Ontario’s integrity commissioner says Premier Doug Ford did not break the rules that govern legislators when one of his close friends was hired as the province’s top cop last fall.
J. David Wake released his report on Wednesday — two weeks after Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner removed himself from consideration as the OPP’s next commissioner amid an outcry from critics.
The integrity commissioner interviewed over 20 witnesses in his investigation, including former Deputy OPP Commissioner Brad Blair, Deputy Minister of Community and Correctional Services Mario Di Tommaso, Ford and Dean French, Ford’s chief of staff.
Wake’s 100-page report found that, “Premier Ford did not breach any of the sections of the Act” and “stayed at arm’s length from the recruitment process, but that the process was flawed.”
WATCH: Premier Doug Ford standing by Ron Taverner appointment (December 2018)
One of those flaws Wake said is that “at present not only is there no process set out in legislation for the appointment of an OPP Commissioner, but the appointment process has been inconsistent and made up, usually with some degree of urgency, on the fly.”
Wake also wrote, “For a position of this importance and given the sensitivity of the relationship between the government and the police in general, and the OPP Commissioner in particular, there ought to be an established appointment process in place which is independent, transparent and readily activated with predetermined criteria and membership on the selection committee.”
Wake encouraged the government to establish such a process “before the next appointment of an OPP Commissioner is required.”
Ford has maintained throughout that he did nothing wrong and has accused the opposition of politicizing the hiring process.
On Wednesday, at a press conference, Ford said he and his government are “vindicated” by the report.
Ford said it’s now clear that any allegations to the contrary are baseless and “totally political.”
—With files from The Canadian Press