Paid Duty: Toronto Police Cash Cow Continues Uninterrupted

Update: see previous posts – September 26, 2011 Toronto Police Paid Duty for Construction Jobs To Discontinue,  September 21, 2010 CRA review Toronto Police’ “Paid Duty” and “Free Parking”

see source

Vancouver-style cheaper “pay duty” assignments are not feasible as a replacement for using constables in Toronto, a report to the city’s police overseers determined.

In a report for the Toronto Police Services Board this Wednesday, a committee studying ways to cut costs and controversy found that pay-duty fees were much lower in British Columbia’s largest city:

• Vancouver Police officers’ hourly rates are from $56.24 for the first eight hours, $78.96 for the next two hours and $105.28 hourly after 10 hours, while Special Municipal Constables on traffic details get $28.48-$36.61 hourly.

Toronto Police Paid Duty Officers are hired on an hourly basis, with a three (3) hour minimum; i.e. even if required for only one (1) hour, the minimum of three (3) hours pay will be paid.

Toronto off-duty constables are paid $65 hourly (minimum $195), Sergeants are paid $73.50 hourly (minimum $220.50), Staff Sergeants are paid $82.00 hourly (minimum $246.00), Staff Sergeants are paid $84 hourly – when in charge of 15 or more officers (minimum $246.00).

• Administrators of the Toronto Police pay-duty system charge a 15% administrative fee plus an equipment usage fee, while Vancouver includes those fees in its hourly rates.

But the biggest stumbling block in this tale of two cities and pay-duty policing is that B.C. permits cheaper special constables for traffic control.

Ontario requires that only police officers be assigned such duties, the report states.

Traffic control amounts to almost 60% of Toronto Police pay-duty assignments. They are also used for security details, emergency duties, escorts, at casinos, licenced premises and special events.

While the police are targeted by politicians and business owners lobbying to cut the number of paid-duty officers earning $65-an-hour and replace them with lower-paid traffic guards, the requirement for such cops comes under a City Hall bylaw. It requires paid-duty officers at any construction site within 30 metres of a traffic light.

Paid Duty will continue to be paid in cash to any officer performing paid duty at a minimum of three (3) hours, ranging from $65 per hour (minimum cash payment of $195) to $84 per hour (minimum cash payment of $246)

The report said Toronto Police Chief Bill Blair approved several proposed system and process changes recommended by financial managers.

“Next steps include identifying the restrictions imposed by Toronto bylaws and provincial acts and defining paid duty requirements,” it stated.

The report determined the Vancouver Traffic Authority Program “is not feasible” for Toronto.

Paid Duty:

Paid duty is jealously guarded by the rank and file of the Toronto police officers, as well as Toronto Police Service’s, Toronto Police Chief, Bill Blair.

Most paid duty assignments that off duty police volunteer to perform pays a minimum of $65.00 an hour, for a minimum of three (3) hours. These assignments are normally paid in cash and the officer performing the “paid duty” is not asked for, nor required to provide their social insurance numbers (SIN #) as is required by any employee working for an employer. Toronto police state that the CRA is notified by them of any officer picking up monies from paid duty (see paragraph 9 of the Terms of Agreement of paid duty).

Police officers on average earn thirty seven dollars and forty cents ($37.40) an hour at work, whereas when they are not scheduled in to work, paid duty will bring in $195.00 a day, even if they work an hour or not at all (if those hiring them, do not provide enough notice (12 hours) before cancelling/revising the date of the event or the film shoot)

From the City of Toronto – Toronto Police Service website, regarding “paid duty”:

Pay Duty Rates:

Rates are subject to change annually. To determine the current rate call the Central Paid Duty Office at 416-808-5048.

Paid Duty Officers are hired on an hourly basis, with a three (3) hour minimum; i.e. even if required for only one (1) hour, the minimum of three (3) hours pay will be paid. Even if the company that hires them, cancel the event (under 12 hours in advance of the scheduled event), the officer is still paid.

The current hourly rate of pay is (at the time of this printing):

Constables$65.00 (minimum $195.00)
(All classifications)
Sergeants$73.50 (minimum $220.50)
(When in charge of 4 or more police officers)
Staff Sergeant$82.00 (minimum $246.00)
(When in charge of 10 or more police officers; a Police Sergeant and a Staff Sergeant will also be required.)
Staff Sergeant$84.00 (minimum $252.00)
(When in charge of 15 or more officers; a Police Sergeant and a Staff Sergeant will also be required and the Staff Sergeant will be paid at $82.00 per hour rate.)

 

If any equipment is used on a paid duty (i.e. cars, boats, horse, bicycle) the film company will be billed by the Toronto Police Service at the end of the month. Please refer to the  OMDC Ontario Production Guide for the current rates.
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Councillor Del Grande’s Comment/Question
Toronto Police Service Response (October 15, 2012):

Paid Duty:
The cost of paid duty is a growing concern. A 2009 report showed that Toronto Police had $29M in paid duty work with a cost to the City of $1.3M to administer. Of that, $8.1M was directly paid by the City and we have taken measures to reduce the level of paid duty work to that which is absolutely necessary.

Another $12M is indirectly coming from contract work being charged back to the City. The Highway Traffic Act (HTA) is

The Auditor General in his report to the Police Services Board (Min. No. P72/11) indicated that, in 2009, City divisions, agencies, boards and commissions paid approximately $7.8M for paid duty services. This included $2.6M in direct expenditures by the City, and $5.2M in paid duty costs charged indirectly to the City by contractors doing City work (e.g. construction). These amounts differ significantly from the $8.1M (direct) and $12M (indirect) included in the Councillor’s letter to the Board. An excerpt from the Auditor General’s report on Paid Duty Costs to the City is attached to this report.

The City drives requests for paid duties at construction sites and can therefore take action to reduce or eliminate much of the requirements and associated costs. used as the rationale for the need for paid duty each time the issue of the necessity of paid duty has been raised.

As previously indicated in this report, on September 11, 2012, Chief Blair wrote to City Manager Joe Pennachetti, and advised that effective December 1, 2012, the Service will no longer perform paid duties for the City of Toronto or its ABCDs, except in circumstances where there is I believe this is a broad interpretation that is being overused.

No other police service in Ontario or Canada comes close to this amount. Montreal Police and York Regional are at approximately $3M each, which represents one tenth of Toronto’s expenditure. concern about the risk to public safety if there is no uniformed police officer at the paid duty site.

Paid duties do not result in a net cost to the Service. Paid duties are performed by officers off duty. The officers are paid directly by the customer. The only cost to the Service is to administer the program. This cost is recovered through a 15% administration charge to the customers. As such, the only things in the Service’s budget that relates to paid duty are the costs to administer the program and the revenue to recover that cost.

The $29M quoted in the Auditor General’s report was comprised of $24M paid directly to officers by customers for duties performed and approximately $5M in administration and equipment fees charged by the Service to customers. It should be noted that the Service is conducting a comprehensive review of the paid duty program to streamline the process, identify and implement efficiencies and automate the process, wherever possible.

 

 

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