward. In addition, the ministry will continue working with our community partners to review de-escalation and review use-of-force training, including best practices for police officers interacting with people in crisis.
Copies of the Use of Force Guidelines are available on request.