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Police Services Board Voices its Concerns – UPDATE

The West Nipissing Police Services Board held its regular monthly meeting on Thursday April 19th 2018. The agenda included discussions relating to the costing process and suitability of a temporary building to house policing operations while a new OPP structure is under construction.

The Board identified that both the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police and OPP recommended best practices for costing processes include a committee which involves the participation of the Board and the Chair along with other stakeholders. This was not the case in this last process. A request for documentation to be sent to the Ontario Civilian Police Commission was received from the OPP and the outline included that the Board had participated in a meaningful way. It was felt that the Board could not respond in that fashion. As a result, the Board resolved to contact the Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services to express their frustration with the non-inclusiveness of the process. Chair Barry Bertrand stated “The Board cannot sign off on something that did not occur.”

The Board is also advocating for a review of the proposed temporary location. There are questions surrounding the suitability of the site and the ability to deliver adequate and effective service to the community. The Board will be asking the Ministry of Labour to look into the matter.

Statement from municipality below:

This is in response to the position taken by the West Nipissing Police Services Board and the Press Release issued by it earlier today.

It is my duty to respond to the specific statements made by the Police Services Board, as I, as Chief Administrative Officer of the Municipality of West Nipissing, was directed by Council to lead the process of obtaining the OPP costing proposal and for carrying out the ensuing transition process.

With respect to the Chair’s assertion regarding lack of consultation, it is important to be aware that there is no legal requirement to consult in any specific manner except to ensure that the information obtained meets legislative requirements and is of a sufficient nature to permit a decision to be made. In the time frame beginning on October 18, 2016 when Council directed that a costing proposal be obtained, to November 14, 2018, when the costing proposal was provided by the OPP, there was a significant exchange of information between the West Nipissing Police Service, the Municipality of West Nipissing and the OPP which enabled the OPP to provide its Costing Proposal.

With respect to issues of transition, the West Nipissing Police Board does not play any role in selecting or approving sites for the Ontario Provincial Police. Site selection and approval is solely the responsibility of the OPP working with the Municipality of West Nipissing, whose legislative responsibility pursuant to Section 4 of the Police Service Act is to “provide adequate and effective police services”. When the confirmation regarding the proposed permanent and temporary sites was received from the OPP, the information was brought immediately to Council so that it could be disseminated and shared publicly.

It is unfortunate that the West Nipissing Police Board would refuse to provide the requested letter to the Ontario Civilian Policing Commission; however what is required by OCPC is simply a statement that the various employee groups’ interests have been protected throughout the process and that what is being set out in the requisite severance agreements is acceptable. The earlier that this statement can be provided, the more expeditiously the entire transition process can be carried out.

Any member of the media or the general public having questions is free to contact the undersigned at 705-753-6947 or by email at jbarbeau@westnipissing.ca.
Jean-Pierre (Jay) Barbeau, CAO,
Municipality of West Nipissing