British Columbia

Transit police awarded 10% pay increase

A ruling by an independent labour arbitrator makes clear that transit officers are sick of being regarded as "highly paid farecheckers."

Both employer and union expressly reject public perception they're 'highly paid fare checkers'

TransLink's transit police officers have a new collective agreement that will see them receive a wage increase totalling 10 per cent. (Richard Lam/Canadian Press)

An independent labour arbitrator has awarded TransLink's transit police officers a wage increase totalling more than 10 per cent.

The four-year collective agreement is retroactive to Jan.1, 2016 and includes a 2.5 per cent increase as of April 1 of this year.

Arbitrator Stan Lanyon's binding decision also awards transit police officers the same wage increase next year as a first class Vancouver police department constable.

The pay hike is part of the Transit Police Professional Association's efforts to achieve parity with the Vancouver Police Union.

Lanyon's ruling makes clear the union and TransLink are sick of being the butt of jokes.

"Both parties expressly reject what they see as an unfortunate public perception that the transit police officers are simply "highly paid farecheckers," the decision said.

Last contract expired in 2015

The union represents 238 employees. About 70 per cent are sworn police officers holding a rank below inspector, 15 per cent are clerical and support staff and the remaining 15 per cent are dispatchers.

Transit police used to be represented by the Canadian Office of Professional Employees, but B.C.'s Labour Relations Board certified the Transit Police Professional Association to represent them in June 2014.

In a statement, TransLink said the new contract will bring transit police salaries in line with the province's other police agencies.

The organization stressed transit police have received no wage increase since their contract expired at the end of 2015.

The arbitrator's decision says transit police officers expressly reject an unfortunate public perception of them as 'highly paid farecheckers.' (CBC)

Far from being "farecheckers," Lanyon's decision says the role of transit police officers most closely resembles that of other municipal police forces in B.C.

"The transit police perform the full range of patrol based duties and general investigative functions as any other police service," Lanyon wrote.

"In addition, they perform some specialized investigations, such as transit related sex crimes."

The decision splits a 10.38 per cent pay hike over three years: a little more than four per cent in 2016 and just over three per cent in 2017 and 2018.

The contract also provides a boost in expense money for plainclothes duties; officers assigned to permanent plainclothes duty can get reimbursement up to $1,500, whereas temporary plainclothes members can claim $5 a day.