It has come to the attention of the Ontario Police Memorial Foundation (OPMF) that a group of first responders plan to engage in a “silent protest against mandates” on Monday, September 13, 2021 at 11:45 a.m. at the site of the Ontario Police and Fire Fighters Memorials at Queen’s Park in Toronto.
The OPMF is a charitable foundation formed by the Police Association of Ontario (PAO), the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA), the Toronto Police Association (TPA), the Ontario Senior Officers’ Police Association (OSOPA), and the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police (OACP). The Foundation is responsible for the management of the Ontario Police Memorial, which includes adding names of fallen officers whenever required and hosting an annual Ceremony of Remembrance.
On behalf of our members, the OPMF denounces such a protest occurring at these memorial sites, which are intended to honour Ontario’s police personnel and fire fighters who have made the ultimate sacrifice and lost their lives in the line of duty. To be clear, our Foundation and those within our organization do not endorse and are not affiliated in any way with the group coordinating today’s protest against mandates.
The OPMF is confident the vast majority of sworn and civilian police personnel across the province are committed to doing their part to help keep their communities and fellow first responders safe and healthy. Some policies recently announced or proposed in many municipalities pertaining to COVID-19 vaccinations for first responders are an important step toward ensuring that.
Everyone has the right to peacefully protest and stand up for what they believe in, and we are certainly respectful of that right, but the police and fire fighter memorials are not the appropriate venue to hold a demonstration against a political issue such as mandates. We respectfully request that the organizers of this protest re-locate their gathering so as to preserve the purpose and integrity of what the police and fire memorials represent within our first responder communities and for the families of those who have lost loved ones in the line of duty.
Jason Tomlinson, President
Ontario Police Memorial Foundation