TORONTO — Sources in the premier’s office say the man about to become Ontario’s top cop has delayed his appointment until an investigation into allegations of political interference is complete.
The sources say Toronto police Supt. Ron Taverner, a longtime friend of Premier Doug Ford’s family, requested that Community Safety Minister Sylvia Jones postpone his appointment, which was supposed to take place on Monday.
Taverner did not initially qualify for the role, but the Ford government has admitted that it lowered the requirements for the job to attract a wider range of candidates.
Sylvia Jones said in a statement that the government has “full confidence” in Taverner, but will respect his wishes until the integrity commissioner has conducted the review.
The sources say that in the interim, Acting OPP Commissioner Brad Blair will be replaced at the helm of the OPP by Gary Couture, who is currently the force’s deputy commissioner.
On Friday, Blair asked the courts to order Ontario Ombudsman Paul Dube to investigate Taverner’s hiring, after the ombudsman declined his request to carry out the probe.
Blair’s lawyer says the ombudsman won’t investigate because he believes the matter is out of his jurisdiction since the hiring was ultimately a decision made by cabinet.
Taverner did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the delay.
The Canadian Press