Discriminatory new policies are jeopardizing a safe return-to-work for Ottawa first responders on leave for operational injuries

January 17, 2023

A group of Ottawa police officers, dispatchers and other first responders are fighting for the reversal of new policies significantly reducing their pay while on leave for illness or injuries sustained in the course of their duties.

Justin W. Anisman, founding lawyer at Anisman Law, has filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario on behalf of 23 members of the Ottawa Police Association (OPA) seeking remedies for discrimination by the Ottawa Police Services Board (OPSB) and the Ottawa Police Service (OPS) on the basis of disability contrary to section 5 of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Discriminatory compensation changes implemented by the OPSB and OPS retroactive to January 2022 have left many first responders with thousands of dollars less from their paycheques while on leave, and their gross pay drastically reduced — by more than 50% in some cases.

As a result of these short-sighted policies developed under former OPSB and OPS leadership, impacted first responders have been facing financial stress while on leave from work, placing them under extraordinary pressure to return to their duties while still recovering from operational injuries, before a return-to-work is healthy and safe. Many have been struggling to put food on the table for their children and make rent or mortgage payments. The compensation changes will also have long-term adverse consequences on their finances — they will receive significantly less money from the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP), which, in some cases, will amount to thousands of dollars less per year than first responders not on leave for occupational injuries.

Anisman has provided the following statement on the discrimination outlined in the HRTO application: “The new policies have taken a significant financial, emotional, and mental toll on the applicants and their families. Reducing their pay while on leave is not only a misguided and counterproductive way to support their recovery, it also jeopardizes their ability to return to work only when they can safely do so.”


About Justin W. Anisman & Anisman Law

Justin W. Anisman’s civil litigation practice encompasses complex litigation files with an emphasis on commercial and contractual disputes and employment law matters for both employees and employers. He has extensive experience in the day-to-day handling of a large volume litigation practice and has represented clients before all levels of Ontario Courts, including the Superior Court of Justice, the Provincial Court of Justice and the Ontario Court of Appeal, as well as the Supreme Court of Canada.

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Justin W. Anisman

Anisman Law

Justin W. Anisman is an Employment Lawyer and principal of Anisman Law. Justin advises both companies and individuals in all aspects of employment law including wrongful dismissal, human rights and discrimination.

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