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Chief Bill Blair Defends Police Paid Duty Program

Days after a newspaper article slammed Toronto Police for its paid-duty program, Chief Bill Blair defended the system that allows officers to earn nearly twice their regular pay to watch over construction sites and direct traffic.

A report published in the Toronto Star earlier this week claimed the paid duty officers are costing taxpayers millions every year and sources claimed it “cheapened” police work.

Constables can take paid duty gigs on their days off, earning $65 an hour for a minimum three-hour shift.

While many of the paid duty requests come from private companies, the report claims many come from entities spending tax-payer funds, including two provincial ministries.  

“I really don’t mind people talking about this issue and I think we have a responsibility to ensure people are well-informed about it, but unfortunately, people have not been well-informed about it,” Blair said Tuesday on CityOnline.

“The people responsible for that construction have certain liabilities … in order to manage those liabilities they hire a police officer.”

Blair said it’s the construction company that pays for that officer. The Toronto Police Service charges an administration fee and “we recover all of the costs of that administration, including the officer’s equipment, the use of any vehicles that may be necessary, the WSIB payments … all of that is captured and returned to the city,” Blair said.

“Last year, as a result of that billing we returned nearly $4 million to the city for administering the paid duty system.”