TORONTO – Ontario’s integrity commissioner has found Premier Doug Ford did not break any rules when one of his close friends was hired as the province’s top cop last fall, but the recruitment process itself was flawed.
In a report issued Wednesday, J. David Wake said Ford stayed at arm’s length from the process that resulted in Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner being appointed head of the Ontario Provincial Police.
“Although I have concerns about the process that led to the recommendation of the final selection panel, I am unable to find on the evidence that the allegations against Premier Ford under … the Act have been proved,” Wake wrote.
Taverner, 72, withdrew his name from consideration for the job earlier this month, citing the controversy around his appointment and the need to protect the integrity of front-line OPP officers.
His appointment last fall had set off accusations of political interference in the hiring process. Wake’s investigation was launched after complaints from opposition politicians over the appointment.
Taverner initially did not meet the criteria listed for the position and the government admitted it lowered the requirements to attract a wider range of candidates.
Ford’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Wake’s report. The premier has maintained throughout that he did nothing wrong and accused the opposition of politicizing the hiring process.
Wake said that given the sensitivity of the relationship between the government and the police, an independent process to hire the OPP commissioner must be created.
“There ought to be an established appointment process in place which is independent, transparent and readily activated with predetermined criteria and membership on the selection committee,” Wake said.
“I would encourage the government and all members of the legislature to consider the establishment of such a process and have it in place before the next appointment is required.”
Days after Taverner withdrew from the role, the government named Thomas Carrique, a deputy chief for York Regional Police, as the next commissioner of the OPP.News from © Canadian Press Enterprises Inc. 2019