Prior to 1969, separate and distinct police forces were established within the Niagara Region. Some of the municipal police forces had their own associations, with their own executive.
On the political front, local government reform was beginning as early as 1963 and the Mayo report was recommending that the Niagara area be regionalized. The Regional Municipality of Niagara Act 1968-69 Statutes of Ontario, was enacted and provided that the members of the police forces of all the area municipalities would bargain solely with the newly created Board of Commissioners of Police.
In 1969, the members of the municipal police forces banded together and created the Niagara Region Police Association. Its’ purpose was to act as a joint bargaining committee, representing all the former municipal police forces of the area.
One of the first challenges faced by the new organization was to co-ordinate all the wages and benefits. A review of the contract negotiated at that time shows that it was not an easy task.. First Class-Constables from Fort Erie, Grimsby, Town of Pelham, Port Colborne, Welland and St. Catharines were making anywhere from $9,027.00 to $9,500, but if you were working out of Niagara on the Lake or the Town of Lincoln you were paid between $8,000 to $8,400.
By the time the Niagara Region Police Association negotiated its’ second contract in 1971, all First Class Constables were being paid $10,500 a year. Meal allowances were $3.00 a day and a four platoon, 28 day shift schedule was in effect. By 1971, the Association represented approximately 398 officers and 42 civilian employees.
The first meetings of the Association took place at different locations throughout the area. In 1977, the Association purchased 27 acres of property in Fonthill which served as the Association office up until 1996. The office was then relocated to a leased location in St. Catharines, on Ontario Street. When the Association outgrew that facility we purchased some land and built a new Association office at our present location.
The past years have been a time of critical growth for the Niagara Region Police Association. In order to meet the needs of an increasing number of members, the Association Executive have revised and increased services and the office staff that serve the members.
In 1997 the mandate of the Association was expanded once again when the Niagara Region Police Association received its official designation as a charitable organization and reconfirmed its’ commitment to participate in community projects and increase charitable giving within the community.
As the Niagara Region Police Association looks towards the future, we want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and recognize those individuals who were among the founding members of the Association. .We have been able to build for the future on the strong foundation that was established by these members.
To learn more about the history of policing in the Niagara Region please go to A Retrospective of Policing in Niagara.