The Toronto Police Services Board has approved a request to increase the budget for a review looking into the police service’s handling of missing persons cases in the city.
The request was considered by the board at a meeting on Wednesday and was made in light of an expansion of the review’s scope to include facts relating to the Bruce McArthur case.
When the review was first ordered, retired Justice Gloria Epstein was asked to conduct an investigation into the police service’s handling of missing persons cases in the Church-Wellesley Village. Cases involving the victims of Bruce McArthur were initially excluded from the review.
When McArthur pleaded guilty to the murders of eight men last January, the review’s terms of reference were expanded to include the police service’s investigation into the serial killer.
As a result of the expansion, the deadline for the completed report was extended from April 2020 to January 2021 and on Wednesday, an additional $1 million in funding was requested.
“The nine months additional work that is required and the scope of additional work required as a result of looking into all of the issues pertaining to the McArthur investigations is such that an additional budget request is being made,” Mark Sandler, a lawyer who is member of the missing persons review team, said at Wednesday’s meeting.
Members of the Toronto Police Services board agreed to bump the review’s budget from the previously approved $3 million to $4 million to account for the additional work. The item, however will need to be referred to the city’s budget committee for consideration during the 2020 budget process.
Sandler noted that there will be no additional requests for cash moving forward.
“We’re confident that we have correctly assessed our needs,” he said Wednesday.
He went on to note that the review will be completed on schedule.
“The review has been going very, very well from our perspective. The outreach to the community has been extensive. I would estimate at least 1,200 people have been involved in providing input to us in a variety of ways,” he said.
“The inquiry is going very smoothly and we look forward to presenting our report to the board.”
Mayor John Tory said the review, while costly, is “a necessary investment.”
“I think people have underestimated the degree to which this report is going to be incredibly important to the community, to the police service, but I think also to the global community,” Tory said.