Suspension or termination of appointment
53(6) The power to appoint a special constable includes the power to suspend or terminate the appointment, but if a board or the Commissioner suspends or terminates an appointment, written notice shall promptly be given to the Solicitor General.
In the event that the Chief is recommending termination of the employment or appointment of a Special Constable, Associations should ensure the following stages are followed pursuant to section 53 of the PSA:
At the first stage, the member will receive a Notice of Investigation. This notice should include all particulars of the investigation, including, but not limited to, a description of the incident, dates, parties involved, alleged misconduct, evidence relied upon etc. Within this letter, the member ought to be informed of any disciplinary action that will take place during the investigation. For example, whether they will be assigned to administrative duties, retain their use of force, or be suspended with or without pay.
At the investigative stage, interviews will be conducted. The member will be interviewed by the internal Professional Standards Section/Bureau. Civilian members are not compelled by the PSA to provide an interview. At this stage, consultation with legal counsel is imperative to assess the merits of attending an interview, as well as the risks associated with non-attendance.
Upon completion of the investigation, the Chief will draft a report outlining his/her recommendations. The Chief will forward this report to the Police Services Board, as well as the member and their respective Association.
The Association may invoke its right to request and make submissions on the member’s behalf in writing and/or orally pursuant to section 53(8) of the PSA. Note that this occurs on a case by case basis, and where misconduct is proven and may justify the Chief’s recommendation, the Association may negotiate the appropriate severance.
Information and opportunity to reply
s.53(8) Before a special constable’s appointment is terminated, he or she shall be given reasonable information with respect to the reasons for the termination and an opportunity to reply, orally or in writing as the board, Commissioner or Solicitor General, as the case may be, may determine. 1997, c. 8, s. 33 (4).
When requesting disclosure, ensure you are timely and detailed in your request. Appropriate disclosure includes, but is not limited to: interviews, transcripts, investigative logs, scheduling information, e-mails, etc. All relevant information should be obtained, in addition to all information relied upon during the investigation of the matter.
Organizing written submissions is a process that should not be rushed. It should commence immediately upon the submission of the Chief’s report, and once all disclosure has been acquired and reviewed, as this remains an integral part of the process. The Association plays an important role at this stage in retaining legal to draft the submissions, should the Association be unable to, as well as in providing its position within the written submissions regarding its support for the member. All relevant information about the member should be gathered at this stage. This includes past evaluations, responses and explanations to each allegation, character references (staff, coworkers, supervisors, community leaders etc.), mitigating factors (i.e. years of experience, rank, no previous discipline) etc.
It is also helpful to assess the member’s willingness to concede to reasonable and proportional disciplinary alternatives in cases of substantiated misconduct. Relying on precedents regarding how other members have been disciplined in similar situations will also be beneficial. Lastly, Associations may request the opportunity to make oral submissions at the Police Services Board meeting where the submissions previously provided by all parties will be considered. The member is also encouraged to address the Board at this time.
Should the Board terminate the member, the Association may file a grievance following the same process as other labour grievances. Ensure these procedures are being followed to prevent the unlawful termination of your members.