At least 15 police officers in Ontario earned more than $100,000 each in 2016 while sitting at home for most or all of the year, suspended over criminal charges yet collecting their full pay, an exclusive CBC Toronto analysis reveals.
Their salaries are revealed on Ontario's 2016 Sunshine List of top public sector earners.
Ontario is the only province in Canada where suspended police officers must be paid until and unless they are sentenced to serve time. The Liberal government is currently reconsidering that law as part of a sweeping review of policing in the province.
All four Toronto Police officers charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for allegedly planting heroin on a suspect's dashboard made the 2016 Sunshine List, even though they were suspended in January last year.
- Const. Michael Taylor: $109,148
- Det. Const. Benjamin Elliot: $103,810
- Det. Const. Fraser Douglas: $103,561
- Const. Jeffrey Tout: $101,174
Two other suspended Toronto Police Service members are on the Sunshine List:
- Sgt. Christopher Heard: $119,921 (suspended in May 2016, charged with sexual assault, accused of sexually assaulting a woman in his cruiser).
- Sgt. Robert Goudie: $116,524 (suspended in November 2015, charged with assault in connection with an altercation in a Scarborough parking lot that sent a man to hospital).
Two Ottawa police officers suspended in 2016 appear on the Sunshine List:
- Const. Peter Dawson: $102,330 (suspended in February 2016 over allegations of falsely issuing traffic warnings).
- Const. Christian Nungisa: $102,462 (suspended in May 2016 and later charged with unsafe storage of a firearm). He was also charged with impaired driving in February of this year.
CBC Toronto also asked the province's three other largest police forces, the Ontario Provincial Police, Peel Regional Police and York Regional Police to provide the names and ranks of their officers currently suspended with pay.
The OPP declined to provide a list of its suspended officers and said a Freedom of Information request would be necessary to release the names.
However, by examining information in news reports and searching the Sunshine List, CBC Toronto determined that at least five OPP officers spent all of 2016 on suspension yet earned more than $100,000.
All three members of the OPP Association union executive who were suspended in March 2015 over allegations of fraud and money laundering appear on the Sunshine List for 2016:
- Det.-Sgt. James Christie: $121,795
- Const. Karl Walsh: $106,474
- Const. Martin Bain $106,440
As well, OPP Brockville detachment Const. George Duke, charged with theft over $5,000 and suspended in November 2015, earned $107,857 in 2016, according to the Sunshine List.
OPP Alexandria detachment Const. Luanne MacDonald was suspended in July 2014 over allegations she secretly filmed a naked female prisoner while on duty and then shared the recording. She was paid $100,626 in 2016. She pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice this January and resigned from the force last month.
Other police forces with suspended officers on the Sunshine List include:
- Peel Regional Police Const. Adam Cate has been suspended since 2013, charged with sexual assault over an off-duty incident. He earned $100,486 in 2016.
- Chatham-Kent Police Sgt. Robert Mugridge has been suspended for more than two years, but was still paid $110,809 in 2016. He pleaded guilty in February to 50 counts of discreditable conduct.
In total, 62 officers on the province's five largest police forces are currently suspended with pay.
The issue of suspending police officers with pay has been under "serious discussion" for the past year, said Marie-France Lalonde, minister for community safety and correctional services.
"We have not made any final decision, but certainly this is something that, as we move forward on our strategy for a safer Ontario, it will be part of the modernizing," Lalonde said in an interview with CBC News at Queen's Park on Monday. "I think we are coming around to think that we need to do something and to ensure that we find the right solution."
Lalonde is promising to unveil her strategy for reforms to policing by June.