The Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPP Association) came into existence March 3, 1954. Our purpose was and is to represent the interests of those police officers having non-commissioned rank within the Ontario Provincial Police. As explained by former OPP Association President Edward J. Wild in a book commemorating the Association's silver anniversary, "Like all employee organizations, our roots began in the minds of a few members, and our growth and prosperity are a direct result of the foresight of those individuals."
When Wild spoke of growth he was describing not only the first 25 years but the next 25 years as well. In 1954, the OPP had a total strength of 1,000 men. Just over half of those (540) became members of the OPP Association. Each made an average wage of $3,000 per year. On January 3, 2002 the Association assumed the role of representation of the civilian members employed by the Ontario Provincial Police.
Today, our membership is made up of 6,106 police officers and 2,985 civilians employed by the Ontario Provincial Police, as well as 3,663 retirees and 898 surviving family members.
On a daily basis, a plethora of issues arise from the 12,000+ OPP Association members concerning such things as claims, salaries, benefits, pensions, legal issues and other labour relations issues. Each issue can be complex and overwhelming, however the Association employs thirteen support staff and eleven executive staff members who deal with these wide-ranging topics on a daily basis.
Over the years, although many changes have taken place within the Association, the primary objective remains constant: the betterment of working conditions, along with salary and benefits, for its members.
A unique and co-operative relationship is maintained between the OPP and the OPP Association. We believes that removing normal adversarial positions from the negotiating process sets the groundwork for many achievements reached today and into the future. This includes better wages, improved working conditions, and advanced health and safety programs, along with elevating the standards and upholding the honour of the OPP. Educational and transitional programs have been introduced to train and develop members relating to benefits, grievances, life skills, presentation and communications.
Many of our members have become proficient in these skills as a result of OPP Association developed programs such as the Police Association Certified Executive Program (PACE), Helpful Information Needed to Succeed (HINTS) and Franklin Covey’s 7 Helpful Habits for Law Enforcement.
The OPP Association strives to provide a level of service to our members that is exceptional and the best in the country. This accomplishment has not been gained without the assistance of the membership who, when asked, never fail to supply direct input in issues that are taken to numerous provincial committees and boards. The OPP Association has representation at pension, life insurance, bursary, benefits, conduct, legislation, clothing and equipment, transport, telecommunication and safety committees.
"It is never acceptable for any organization to rest on past achievement," Wild is recorded as saying, and true even today, we continually adapt to meet new challenges to better our member services.