Premier Doug Ford is facing criticism for the appointment of his friend, Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner, as the next commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police.
Ford has said he had “zero influence”in the appointment. But he admitted earlier this week he did not recuse himself from cabinet when Taverner, 72, was approved as commissioner.
Questions have been raised about why the police superintendent was chosen for the position, given that he has never headed a police force nor held a high-ranking position with the OPP.
Earlier this week iPolitics revealed that the government quietly modified the posting for the position, a move that helped Taverner meet the criteria for the job, despite the fact his position — superintendent — fell two ranks below the initial threshold.
The posting had called for applicants to hold, at minimum, a rank of deputy chief or assistant commissioner.
Ron Taverner, the next commissioner
Taverner has been a police officer in the Toronto force since 1967. He has worked in various divisions and units, including intelligence, organized crime enforcement, outlaw motorcycle gangs and community policing.
His current rank of superintendent is three below that of chief (although one of those ranks — staff superintendent — is being phased out).
As unit commander of 12, 23 and 31 Divisions, he is responsible for more than 700 uniformed officers and civilian staff.
The official announcement of his appointment as incoming OPP commissioner from the Ontario Government does not say whether Taverner holds a university degree or any other certifications.
Vince Hawkes, commissioner from 2014 to 2018
Hawkes joined the OPP as a constable in 1984. He has a Bachelor of Science from the University of Ottawa and is a graduate of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto.
His roles within the OPP included general law enforcement, traffic, crime and the technical identification services unit. He spent 11 years as a forensic identification officer and was the first member of the OPP to be certified as a bloodstain pattern analyst.
Hawkes was appointed deputy commissioner in 2006, serving as provincial commander of investigations and organized crime. In 2010 he became deputy commissioner for field operations, making him responsible for five OPP regions, as well as what was then known as the Aboriginal Policing Bureau — in charge of about 4,500 personnel.
Chris Lewis, commissioner from 2010 to 2014
Lewis joined the OPP as a constable in 1978 and served as commander of the emergency management bureau, the Eastern region, information technologies bureau and investigation bureau.
He was seconded to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police from 1993 to 1994, studied Aboriginal government and law at Athabasca University, applied management at Northwood University and completed the FBI National Academy Program.
Before his appointment Lewis served as deputy commissioner of field operations, where he was responsible for thousands of personnel.
Julian Fantino, commissioner from 2006 to 2010
Fantino joined Toronto police in 1964 and served in the drug, intelligence and homicide squads.
He left to serve as the chief of police in London, Ont., and, later, York Region before returning as chief of Toronto police from 2000 to 2005.
At time of Fantino’s appointment to head the OPP, he was serving as the province’s emergency management commissioner, a role created in 2004 to ensure a co-ordinated response to emergency situations.
Gwen Boniface, commissioner from 1998 to 2006
Boniface joined the OPP as a constable in 1977. She held a number of positions, including superintendent in the First Nations and contract policing branch, and chief superintendent in the organizational development bureau.
Boniface had a bachelor of arts degree from York University and took a leave from the OPP to earn a bachelor of laws degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in 1988.
At the time of her appointment, she was a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and an adjunct law professor at the University of Western Ontario.
Her last post before being named commissioner was chief superintendent, and regional commander of the Western Ontario branches, a rank below deputy commissioner.
Sources: Toronto Star files, The Canadian Press, Government of Ontario, Ontario Provincial Police, iPolitics
May Warren is a breaking news reporter based in Toronto. Follow her on Twitter: @maywarren11