Montreal

Student demos cost $2M in overtime, police union says

Montreal's police brotherhood says its officers are being pushed to their limits after more than two months of near-daily student demonstrations.

Some officers worked up to 300 hours extra, according to the Montreal police brotherhood

Near-daily student demonstrations in Montreal has put a strain on the city's police service, according to the officers' union. (Marie-Esperance Cerda/ Canadian Press)

Montreal’s police brotherhood says its officers are being pushed to their limits after more than two months of near-daily student demonstrations.

The union representing police officers said the demonstrations are costing the city millions and putting officer safety at risk.

Since the beginning of January, there are been 160 student demonstrations. For each, officers were deployed either to escort the protest or, when things turned violent, disperse crowds and make arrests.

"We’re talking about people who have [worked] between 250 and 300 hours of overtime just since the beginning of the protests," said brotherhood spokesperson Yves Francoeur.

That’s the equivalent of eight weeks on top of their regular shifts and could amount to between two and three million dollars in added costs, he said.

Montreal police would not confirm those numbers and wouldn’t say how much the overtime is costing the city. However, Chief Marc Parent has said it’s in the millions.

Overtime costs aside, Francoeur said that some investigations have been put on the backburner while officers are moved around to address demonstrations.

It also means some suburbs are being underserved while officers are deployed to deal with situations in the city’s core, he said.

Montreal’s mayor has been putting pressure on the provincial government to reimburse the city for some of the policing costs incurred in the city that has become the epicenter of student unrest.

The city has asked the province for $35 million in additional funding for policing operations.

The two sides are expected to meet within the next few weeks.