Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)

September 17, 2007 13:47 ET

Union Alleges Government Cover-Up in 1982 Dismissal of Correctional Officers

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 17, 2007) - Six correctional officers who were dismissed in 1982 after an incident of prisoner abuse will appear at the Ontario Labour Relations Board (OLRB) tomorrow claiming Ministry of Corrections had evidence that would have exonerated them.

The six employees, represented by the Ontario Public Service Employees Union, were all terminated in connection with a December 1982 incident of prisoner abuse at the Toronto East Detention Centre. Some of the employees were also the subject of a criminal prosecution.

After years of litigation, all were found to be blameless in the incident. The employees now allege that the Ministry was in possession of evidence from the very outset of the investigation that conclusively established their innocence.

"We have learned that the Ministry was completely aware from the start that all of the allegations against us were a sham, and they covered that up to protect their managers," says spokesperson Robert Gordon, one of the employees falsely accused of prisoner abuse. "The impact on our lives since that time has been impossible to calculate." The employees' careers, and their relationships with family and friends have been adversely affected, in some cases tragically, Mr. Gordon added, while some of the managers involved in the case have gone on to serve in senior positions in the Ministry.

OPSEU says that in the summer of 2005, Mr. Gordon approached senior Ministry officials with the fact that previously unrevealed evidence was available for them to review. With the OPSEU's assistance, the employees were told that a Ministry investigation would be initiated. However, no serious investigation took place.

"This government cannot just 'wait the union out'," said OPSEU President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. "An injustice is an injustice, whether it occurred in 2007 or whether it occurred in 1982. We are extremely disappointed that the government refuses to set the record straight for these members."

Contact Information

  • Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Roman Stoykewych
    OPSEU General Counsel
    (416) 443-8888
    or
    Ontario Public Service Employees Union (OPSEU)
    Don Ford
    OPSEU Communications
    (416) 788-9104