Civilian OPPs say they're paid less than uniformed officers in the same role
Emily Silva, CTV Kitchener
Published Friday, January 26, 2018 5:51PM EST
Last Updated Friday, January 26, 2018 6:07PM EST
Equal pay and equal work are at the centre of a complaint that a group of civilian OPPs are bringing to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario.
Eighty-three people whom are mostly women are part of the human rights complaint.
Danielle Bisnar, co-counsel to the applicants, says the complainants aren’t comparing themselves to front line officers, but to uniformed OPP members who are doing the same roles as them in areas like human resources or support specialists.
Those that are part of the complaint are civilian managers and specialists from across Ontario who are saying they're paid less than the uniformed officer for doing the same role.
Amanda Weaver, who is an OPP civilian employee, says she feels undervalued and unappreciated for her job. She says often positions open up to either a uniformed manager or a civilian manager. If it goes to the civilian manager, their salary will be less.
"It's the exact same job, but the civilian manager will make anywhere from $30,000 to $40,000 less,” she says.
The group is also raising concerns about a male dominated police culture, exemplified in an incident at a conference in Waterloo last year, featuring an Oktoberfest keg tap.
Last June Weaver says she was attending the Ontario Association of Police Chief’s Annual General Meeting when she was convinced to take part in the evening’s entertainment put on by Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest.
She says her hand was physically raised by a person in a higher ranking position, volunteering her to participate in what K-W Oktoberfest calls a "bavarian handshake" or "oktoberfest handshake."
Weaver and another woman were instructed to put their hands through the front flap of the male entertainer's lederhosen.
“It was a cultural and kind of opening event designed to humiliate two women,” Weaver says.
KW Oktoberfest no longer has this ritual and according to the president Margo Jones it’s outdated.
“There are certain things we used to do 50 years ago, 20 years ago, that we don't do any more. And this is one of the things that has to be put away,” she says.
In a statement the OPP says their organization takes great pride in the actions and work of all their employees and will abide by the decision or rulings made by the tribunal.
The human rights tribunal will continue in Toronto in either May or June.
With reporting by Krista Simpson