The Toronto Police Association claims to defend all its members fairly

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The Toronto Police Association ensures that it defends all of its members fairly

The organization that defends police department officers face a $30 million lawsuit.

Officer Heather McWilliam of the Toronto Police Department.

Constable Heather McWilliam accuses the Toronto Police Association (TPA) of siding with her superiors when she alleged in court that she was humiliated during years, that she had been sexually harassed at work and that she had been assaulted.

The Toronto Police Association confirms that it is indeed the subject of a complaint by Constable Heather McWilliam.

The organization acts like a union and negotiates, among other things, the collective agreements of the city's police officers.

According to the APT, the police officer accuses him for refusing to represent and defend her against her superiors through the grievance or court complaint process.

Ms. McWilliam filed her $30 million lawsuit with the Ontario Police Arbitration Board for punitive damages, among other things.

< p class="e-p">The Toronto Police Association says its lawyers have not yet submitted their defense brief to the Commission.

It is not yet known what position the Toronto Police Association intends to take when the case is heard in an undetermined date.

In an email, its spokesperson, Meaghan Gray, nevertheless claims that the association has represented thousands of members in all kinds of complaints and has only received six relating to the duty of fair representation such as that of McWilliam, but that none of them were conclusive.

She clarified that three of the six complaints relate to allegations of discrimination based on sex or gender.

All of our members deserve to come to work without being worried about anything and to be free from any form of harassment or discrimination, she writes.

We have a range of procedures that guarantee all our members the right to be fairly represented and to benefit from their rights set out in their collective agreements, she continues.

The APT declined to comment further, as the dispute is now before the administrative tribunal.

Officer Heather McWilliam won a first round in 2020 before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario against four of his superiors and the Toronto Police Services Board.

Sergeant Angelo Costa is however the only one of the four individuals that the plaintiff had named as the individual defendant in this case. He is now retired.

In her June 29, 2020 decision, Tribunal Adjudicator Jo-Anne Pickel ruled that Constable McWilliam endured a poisoned work environment and experienced sexual harassment, including including a forced kiss.

The Tribunal had ordered the Police Services Board to pay him $85,000 as compensation for injury to dignity and respect following breaches of the Ontario Human Rights Code.

Sergeant Costa was forced to pay compensation in the order of $10,000 to Ms. McWilliam.

The Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario is located in this building in downtown Toronto.

< p class="e-p">In this case, Sergeant Costa was represented before the Tribunal by his association, so he did not have to pay legal fees, unlike Ms. McWilliam.

< p class="e-p">The facts for which the police officer accused her occurred from 2008 to 2014. The 39-year-old woman has been on sick leave since 2014 for post-traumatic stress disorder.

At the time, she explained that her four superiors had made sexual comments to her about her physique, that they had exchanged photos of her in a bikini from her Facebook page and that x27;they had spied on her through surveillance cameras at the gymnasium of their police station.

Ms McWilliam alleged that one of x27;they assaulted her in 2009. She alleged that one of the four respondents offered her a threesome two years later, an offer she declined.

< p class="e-p">The policewoman has always said that she was not entitled to any advancement within her service, because she had refused the sexual advances of the four men.

The plaintiff's current attorney, Gary Bennett, did not respond to our numerous interview requests.

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