Toronto transit officers charged with obstruction of justice
Five TTC enforcement officers have been accused of skipping work and falsifying provincial-offence tickets against homeless people, allegations which have resulted in criminal charges and the loss of their jobs.
According to a Toronto Transit Commission release, the employees were fired after a four-month investigation that began in the fall and involved police.
The TTC alleges that the employees falsely reported handing out provincial-offence tickets to homeless people at locations where they were not actually present.
"The falsified tickets were never served on the individuals named on the tickets, therefore no fines were ever paid," the TTC said in the news release issued Tuesday.
"The TTC, however, will cancel all falsified tickets and ensure those named face no future prosecution for failure to pay the fines set out on these tickets."
At a late afternoon news conference, Brad Ross, the TTC's executive director of corporate communications, said the accused appeared at work in uniform, but did not undertake the work they said they did.
"They would show up for work, they were in uniform, they would be in their vehicles, but they would not be where they said they were and issued these tickets allegedly under false pretenses," he told reporters.
TTC chair Karen Stinz said the allegations were painful for the entire organization.
"To have this type of action happen is really disappointing for the entire organization and really a slap in the face to all those employees who go to work every day and want to do a good job," Stintz said, speaking at the same afternoon news conference.
In a statement, Andy Byford, the TTC’s chief executive officer, said he was "profoundly disappointed" by the allegations, which he said the organization had acted on "swiftly and decidedly" once they were raised.
The investigation involved Toronto police, who issued a separate release indicating the criminal charges that have been laid against the five accused.
Two of the former employees each face two counts of attempting to obstruct justice and two counts of fabricating evidence. A third faces three counts of each, and two others each face a single count of attempting to obstruct justice and fabricating evidence.
Three other TTC employees were found to have committed "misconduct," which was discovered during the course of the investigation. They have also been fired, but are not facing criminal charges.
The TTC website says that its transit enforcement officers "carry out a variety of activities to enhance public and TTC employee safety and deal with emergencies."
Ross said the TTC employs 40 transit enforcement officers in total.
He said these officers are typically paid an annual salary in the range of $60,000 to $70,000.