Until Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes (BEI) was set up, no specific requirements were prescribed in the Criminal Code or the Police Act as to how independent police investigations on serious incidents involving other police officers were to be conducted. However, the mechanisms for monitoring and supervising police activity included provisions on how to conduct independent investigations.
When someone was seriously injured or died as a result of police action or while being detained by the police, an independent investigation was launched by the minister of public security and entrusted to one of three police forces: Sûreté du Québec, Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal, or Service de Police de la Ville de Québec. .
The practice of allowing police officers to investigate serious incidents calling into question the actions of other police officers was often criticized by the public, who pointed out the appearance of conflict of interest, the lack of transparency regarding the investigations, and the lack of impartiality and objectivity of the police forces conducting the investigations. These issues were a big point of public debate at the time.
In response to public concern, the Québec government decided to change how independent investigations were conducted. An amendment to the Police Act was passed on May 9, 2013, creating a fully independent body called Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes and establishing its mission and investigative powers across Québec.
Furthermore, Bill 107 was adopted on February 14, 2018, and amended the Police Act by broadening BEI's mandate and strenghtening its autonomy. Police force directors must now notify the director of Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes, rather than the Minister of Public Security, of events that could lead to an independent investigation. They must also notify the BEI director of any allegations against a police officer concerning a criminal offense of a sexual nature commited in the performance of duties so BEI can conduct an investigation.
Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes began operations in 2016.
Bill 12, an Act to amend the Police Act as concerns independent investigations, is tabled
Special consultations and public hearings on Bill 12 are held
The Act to amend the Police Act as concerns independent investigations is passed and receives assent
The Regulation respecting the selection procedure and the training of investigators of the BEI is passed
Madeleine Giauque takes up her duties as director of BEI
Calls for applications are launched for the positions of BEI investigators
Draft Regulation respecting the conduct of investigations the Bureau des enquêtes indépendantes is charged with is published
BEI director recommends appointments to the minister of public security
Two supervisors are appointed to BEI’s investigative unit
Seven investigators are appointed to BEI’s investigative unit
Five investigators are appointed to BEI’s investigative unit
Four investigators are appointed to BEI’s investigative unit
BEI starts operations
4 investigators are appointed to BEI's investigative unit and a coordinator function is established
A call for application is launched for the position of assistant director
Sylvain Ayotte is appointed assistant director of BEI
4 investigators are appointed to the BEI's investigative unit
8 investigators and 1 supervisor are appointed to the BEI's investigative unit
The Act to increase the jurisdiction and independence of BEI and other organizations is adopted and passed