New OPP billing model eyed
The Ontario government soon will be engaging communities to share its proposed new model for billing municipalities for OPP policing services, as well as get feedback on how this should be implemented.
“It’s really early in the process,” noted John McTaggart, chair of the local Police Services Board.
“Something that I know Supt. Philbin and senior OPP management are looking at all the time is the model for contracts,” McTaggart said.
“But as far as anything new, until we go to the information session, we won’t know anything.”
Mayor Roy Avis, who also sits on the Police Services Board, likewise said it’s too early to comment.
He did note a dedicated Association of Municipalities of Ontario committee is looking at it.
The province has said the proposed new model will:
•be based on the principles of fairness and transparency that municipal leaders have said are most important to them;
•provide municipalities with important data to help tailor crime prevention strategies in their communities; and
•reflect the Auditor General’s recommendation to create a simpler billing model that gives municipalities more control over policing costs.
“We listened to the needs of our municipal partners and we are working together to support community safety, including police service delivery that is fiscally-responsible, transparent, and sustainable for the people of Ontario,” Community Safety and Correctional Services minister Madeleine Meilleur stated in a press release last week.
“We will also be seeking input on the most appropriate way to phase in a new billing model to ensure municipalities have the time to plan for implementation,” she added.
“The OPP is absolutely committed to working with the municipalities we police to provide high-quality service in the most cost-effective way possible,” stressed OPP Commissioner Chris Lewis.
“Over the coming months, we will be engaging our municipal partners to give them the opportunity to provide feedback so we can all move forward constructively as we do our best to keep policing costs sustainable,” he noted.
In the meantime, the OPP is deferring contract renewal discussions with municipalities while it works with the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services on a new billing model for municipal policing services.
This shouldn’t affect the local OPP, however, as their most recent contract, which was struck in 2011, is effective through 2016.
But municipalities whose contracts expire before Jan. 1, 2015 will have two options:
•amend their current contract to continue until the new billing model is ready (Section 10 of the Police Service Act); or
•let their contract expire and be policed by the OPP on a non-contract basis (Section 5.1 of the Police Service Act) until the new billing model is launched.
“No matter what option affected communities choose, there will be no discernible change in service,” Lewis pledged.
“The OPP looks forward to working with all its municipal partners, and we ask that they be patient during the transition period to the new billing model,” he said.