Charges of falsifying provincial offence tickets and obstructing justice in a practice that allowed enforcement officers to skip out on work.
The TTC transit enforcement unit is 40 people strong—or was until now, at least. Eight of those enforcement officers have been dismissed, and five charged, in connection with an investigation that revealed that hundreds of provincial offence tickets, such as tickets for panhandling on the TTC, were falsely issued. Because of the unit’s small size, all of those dismissed and charged would have known each other, said TTC spokesperson Brad Ross in a press conference today, but it’s not clear whether they were working together in a systematic way.
Essentially, it was a way of getting out of work: the officers would show up in uniform, but then issue false tickets at locations where they weren’t actually present, instead of actually patrolling.
The TTC began investigating this matter in September, after a pattern of “irregularities in the tickets” and in the behaviour of the individuals involved emerged.
“I share CEO Andy Byford’s profound disappointment that our staff were not coming to work and in covering for their absences have been alleged to issue false provincial offences tickets,” TTC chair Karen Stintz said. “Any tickets that were issued inappropriately will be cancelled.” The TTC will also be examining its internal processes to try to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.
Stintz’s greatest concern, she said, is that this will compromise the public’s trust in the TTC just as it’s been trying to restore it over the past year or so. “To have this type of action happen is disappointing for the entire organization,” she said, “and really a slap in the face to the employees who go in to work every day.”
The recipients likely don’t even know these tickets exist, since those tickets were never actually distributed to the purported offenders in person and they have no mailing address at which to receive court notices. They are real people, however—the TTC staff in question didn’t make up names. Ross explained that the ticket recipients were people who are known to TTC staff, such as regular panhandlers (whom the TTC does not ordinarily ticket).
Of the eight TTC staff involved, five face charges of obstructing justice and fabricating evidence. The TTC found evidence of “misconduct” with the remaining three, but the police found no evidence of criminal wrongdoing.