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Fair pay for TEOs keeps Ontario’s roads safer

Fair pay for TEOs keeps Ontario’s roads safer

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This flyer is part of the Lobbying Kit for TEOs.

Click here to download “Fair pay for TEOs keeps Ontario’s roads safer” as a PDF.

Every day on Ontario’s highways, Transportation Enforcement Officers (TEOs) keep us all safe. We work for the Ministry of Transportation (MTO) and are OPSEU/SEFPO members.

We are peace officers who inspect 90,000 commercial vehicles annually to make sure they’re mechanically safe, that their loads are secure, and that they are following the rules of the road. Our work can be dangerous – some of the individuals we pull over are wanted on warrants or have been flagged as violent.

We are experts in our field with extensive training. It takes a full year or more for a TEO to complete basic and specialized training and coaching. We also have to do yearly qualifications and refreshers in self-defence, use of force, and CVSA (commercial vehicle safety). Many of us are also licensed mechanics.

However, our compensation does not match the work we do. As a result, large numbers of TEOs are leaving the profession and MTO has been unable to replace them.

What we do at work:

  • Inspect commercial vehicles during roadside stops and at truck inspection stations
  • Keep school children safe by inspecting school buses
  • Pull over trucks for infractions and issue tickets and citations.
  • Oversee Motor Vehicle Inspection Stations and ensure mechanics who do safety certifications are in compliance with the program.
  • Handle special requests from police to inspect personal vehicles for illegal modifications
  • Enforce more than 20 regulations, federal and provincial laws, plus COVID-19 safety rules under the Reopening Ontario Act

TEOs are significantly underpaid.

TEOs get paid a lot less than most enforcement officers and inspectors in the OPS – up to $19,000 less, despite similar job duties.

For example, we have recently had commercial Drive Clean inspection duties transferred to us from much higher-paid environmental officers. We also work side-by-side with much higher-paid Ministry of Labour inspectors enforcing COVID-19 safety precautions under the Reopening Ontario Act.

As a result of this basic unfairness in our workplace, TEOs are very unhappy and many of us are leaving for better jobs – and the ministry hasn’t been able to replace us.

How unfair pay impacts road safety:

  • TEOs are leaving for higher-paying jobs, and the Ministry has been unable to fill their vacancies.
  • The Auditor General found in 2019 that the number of commercial vehicles inspected per year has dropped by 22% since 2014 as a direct result of unfilled TEO positions.
  • Since 2019, we’re down another 60 TEOs – there are only 170 active TEOs on the job now.

Fewer TEOs = fewer inspections. Fewer inspections = more dangerous vehicles on the road.

All MTO and the Treasury Board have to do is say “yes” to fair pay.

TEOs have put in formal requests for years to the Ministry of Transportation for reclassification and higher pay, in line with similar positions in the OPS.

MTO managers supported our request and sent it forward for approval to the Treasury Board. The Treasury Board has blocked it – their managers say they don’t have permission to approve it. TEOs are now stuck in the middle of this bureaucratic impasse between the managers of the two ministries.

The solution is simple: All the MTO and the Treasury Board have to do is say “yes” to fair pay for TEOs now.