North Bay police chief wants rules changed for suspending officers with pay

The chief of the North Bay Police Service says he'd like to see the rules changed governing suspended police officers being sent home with pay.
North Bay Police Chief Paul Cook. Currently the North Bay police service is dealing with two police officers who have been suspended from work with pay. (Supplied/OACC)
The police chief in North Bay says under certain circumstances, he’d like to have more options when dealing with suspended officers.

The chief of the North Bay Police Service says he'd like to see the rules changed governing suspended police officers being sent home with pay.

Currently, when an officer is suspended from duty they are sent home with pay until the matter is resolved, even if he or she has been charged when they are off duty.

Under certain circumstances, Chief Paul Cook said he would like to have the option to suspend officers without pay.

Cook said there are currently two police officers within his service who are suspended with pay.

"When people talk to you, either through e-mail or see you on the street, they say things like, 'Why don't you just fire them? Why don't you just cut their pay?' And unfortunately, those aren't options that are available to the police services board or a chief of police," he said.

For the rules to change, police associations would have to agree and advocate to the provincial government, he said. Cook is a former President of the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police.

Other provinces, other options

The issue of suspension without pay is not a new one, and there is a recognized need across the country to address the issue.

Ontario is the only province where suspended police officers must be paid.

Alberta, British Columbia, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Manitoba all have legislation to allow suspension of police officers without pay in certain circumstances.

Under Ontario's Police Services Act, the only circumstance in which a police officer doesn't get paid while suspended is if he or she is convicted and sentenced to imprisonment.

If an officer is convicted of a crime but doesn't have to serve time behind bars, they remain suspended with pay until they can be fired through the police disciplinary procedure. The same process applies to officers internally charged with misconduct.

If the officer appeals their termination, it can be delayed for months, even years.

Take our poll: Should police officers charged with offences, misconduct, be suspended without pay?


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