Big Win at the Ontario Civilian Police Commission

Last year, our client brought an application under s. 116 of the Police Services Act to become a member of the Niagara Regional Police Senior Officers’ Association. The case was argued before the Ontario Civilian Police Commission, an independent oversight agency which carries out a number of adjudicative duties such as determining the status of police service members.

The definition of “senior officer” on  s. 114 of the Police Services Act stipulates that

“senior officer” means a member of a police force who has the rank of inspector or higher or is employed in a supervisory or confidential capacity.

The sole issue to be determined in our client’s case was whether or not he “is employed in a supervisory or confidential capacity.”

In a 42-page decision, the Commission thoroughly reviewed the jurisprudence interpreting the meaning of “supervisory” under s. 114 of the Act. The leading decision, Re: Metro Toronto Police Association (ORC, February 17, 1975), laid out a non-exhaustive list of factors to consider when evaluating the supervisory capacity of a civilian employee, including: the importance of responsibility, initiative, reporting, the overseeing of employees, the role in hiring and discharging, the power to discipline, etc.

After reviewing each factor in detail, the Commission granted our client’s application and ordered that he be classified as a senior officer of the Service. Not only is the decision a great outcome for our client, but the thorough analysis by the Commission will provide excellent guidance for lawyers litigating the status of police service members on a going-forward basis.

This latest victory adds to James Lawyers’ great track record of assisting employees of the police services, correctional services, and other law enforcement agencies.

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