The Ontario government announced on Thursday that it will spend $25 million to hire an additional 200 OPP officers.
The new front-line officers will fill vacancies in regions that are short-staffed, the province’s solicitor general Sylvia Jones said at a press conference at Orillia’s OPP headquarters.
“The new hiring initiative we are announcing today is part of the continued steps our government is taking to improve the OPP’s workplace culture and support OPP personnel,” Jones said.
“This important recruitment of 200 additional officers responds to one of the key recommendations of the OPP Independent Review Panel, which is to safeguard the health and wellness needs of the OPP workforce by addressing shortages in the workplace.”
The Ontario government says the hiring of new officers responds to recommendations that were made by the OPP Independent Review Panel in a report released in March. The panel was established to study workplace culture within the OPP and to examine how Ontario police respond to issues of mental health, occupational stress injuries and suicide among officers.
Jones said there were many factors that drove the decision to hire 200 more OPP officers — partly the OPP internal staff review, feedback that was received from current and retiring officers, and the need to respond to mental health concerns.
“Today’s announcement was the culmination of many of those decisions, and while the pandemic delayed the announcement somewhat, it certainly didn’t delay the planning and the preparation for those 200 new officers.”
Jones said officers will be stationed at specific detachments that are decided on by OPP Commissioner Thomas Carrique and his team, noting that northern Ontario has experienced “chronic under-staffing.”