Cost of Policing

The OPS recognizes the community’s expectation that an organization should deliver value for money. The net expenditures for 2018 are presented in the table below and highlight a deficit of $6.2 million. The deficit was primarily due to the background check and Collision Reporting Centres (CRC) revenue shortfalls, as well as pressures from overtime and Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) expenses, which were partially offset by the implementation of spending reductions and a surplus in the claims and settlements account.

Cost of Policing graphic


For more information on the OPS budget, please visit or to access the 2018 Annual Financial Report please visit

 Cost of Policing chart

Background Check Revenue

As part of the 2017 and 2018 budgets, a revenue increase of $2.4 million was phased-in to reflect a full cost recovery or user pay approach for background checks. The proposal will fully recover all costs through an estimated annual revenue increase of $2.4 million.  However, a January 1, 2019 implementation date means that no additional revenue will be realized in 2018 resulting in a $2.4 million in-year shortfall in revenue.

An additional pressure of $0.3 million is due to the lost revenue of express surcharges that used to be paid on the majority of background reports purchased prior to the launch of the on-line service.  This brings the total pressure to $2.7 million.

Overtime costs

Overtime costs created a pressure of $2.1 million in 2018.  The main drivers are: staffing shortages in the Communications Center and Front Desk sections; overtime related to the Tornados; and, the increased magnitude of the overtime costs for Canada Day. 

Front Desk Services is causing the largest overtime pressure and the civilianization of this function in October has helped to reduce this pressure. The Communications Center is also experiencing significant overtime pressures due to staffing shortages. A hiring plan has been implemented and is expected to address the overtime use.  Canada Day cost more than planned due to the enhanced security posture and the accompanying planning costs of that enhanced security posture.


The compensation – WSIB area of the budget created a pressure of $1.8 million in 2018.   This pressure is comprised of costs related to members off work for extended periods due to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) injuries that need to be replaced. This cost totalled $1.1 million in 2018.  Additional pressures in relation to the administration and medical costs of WSIB positions totalled $0.7 million.  The increase in WSIB claims is mainly a result of new presumptive legislation allowing Operational Stress Injury (OSI) claims, along with an increase in the volume of claims and lost time. Also retroactive adjustments are being processed as individuals are moved from long term disability insurance (LTDI) to WSIB. A provision has been included in the 2019 budget to address the compensation portion as it relates to the positions on WSIB.

Revenue from Collisions Reporting Centres (CRC) and False Alarms

Revenue from the sale of collision reports was $0.8 million lower than budget in 2018.  Revenue from attending false alarms contributed another $0.2 million to the deficit. For collision reports there are two drivers of the budget shortfall: 1) the decline in the number of vehicles involved in collisions has dropped by approximately 10% since 2015; and 2) decline in the sales rate for collision reports.  The CRC model was developed assuming that reports from 55% of collisions would be sold. For 2016, the actual figure was closer to 15% and in 2017, this number dropped to 8%.  This change reflects the trend in the insurance industry to cut costs, a strategy which includes not purchasing collision reports.

Fleet Replacement

In 2017, staff initiated a one-time deferral of the planned replacement of approximately 60 fleet vehicles. This enabled the Service to transfer $2.4 million from the Fleet Replacement Reserve to support the Operating Budget. In 2018 a transfer of $0.6 million was approved to help finance the Phase 1 purchase of conducted energy weapons (CEWs), resulting in a deferral of roughly of 15 vehicles. The deferral plan was managed by extending the service life of these assets through the rotation of low and high mileage vehicles.  The deferral of replacement has caused vehicle maintenance costs to rise by $0.4 million in 2018. In the 2019 budget, one of the strategies to reduce future deficits was to increase the contributions for fleet sustainment, which will help to reduce vehicle maintenance costs in the future.

Discretionary Spending Freeze

A discretionary spending freeze order was issued by the Chief in July 2018. It required spending be focused on goods and services that support the health and safety of members and critical operations and infrastructure.  This action provided a savings of $1.1 million.

Claims, Settlements, Indemnification & Legal Fees

Staff realized a savings of $0.7 million in this area, with $0.6 million coming from claims settlements and $0.1 million savings in legal fees.  The City is self-insured for claims up to $3.0 million.  Currently, there are over 110 outstanding claims.  As settlements occur, they are approved by the Board and paid.  The 2018 experience was lower than it has been the last several years.

Grant Funding Partnerships

In 2018, OPS secured more than $12 million through government partnership. These are outlined in the table below.

Provincial Strategy for Protecting Children from Sexual Abuse and Exploitation on the Internet

Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere (RIDE)

Funding from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services for specialized investigative teams to investigate cases of online child-luring and identify their victims.

Annual funding from the Ministry of Community and Correctional Services to conduct year-round RIDE spot checks and enhance measures to counter impaired driving, such as additional enforcement on roadways, waterways and trails.

MERIT Countering Violent Extremism (MERIT CVE)

Provincial Electronic Surveillance Equipment Program (PESEDP)

Mitigates acute harm related to CVE (countering violent extremism) by focusing holistically on several interdependent strategies within a continuum of community safety.

PESEDP funds activities directed at organized and serious crime, and initiatives focused on proceeds of crime.

Youth in Policing Initiative (YIPI)

Policing Effectiveness and Modernization (PEM)

Funding from the Ministry of Children and Youth Services that provides high-school students ages 15 to 18 with summer and winter employment opportunities within the Ottawa Police Service. These youth enhance police community relations while developing job skills that could lead to a career in policing.

Funding from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services that supports the Strategy for a Safer Ontario. Three initiatives were supported;
- Human Trafficking
- Mental Health
- Strategic Operations Centre

Court Security Prisoner Transport (CSPT)

Federal Support for Extraordinary Policing Costs in the Nation’s Capital

This seven-year provincial subsidy from the Ontario Municipality Partnership Fund (OMPF) offsets municipal expenditures for providing security at provincial courts and for transporting prisoners.

Since 2010, the Federal Government has provided the City of Ottawa with compensation in the amount of $2 million a year, to cover the costs associated with providing extraordinary policing services in the nation’s capital that are not otherwise covered by a cost-recovery agreements tied to specific events.

POC FLP – HealthIM – Improving Collaborative Mental Health Crisis Response Through Technology

POC -  High Risk Neighbourhoods

Funding to innovate the ways to improve the response to individuals in crisis with mental health issues.

Focusing on proactive efforts in higher investment neighbourhoods, emphasizing collaboration.  Implantation of a program that will build capacity of community problem solving in a way that supports the first 2  Formalized Community Networks.

Civil Remedies Grant - Rapid Drug Identification & Community Alert Initiative

Ontario Strategy to end Human Trafficking

To purchase an IONSCAN - a portable detector that can identify a variety of drugs - to contemporaneously identify dangerous opioids such as Fentanyl and its analogues, thus reducing injury to the community and assisting with investigations regarding profit-motivated unlawful activity.

Ontario’s Strategy to End Human Trafficking aims to assist victims of human trafficking and exploitation, and build justice system capacity.  Grant funding is applied towards the salary costs associated with investigations conducted by OPS human trafficking officers. 

Department of Justice – Victims Fund HT


The Department of Justice administers the Victims Fund, which allows provinces and territories and non-governmental organizations to request funding to enhance victim services. It also provides financial assistance to victims of human trafficking in certain circumstances.   Grant funding was applied towards the OPS’ “Service Enhancements for Victims of Human Trafficking” initiative which included having a dedicated HT victim support specialist on staff.


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