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2024 Winter Membership Meeting  

The Police Association of Ontario’s annual Winter Membership Meeting in Hamilton brought together over 120 association leaders committed to advancing our members’ rights. Hosted by the Hamilton Police Association, the event took place at the Courtyard Marriott Hotel from January 23 to 24, 2024. We want to express our gratitude for HPA’s dedication and effort in organizing this conference.

The event started with an official welcome from President Jaimi Bannon, a performance of the Hamilton Police Choir, and remarks from the Hamilton Police Services Board Chair, Pat Mandy.  

PAO President Mark Baxter emceed the meeting and spoke about being inspired by our members’ tireless leadership they demonstrate daily within their workplaces: 

“Being an association leader is a thankless job, and everyone in this room constantly puts member wellness first and prioritizes advocacy for all members.” 

Ellie Bale from the Halton Regional Police Association, John Brooks from the Barrie Police Association and Rick Robson from the London Police Association engaged in a panel discussion about their collective bargaining updates after recently completing negotiations. We look forward to presenting some of their updates in a labour report next month.  

We heard from Chief Operating Officer Gavin Pokan and Vice President of Specialized Claims and Recovery Services Julie Thurlow from WSIB. As you know from the last PAO President monthly update, the PAO has met with WSIB executive staff, walking through the various pain points our members experience while navigating the WSIB process. Our members at the meeting continued to press WSIB on these concerns, and it was a good start to working together on finding solutions to some of our longstanding challenges.  

Dilnaz Garda, President of Canada Beyond the Blue, provided us with an update to the suicide memorial to properly memorialize members who have died by suicide in the policing sector. We also heard from President and Founder Dave McLennan from Boots on the Ground, who provided service updates.  

Lawrence Gridin, a practicing criminal and professional discipline lawyer at Gridin Advocates, talked about the implications of body worn videos, including some of their limitations concerning image distortions, and that they are not a precise replica of an officer’s perception, nor should they replace officer notes.

PAO President Mark Baxter and Policy and Research Counsel Michael Duffy provided an update on the Community Safety and Policing Act update, which is taking effect on April 1, 2024. The PAO will share resources from our CSPA and Employment Conference next month.  

Day one ended with our members breaking out into their zone meetings, where they had the opportunity to discuss issues happening within their zones.

On day two, HPA President Jaimi Bannon recounted her journey over the last few months, relentlessly advocating for her members’ mental health and well-being. Our member associations are always behind her, and she has the continuing support of the PAO.  

In a moving tribute, Kent Rice, President of the Windsor Police Association, said, “Jaimi is his role model, and as new president like himself, he looks up to her.” 

Scott Kraushar, President of the Niagara Region Police Association, provided the members with a majors meeting update, and Michael Gendron, Communications and Government Relations of the Canadian Police Association, delivered an update, focusing on Bill C-48 taking effect on January 4, 2024. He also confirmed several important dates and conferences, which are listed here

Our formal business session saw nominations for members at large to join various PAO committees, and President Mark Baxter provided updates to the membership.

We look forward to the next opportunity for our members to come together at the Employment Conference and CSPA Summit in February.

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