By Cory Bilyea
After years of service to your company, winning awards and getting promoted within, you question your boss about something that you disagree with and you get fired. Aren’t there laws against this? No notice, no severance, just go.
You could apply to the labour board or to your union for assistance, whether that be trying to get your job back or getting a payment.
However, what if your boss is the Solicitor General of Ontario?
Brad Blair has been in police services since 1986, with over 30 years of dedicated service to the people of Ontario. Blair worked his way up to be able to apply for the top job, OPP deputy commissioner. He was awarded two service medals, Officer of the Order of Merit of the Police Forces and The Police Exemplary Service Medal, which “recognizes police officers who have served in an exemplary manner, characterized by good conduct, industry and efficiency,” according to the official website of the Governor-General of Canada.
So, after working hard to get where he was, Ontario Premier Doug Ford would have us believe Blair threw it all away over a job. CBC News reported, “The dispute between the premier and Blair grew out of the government’s move last November to name Toronto Police Supt. Ron Taverner as the OPP’s new commissioner.”
Or so it seems. Was it the job (which he undoubtedly was qualified for) or was it because he spoke publicly about the change in the rules, so that Ford’s buddy, Taverner, could secure the job that he was not originally qualified for? The legal reason for Blair being fired was because he “made a public appeal to Ontario’s ombudsman to investigate what he called ‘questions of political interference’ in Taverner’s appointment,” according to CBC News.
This, apparently, involved leaking sensitive information that threatened the security of the province. But wait, no that wasn’t it, maybe it was because Ford had ordered a $50,000 van to travel around the province in.
The legality of the firing seems muddy. Even NDP leader Andrea Horvath believes the firing was unwarranted, telling CBC News, “Blair was fired for speaking out against Taverner’s appointment.”
“It’s a chilling day in Ontario when a well-respected OPP deputy commissioner who dedicated his life to this province is fired for standing up for the integrity and independence of our provincial police,” Horwath said.
She added, “It was a brave thing for this person to do, to come forward, and it looks like that bravery has lost him his job.”
In a story by Global News, reporter Shawn Jeffords reported that Julian Falconer, Blair’s lawyer, said his “client never received notice of a complaint under the Police Services Act or any findings that he violated it, and alleged that the premier’s words would lead an average person to believe Blair is someone who breaks the law.”
Community Safety Minister Sylvia Jones said Blair was fired for a breach of his oath, which took place when he publicly called on the Ombudsman, an organization that “promotes fairness, accountability and transparency in the public sector by investigating public complaints and systemic issues within his jurisdiction,” to investigate “questions of political interference.”
She added, “He released confidential, private information for his own personal gain.”
I urge the province to open the inquiry, pay the man what he is owed, and allow him to restore his reputation and his career. The lawsuit Blair has started has brought this issue to the forefront again so let’s get on top of this now, while it’s back in the news. Find the truth, inform the people, right the wrongs and move on.