The Toronto Police Pensioners Association evolved from the creation of the Toronto Police Force. First established in 1835 - and slow, to say the least in granting any form of recognition to the men it employed - it took a long time before the powers-that-be in the world of politics came to their senses in the treatment of those they employed to enforce their laws.
Alas, even Sir Robert Peel with his “Nine Principles of Policing”- proclaimed over 150 years ago and still the guiding light of policing today - did nothing much for the man on the beat or his family. A policeman's lot was not a happy one and refusal to recognize their pay and working conditions led to the great strikes of 1918-1920 that spread to major cities in Canada and the US. The strikes continued for much longer than anyone dared to imagine causing one prominent politician to remark that “ … anarchy was about the land and bolshevism about to take over …” Troubling times for everyone, the unrest was eventually settled with the understanding that police officers needed someone to represent their interests. But they could not be unionized. Horrified at the thought that those they had hired to enforce their laws, upholders of the peace, common constables at law, independent agents of the crown, could make this a regular occurrence, a compromise was reached, they were allowed to form an Association if they gave up the right to strike.
While salaries and working conditions started to improve, pensions continued to take a back seat in any negotiations. As recently as 1946, anyone resigning from the Toronto Force - for any reason, regardless of age or years of service - did not receive their contributions back. It was not until 1987 and 1990, when several remaining officers who were still alive came forward to the Association for help, that their contributions with interest were finally refunded.
Pension at retirement was always an unknown factor, calculated on a base year and dependent on how far back the base year was when a member retired. A cost of living increase to members’ pensions was unheard of and was the cause of a civil action against the Police Association, the Board of Commissioners of Police and the Trustees of the Benefit Fund. The court action was instituted by two pensioners, Joe Thurston and Aubrey Potter, on behalf of all pensioners because 10% and 12% inflation every year had reduced their pensions to a mere pittance. The action was withdrawn in 1981 after the fund produced a surplus from stock market gains and high interest rates. From that point on, until 2004, pensioners in the five pre-OMERS pension plans received regular cost of living pension increases.
The Association has been serving the needs of retired members since 1933 when the active members of the former Toronto Police Pension Plan realized that need, and had the foresight to put in place a vehicle to look after the interests of pensioners on retirement. Since then, the Pensioners Association has played many active roles - not only looking after the interests of pensioners after retirement but also looking after the interests of active members prior to retirement.
Welcomed by management, Pensioners Association meetings were first held inside the confines of old # 6 station at Queen and Cowan, and moved later to the staff house adjacent to the then new police headquarters at 590 Jarvis Street. From there we moved to the 2nd floor of the Toronto Police Association at 180 Yorkland Boulevard, sharing our office with the Toronto Police Military Veterans Association. After the sale of 180 Yorkland Boulevard, the TPA, TPPA, Widows and Orphans, and Veterans Association all moved to leased premises on the 2nd floor of 2075 Kennedy Road in June 2014.
The TPPA website and email service was launched in 2012 and has proved to be a popular and valuable forum for communication with and from our members.
In January 2014, our membership voted to accept changes to the Constitution. These changes included the design of a new logo and name - Toronto Police Pensioners Association (TPPA). Another significant event in 2014 was the incorporation of the TPPA as a non-profit organization in June.
Your current TPPA Board of Directors has built on the foundations established by previous Boards and we believe the changes noted above represent significant advances for our organization going forward. We are committed to ensuring the TPPA is a relevant vital organization of which all our members – and our predecessors - can be proud.