TORONTO, May 10 /CNW/ -
The Honourable Dalton McGuinty
Premier of Ontario
Legislative Building, Room 281
Toronto ON M7A1A1
Dear Premier McGuinty,
I have read with great interest your public comments relating to the
tentative agreement reached between the Toronto Police Association
(TPA) and the Toronto Police Services Board (TPSB).
With great respect, I must say that decisions made at the provincial
level are largely responsible for this deal. The province makes the
rules under which municipal police services boards bargain collective
agreements. The province has repeatedly taken steps to set a pattern
of steadily increasing costs in policing. It is in this context that
we are left to negotiate a reasonable collective agreement.
No police service in the province bargains in isolation. The fact is
that the terms and conditions of employment for police officers are set
through pattern bargaining (mostly) or pattern arbitration
(occasionally) amongst the largest police services. For example,
arbitrators considering what to award police services in Durham,
Sudbury, Hamilton and Ottawa look to settlements or arbitration awards
in places like Toronto, the OPP or Peel.
Our province has a long history of driving up the costs of policing
through deals given to the OPP.
For example, in a recent OPP contract, the pension plan was made much
more generous than the pension plan that applies to all other police
officers. It pays a pension based on the best three years rather than
the best five. I understand that all of the past service costs for
this change were paid for by the taxpayers. These changes will likely
cost millions of public dollars. Other police associations are trying
to bargain for the same treatment. The TPSB has said "no" to this
twice so far - in 2008 and 2011.
For 2009 and 2010, the government has claimed that it achieved a lower
increase for the OPP. In fact, the government temporarily increased
OPP members' retention pay by one percent for each of the two years in
order to give the OPP a higher increase.
In 2010, the government gave the OPP, without arbitration, a 5.07%
increase for 2011 (almost 2% higher than anyone else for this year).
In addition, the government gave the OPP a guarantee of an
across-the-board wage increase on March 1, 2014 (retroactive to January
1, 2014), which would make the OPP members the highest paid police
officers in the province in 2014, regardless of cost. As a result,
they will receive, at minimum, a 14.06% salary increase over four years
(2011 to 2014). This has set the province wide police bargaining
Toronto's proposed agreement represents a cumulative increase of 11.5%
over the four year period from 2011 to 2014 (two and one-half percent
less than the OPP deal over the same period) - with no guarantee as to
being the highest paid and no changes to the pension.
Turning to arbitration, the province has the ability to change the rules
for arbitration. It has long been established that arbitrators
replicate negotiated agreements. A municipality's ability to pay as
well as local and provincial economic conditions, which are among the
criteria for arbitration set out in the Police Services Act, receive little, if any, consideration. The province has done nothing to
change this. Repeated requests from municipalities, associations and
police services across the province to fix this system have gone
Finally, it was the province which made retention pay a province-wide
feature of police agreements by giving it to the OPP. Unlike in
Toronto, OPP had absolutely no retention issue or requirement for
retention pay. Other police services had settled their contracts after
Toronto without giving it, but once the province made it a province
wide feature, all of the other police services subsequently followed.
Of course, I welcome a debate about a proposed collective agreement
where all of the proposed changes are public and can be discussed. I
believe that our tentative agreement is a proper reflection of the
current collective bargaining (and arbitration) environment.
Premier, I would welcome the opportunity to meet with you and share our
ideas on how to make police bargaining more realistic and consistent
with our economic reality. In the meantime, we will move forward with
our tentative agreement, which is far more cost-effective and realistic
than that of the OPP, and which was reached through the hard work of
both our Board and the Toronto Police Association.
Alok Mukherjee, Chair
Toronto Police Services Board
Mayor Rob Ford and Members of Toronto City Council
Members, Toronto Police Services Board
OPP Contract Facts:
The recent OPP agreements are the product of negotiation and not
The 2011 agreement included a "highest paid" provision that regardless
of cost, OPP will be the highest paid in Ontario on January 1, 2014.
In 2010, an OPP first class constable's end rate was $79,451.
The new OPP contract gives a first class constable a 5.07% increase in
2011, which will bring their end rate to $83,483.
Total OPP increase for 2011 to 2014 is a minimum of 14.06% with an
ongoing guarantee to be the highest paid in the province in 2014.
SOURCE Toronto Police Services Board
For further information:
Toronto Police Services Board