Ministry of the
Solicitor General

Major Case Management

Major Case Management

What is Major Case Management?

Major Case Management (MCM) is an innovative approach to solving crimes and dealing with complex incidents. All of Ontario’s police services use MCM to investigate certain types of serious crimes – homicides, sexual assaults and abductions.

MCM combines specialized police training and investigation techniques with a computer software system called Powercase. The software manages the vast amounts of information involved in investigations of serious crimes.

It is especially useful in helping police identify common links in crimes committed in different locations – crimes that might have been committed by the same person.

Police services across Ontario must use MCM as part of their investigation into certain types of serious crimes such as homicides, sexual assaults and abductions.

MCM helps police solve major cases by:

  • providing an efficient way to keep track of, sort and analyse huge amounts of information about a crime: police notes, witness statements, door-to-door leads, names, locations, vehicles and phone numbers are examples of the types of information police collect
  • streamlining investigations
  • making it possible for police to see connections between cases so they can reduce the risk that serial offenders will avoid being caught
  • preventing crime and reducing the number of potential victims by catching offenders sooner

Here are examples of high profile cases where police used Major Case Management:

  • In the Holly Jones murder, MCM helped the Toronto Police Service manage the large amount of information they built up during their investigation.
  • During the two SARS outbreaks, MCM helped police and medical authorities manage the large amount of information they needed to track.
  • The Ontario Provincial Police used MCM for their investigation into the circumstances and handling of the E-coli bacteria outbreak.
  • Toronto Police Service and Peel Regional Police Service jointly used MCM to work together in solving the Cecilia Zhang murder.
  • One of Canada’s worst mass murders involved eight biker gang members found dead west of St. Thomas. The Ontario Provincial Police used MCM in the complex investigation that lead to the arrest of eight people, six charged with first degree murder and two charged as accessories after the fact.


After the 1995 conviction of Paul Bernardo on a number of charges including murder, the province’s Lieutenant Governor appointed Mr. Justice Archie Campbell to review the roles played by the police, the Centre of Forensic Sciences, the Office of the Chief Coroner and the provincial government during the Bernardo investigations.

In his 1996 report, Justice Campbell found that the lack of coordination, cooperation and communications among police and other parts of the justice system contributed to a dangerous serial predator “falling through the cracks.”

One of Justice Campbell’s key recommendations was that the province set up a common automated case management system for Ontario’s police services to use in investigations into homicides and sexual assaults.

Ontario is the only place in the world to have this type of computerized network for case management. It means that when there is a serious incident, any police service in the province will use the system in their investigation right from the start.

Since 2002, all municipal police services and the Ontario Provincial Police have had access to the Major Case Management system.

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