Police and Your Rights

Police Officer listening to a young person.

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Police officers are part of our community. They exist to help you, your family, your friends, your neighbours and every person or group that lives in, works in or visits the Ottawa area. 

Policing is about working with people to ensure public safety through crime prevention and law enforcement. It is also about building relationships in the community and making a difference in the lives of people. Consider a rewarding career as a member of our police service!

Here are some of the most common questions that Ottawa Police officers have been asked by youth:

If I deal with a police officer, will my parents find out?

Sometimes, depending on your age and the circumstances, an officer is required by law to contact your parents or the Children's Aid Society (e.g. in the case of serious injury or arrest and when an officer determines you need protection). In some cases in Ontario, your parents can be held liable for your actions under the Parental Responsibility Act (e.g., paying for property damage) and they will be contacted. In other instances, it's at the officers discretion whether a particular incident warrants contacting others, such as your parents. Overall, police officers are trained to try to handle any situation with your best interest in mind.

Why do I see the same police officer at my school all the time?

Every school in the City of Ottawa is assigned a School SRO logoResource Officer (SRO) as their personal police contact. SROs are specially trained officers that work closely with youth, their families and school officials to help resolve any incidents that may come up. SROs are very approachable, and they always have the student's best interest in mind. No need to fear, talk to your SRO.

Your Rights

Community Legal Education Ontario (CLEO) is a great source of legal information for youth. It has a whole series of information about the law, including the consequences of having a youth record (e.g., getting a job or travelling).

Get in touch with CLEO by phone at 416-408-4420, by email at cleo@cleo.on.ca or visit their website at www.cleo.on.ca. Keep in mind that CLEO doesn't give legal advice. If you have a legal problem, see a lawyer or a community legal clinic. If you live in Ontario, you can find the clinic nearest you by visiting Legal Aid Ontario.

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