|Thousands of Toronto Police rally over labour dispute
|November 6, 2005
Thousands of Toronto police officers and their supporters held a noon-hour rally at City Hall on Wednesday, in protest over stalled
contract negotiations. The police are legally forbidden to strike, but have been conducting a work-to-rule campaign for about three
weeks. Some members have cut back on patrols, while others have worn some civilian clothing along with their uniforms. Police also
refused to write speeding tickets, instead handing out union literature during traffic stops.
The Toronto Police Association and the Toronto Police Services Board have been deadlocked for weeks in negotiations. One of the
biggest disputes is over whether police in Canada's largest city should be the highest paid in the country. The union says a board offer
that includes pay increases also contains clawbacks that would ultimately result in salary cuts for its members.
An estimated 2,000 officers, many wearing Toronto Police Association toques and turtlenecks, gathered late Wednesday morning at
Queen's Quay before walking up Bay Street and across to Nathan Phillips Square for the lunch-hour rally.
While most of the demonstrators were in street clothes, some officers walked the route in uniform – even though police Chief Bill Blair
had forbidden them from doing so. Firefighters and officers from other forces, as well as private citizens, came out to show their support.
Officers have been without a contract since their last three-year deal expired on December 31, 2004. After intense negotiations on the
weekend failed to make progress, the board said binding arbitration might be needed.