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Ottawa's mayor wants ability to suspend police officers without pay

The mayor's concerns echo those of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, which has previously called for changes to Ontario's Police Services Act to allow suspensions without pay.
2020-03-24 Ottawa police service
Inside of an Ottawa Police Service patrol car, March 2020. Photo/ Ottawa Police Service

Ottawa's mayor wants the province to allow local police services boards to suspend the pay of police officers charged or convicted of serious offences, and he's asking city council to back his call.

Mayor Jim Watson gave notice at Wednesday's city council meeting, saying he planned to introduce a motion that council formally requests the Ontario government give police chiefs or police service boards the power to suspend officers without pay.

The mayor's concerns echo those of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, which has previously called for changes to Ontario's Police Services Act to allow suspensions without pay.

Watson calls for suspensions without pay in some limited circumstances:

  • When an officer has been charged with serious Criminal Code of Canada and other federal offences not related to the officer's duties;
  • When officers are being held in custody or have been released with such conditions that prevent the officers from doing their jobs;
  • When an officer has been charged with serious Police Services Act violations where the police chief will seek the officer's dismissal.

Ontario's previous Liberal government introduced a bill that would have given chiefs of police the power to suspend officers without pay in certain circumstances, but the legislation was not passed before the 2018 provincial election.

Watson's motion is seconded by the chair of the Ottawa Police Services Board, Councillor Diane Deans. The motion is scheduled to be debated at council's next meeting, in mid-October.




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Jason White

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