At least 50 police officers currently suspended with pay in Ontario
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.