Skip to content

Down to final days for Midland Police

OPP set to take over policing February 8
Midland Police Service
Midland Police Service. Source: Facebook

The Ontario Provincial Police is set to assume policing duties in Midland on Feb. 8 bringing to an end to several years of uncertainty for local officers and staff. 

"The MPS employees are expected to go for OPP training on Feb. 8. At that time the OPP will provide police services to the Town of Midland. When the MPS employees complete their training, expected in early March, they will return to take up their duties in Midland," said Midland Mayor Gord McKay. 

This week the Ontario Civilian Policing Commission gave its approval to the town to disband the more than 100-year-old police service in favour of the OPP.  

"There's some finality now we've been waiting for some time. It's a bit of a weight off your shoulders to know there's actually a firm date," said Midland Police Association Vice President Bill Gordon. "The whole process has dragged on. It's been four years."

The lengthy process culminated in September when Midland council voted 6-3 to disband its municipal police.

Council maintained the provincial police will save about six million dollars.

The OCPC ruling Tuesday set the final wheels in motion.

Gordon says the Association has received no formal notification of the Feb. 8 transition date but doing the math, he expects termination notices and job offers to start flowing today. 

Under the OPP's new costing formula, officers and civilians are invited to apply to the OPP unlike before when everyone automatically migrated to the provincial police service.  Gordon says the policy changed, for 'good reason,' to allow the OPP to vet applicants. 

"So really now the only big question is who gets a job offer which we're anticipating something along that line in the next couple of days," said Gordon. "Nobody knows whether they made the cut."

"One would assume our members would be entitled to two weeks notice if they weren't getting a job," he said adding that two weeks notice would mean today.

There are nearly 40 members in the Midland Police service, including 24 uniform officers. 

Not everyone chose to apply to the OPP, Gordon said.

"We don't know the final number. We've been guesstimating that around 75 per cent of our total work force will make a transition to the OPP.  And the 25 per cent that don't is either because they didn't apply or they didn't make the cut."

The union VP says the severance issue is a contentious one that is going to binding arbitration.

All employees are entitled to severance, according to the union, which worries that the arbitration process could delay pay outs until May or June.

Gordon says the town interprets the collective agreement as paying severance to only the employees who don't join the OPP.

BarrieToday asked Mayor McKay if all police officers and staff will receive severance from the town. 

The Mayor replied, "All police officers will receive severance from the Town in accordance with their employment agreements."

Gordon, a 19-year veteran of Midland Police, is not applying to the OPP, choosing instead to pursue other opportunities. 

He still lives in Midland but won't be policing his community anymore as of Feb. 8 – his last day of work. 

"It's bittersweet. I'm going to miss this place. I've been here for 19 years. I'll miss the people," he said. 

Officers who are hired by the OPP will have a month of training before they start patrolling their town in a new uniform.