Judge rejects police union president's lawsuit against former chief

An Ottawa judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the head of the city's police union, who claimed the force's former chief barred him from police buildings in an attempt to sabotage his reputation.

Skof, who remains at the helm of the Ottawa Police Association, filed the $500,000 claim against Charles Bordeleau last March. It was the culmination of a bitter public dispute between the two men.

Two months earlier, Ontario Provincial Police had charged Skof with breach of trust and obstruction of justice over an unverified recording in which he's heard discussing alleged illegal activity involving Coun. Eli El-Chantiry, the chair of the city's police services board. 

Bordeleau suspended Skof from the force, but he refused to step down from the union and denied having had anything to do with the matter.


No jurisdiction, court rules

Bordeleau and the police board argued the dispute fell within the collective agreement and the Police Services Act, the legislation that governs police officers in Ontario. 

Skof's lawyers argued his client wasn't subject to the conditions in the collective agreement because he was on leave to head the police union. 

In his written dismissal of the lawsuit on Dec. 20, 2019,  Superior Court Justice Marc Labrosse said Skof remained a police employee. 

"In considering all the documents that acknowledge the secondment of an officer to the OPA, it is clear that a person continues to be a police officer for the purposes of the (Police Services Act) and specifically that he continues to be an employee as defined in the collective agreement," Labrosse wrote. "The Superior Court does not have jurisdiction over the dispute and it is not for this court to determine the proper venue." 

Ottawa's new police chief, Peter Sloly, lifted Skof's suspension earlier this month, but Skof still faces criminal charges in the matter.