Only province in Canada where law requires suspended cops to stay on payroll, unless sentenced to serve time
At least 50 officers with four of the province’s largest police forces are currently suspended from duty for alleged misconduct, but getting a paycheque all the same, CBC News has learned.
The number of Toronto cops suspended with pay jumped to 14 on Thursday, when four Toronto police officers were charged in connection with allegedly planting heroin in a suspect’s car and lying about it in court.
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“They’re suspended with pay,” Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders told a news conference. “I don’t have an option under the Police Services Act, it has to be that way. Right now I can’t do anything else.”
Questions from CBC News to other police forces revealed that 29 Ontario Provincial Police officers are currently suspended with pay, as are six officers with the Ottawa police and one with the Windsor police.
With police in Ontario earning on average about $90,000 per year, it means these forces alone are spending some $4.5 million on suspended officers this year.
Ontario is only province in Canada where the law requires that suspended police officer must remain on the payroll unless sentenced to serve time behind bars.
“In other provinces, the chiefs of police have the discretion to suspend officers without pay if they’ve been charged with a criminal offence,” said Christine Van Geyn, Ontario director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.
Premier Kathleen Wynne says her government is considering changing the law.
“We think they should go ahead and make those changes and bring Ontario in line with the same standards that officers are held to in other provinces,” Van Geyn said in a phone interview.
She pointed to the case of a Waterloo region officer who boasted of playing golf while on a three-year paid suspension, funded by taxpayers.
Toronto police officers currently suspended with pay include:
- Const. James Forcillo, found guilty of attempted murder over the streetcar shooting death of Sammy Yatim
- Sgt Robert Goudie, charged with assault, in connection with an altercation in a Scarborough parking lot last Halloween that sent a man to hospital.
- Constables Joshua Cabero, Leslie Nyznik, and Sameer Kara, charged with gang sexual assault in connection with an alleged assault of a female parking enforcement officer, while the men were off-duty.
Const. Tash Baiati, charged under the Police Services Act in connection with firing 15 shots into the hood of a car in Toronto’s Distillery District last September, is not under suspension.
Among the OPP officers currently suspended with pay are three veteran constables facing charges following an 18-month-long drug trafficking investigation in the Brockville area.
Ontario’s Police Services Act stipulates that officers can only be suspended without pay after they are sentenced to a term of imprisonment.
Police Services Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. P.15
89. (1) If a police officer, other than a chief of police or deputy chief of police, is suspected of or charged with an offence under a law of Canada or of a province or territory or is suspected of misconduct as defined in section 80, the chief of police may suspend him or her from duty with pay. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
(2) If a chief of police or deputy chief of police is suspected of or charged with an offence under a law of Canada or of a province or territory or is suspected of misconduct as defined in section 80, the board may suspend him or her from duty with pay. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
Revocation and reimposition of suspension
(3) The chief of police or board may revoke the suspension and later reimpose it, repeatedly if necessary, as the chief of police or board, as the case may be, considers appropriate. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
Duration of suspension
(4) Unless the chief of police or board revokes the suspension, it shall continue until the final disposition of the proceeding in which the chief of police’s, deputy chief of police’s or other police officer’s conduct is at issue. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
Conditions of suspension
(5) While suspended, the chief of police, deputy chief of police or other police officer shall not exercise any of the powers vested in him or her as a chief of police, deputy chief of police or police officer, or wear or use clothing or equipment that was issued to him or her in that capacity. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
Suspension without pay
(6) If a chief of police, deputy chief of police or other police officer is convicted of an offence and sentenced to a term of imprisonment, the chief of police or board, as the case may be, may suspend him or her without pay, even if the conviction or sentence is under appeal. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
Earnings from other employment
(7) If a chief of police, deputy chief of police or other police officer is suspended with pay, the pay for the period of suspension shall be reduced by the amount that he or she earns from other employment during that period. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
(8) Subsection (7) does not apply to earnings from other employment that was commenced before the period of suspension. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
Resignation of police officer
90. (1) If at any time after a complaint about the conduct of a police officer is made under this Part and before the complaint is finally disposed of the police officer resigns, no further action shall be taken under this Part in respect of the complaint after the date of resignation. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
(2) If the complaint referred to in subsection (1) was made under this Part by a member of the public, notice of the resignation shall be given promptly after the resignation to the complainant and the Independent Police Review Director by,
(a) the board of the police force from which the police officer resigned, in the case of the resignation of a municipal chief of police or municipal deputy chief of police; or
(b) the chief of police of the police force from which the police officer resigned, in the case of the resignation of a police officer other than a chief of police or deputy chief of police. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
(3) Despite subsection (1), if the police officer who resigned is employed by a police force within five years of the date of resignation, this Part shall apply to the police officer in accordance with the regulations. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
(4) In the circumstances described in subsection (3), if the police officer is employed with a police force other than the police force from which he or she resigned, the police officer is deemed, for the purposes of the complaints process under this Part, to be employed with the police force from which he or she resigned, except that an action that shall be taken with respect to the matter by a chief of police under subsection 84 (1) or by a board under subsection 84 (2) or 85 (3) after the complaints process is resumed shall be taken by the chief of police or board, as the case may be, of the police force in which the police officer is employed following the resignation. 2007, c. 5, s. 10.
Exception, officers appointed under the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009
(5) This section does not apply to a police officer appointed under the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009. 2009, c. 30, s. 58.
Termination of officers appointed under the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009
90.1 This Part applies to a police officer appointed under the Interprovincial Policing Act, 2009 even after his or her appointment under that Act is terminated. 2009, c. 30, s. 59.