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London’s police services board and association reach new contract agreement

The side of a London police cruiser, September 6, 2017. (Matthew Trevithick/AM980).
The side of a London police cruiser, September 6, 2017. (Matthew Trevithick/AM980). Matthew Trevithick / 980 CFPL

The London Police Association (LPA) and London Police Services Board (LPSB) have reached a new contract agreement, retroactive to January and running until the end of 2022.

The agreement covers the London Police Association’s 609 sworn and 221 civilian members and focuses on increasing mental health supports in addition to enhancing retirement benefits and regular salary increases.

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A first-class constable’s salary will grow from $98,333 to $107,009 by July 1 of 2022 thanks to biannual increases ranging between 1 and 1.2 per cent.

In regards to employee health and wellness, the new agreement includes measures to enhance mental health coverage, dental coverage, and benefits for retirees, which LPA executive director Rick Robson said had been stagnant since roughly 2005.

“It was fortunate that we both came in with the mental health piece as a priority,” Robson told 980 CFPL.

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“There’s enough data out there to demonstrate the rates of occupational stress injuries, more specifically PTSD, amongst first responders in addition to the rates of suicide among first responders, which are at epidemic levels. I think there’s a real recognition amongst employers, associations and the public in general that something absolutely needs to be done.”

However, Robson added that the new contract didn’t solve the mental health piece “overnight” and that more needs to be done to combat stigma in society as a whole and to address stressors in the workplace, noting they have to make sure they’re not creating more stress on top of what the job already entails.

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Measures to improve operational effectiveness include the formation of committees to work on employment schedules “outside of the negotiations process,” enhancing collaboration on labour issues, and enhancing the language in the working agreements so they are “clear, concise and consistent.”

Robson also addressed the retroactive nature of the contract, saying the process was delayed because of the municipal election, which prompted a reset of the London Police Services Board.