Windsor Police officers can expect a pay raise which works out to roughly 12% over the course of four years. The ruling, which was retroactive dating back to 2011, equals a 2.9% annual pay increase.
The increased wages will cost the Windsor Police Service (WPS) roughly $1.8-million dollars annually.
Mayor Francis addressed reporters in his board room at City Hall, alongside Chief Frederick, and his Deputies, Derus and Powers, respectively.
The increased salary will be allocated from the WPS budget and not from the municipal budget. Francis made clear that any arbitrated decision affecting Windsor services would not be subsidized by City of Windsor operations.
Regarding post-retirement benefits, the decision grandfathers all existing members of the Windsor Police Service who were employed up to 2014, and everybody post 2014 will have the benefits until the age of 75.
The arbitrator based his decision on what’s happening across the province, and Mayor Francis explained that “if you look at the salary grid across the province, the first class constable in Windsor at Jan 1st, 2014, earning $90,300 will be in line with the officer in Toronto, Halton, London, the OPP, Peel, Sudbury, and I assume that the others will also be in line as well.”
When asked how he would find the $1.8-million dollars granted by the arbitrator, Chief Frederick stated that while it’s not easy, it is based on salaries, scrutinizing the budget, and working with his leadership team and managers to “be very cognizant of what [the] budget is, maintaining working within your budgets, and looking for efficiencies within all the units.”
Chief Frederick also noted that the increased wages would not be offset by a reduction in the number of sworn police officer but rather through attrition, efficiencies, and the Criminal Investigations Division (CID).
While other cities in North America have had to react to situations involving wages, Mayor Francis stressed that Windsor has been “very proactive and very balanced in our approach.”
“Until the arbitration system is changed by Queen’s Park, I think you’re going to continue to see the same sort of pattern when it comes to wages” commented Mayor Francis.
Francis believes that the arbitration process in Ontario needs to be “fixed” because “until there is real leadership on that issue out of Queen’s Park, regardless of [economic situation, crime stats, differences in community size], they are still going to make the same wage.”
“It’s going to take leadership from Queen’s Park, from a particular leader, from a particular party, to change the arbitration system,” stated Francis, adding, “as soon as they take that obvious replication out of the system, and until they do that, a police officer in Toronto, a police officer in Windsor, and an OPP officer [will] receive the same wage.”
Jonathon Liedtke is the Features & Opinion Editor for the University of Windsor Lance Campus/Community Newspaper and a reporter for ourWindsor.ca. As a founding member and current Co-Chair of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee, he is committed to representing, connecting, engaging with and advocating for local youth. He is also a member of Windsor’s “Punk with Horns” band The Nefidovs, and as such, is committed to enhancing and sustaining the arts community.