After nearly five years as Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB) Executive Director & Chief of Staff, Ryan Teschner taking on an expanded role in police governance and oversight.
On March 27, Teschner starts his new role as Ontario’s Inspector General of Policing. He will be responsible for the Inspectorate of Policing, an independent organization to monitor police and police board performance as well as promote improvements to public safety.
At his last TPSB meeting, he acknowledged his deep-rooted conviction for fair policing as the grandson of Holocaust survivors.
“For my grandparents and their families, the power of the state — and, the police — was turned against them because of who they were. Thankfully, they survived, built new families and came to Canada for — as so many do — a better life. And, if they were still here today, seeing me sit here, among this group, they would smile and say to me: “This is why we struggled. This is why we sacrificed. So you could do this,” Teschner said. “And so, in everything I do, including our collective work, I remember that I do it because of them. My family’s past is also the reason, that I value the importance of making policing and police governance the best it can, ensuring it is there to truly respect, serve and protect everyone, as this has not always been the case.”
Teschner said his mantra was for police governance to instil public confidence and serve the public interest.
“This has been the quest many have taken on beside me,” he pointed out.
Teschner believes the Service’s efforts to confront difficult issues in policing, to have the difficult conversations and to commit to constant improvement is now part of the organization’s DNA.
“These difficult, uncomfortable conversations are important and should be had,” he said, of addressing racial discrimination. “But at the same time, these conversations and this work don’t need to be and should never be a cheap game of ‘gotcha.’”
The 2021 Canadian Association of Police Governance Awardee for Excellence in Police Governance acknowledged past Chief James Ramer and current Chief Myron Demkiw for embracing the modern approach to police governance and oversight.
“This has been one of the keys to the organization’s success,” Teschner added. “You have each demonstrated that police boards do not need to be the big, bad wolf. That accountability can be strong and still respectful. That a combination of the policing expertise you and the people in this organization bring coupled with the governance expertise we bring are the ingredients for the recipe that allows all of us to up our game. You have been true partners in this journey and I appreciate how genuine you have always been each step of the way. We are better for what you brought and bring to your roles.”
Throughout the Service and across Toronto and Canada, Demkiw said Teschner is recognized as a highly effective reformer, a dedicated leader and someone that can be turned to solve the most complex challenges.
“These are not mantles you merely stumble upon. This is a reputation that is earned,” said the Chief. “And earn it Mr. Teschner has and, in many significant ways.”
He said Toronto will benefit for many years to come from the new policies, policing innovations and organizational reforms that have been put in place under Teschner’s tenure.
“And now, police services and communities throughout our entire province stand to gain from you expertise and tireless devotion to service,” Chief Demkiw said. “I know we will continue to work together.”
A graduate of the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School, Teschner was called to the Ontario Bar in 2006 and previously worked as a litigator where he practiced in the areas of regulatory, administrative, constitutional and commercial law in all levels of court, including the Supreme Court of Canada. Teschner also served in as Special Counsel to the Deputy Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services (now, Solicitor General), as well as at the Ministry of the Attorney General, where he successfully designed and led the development of Ontario’s new policing and oversight legislation, as well as other significant initiatives that modernized policing in the province.