Special Constables are sworn Peace Officers within the City of Ottawa. They receive their Special Constable appointment on behalf of the Ottawa Police Services Board.
They have the powers of a Police Officer to:
- Investigate incidents
- Arrest persons
- Charge offenders under the Criminal Code and/or Provincial and Municipal acts
These powers are limited to incidents on or related to properties and vehicles owned, occupied, or leased by OC Transpo.
Special constables do foot patrols in all stations, ride buses and the O-Train and cycle or drive between stations around the clock.
These patrols offer:
- A visible security presence
- Deter crime and offences
- Allow Special Constables to respond quickly to incidents
If you are the victim or witness of a crime, feel unsafe, harassed or threatened or if you see someone who seems lost or needing help:
- Approach a Special Constable
- Call 613-741-2478
- Protect customers, employees and property
- Preserve the peace
- Prevent crime and offences
- Promote public safety and awareness
- Help persons who need assistance
- Adhere to the principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Provide fair, unbiased and professional service to the community
- Treat all victims of crime with compassion and understanding
- Be approachable, courteous, and open
- Acknowledge and respect the diversity of cultures
- Maintain the highest ethical and professional standards
Special Constables receive in-depth and practical training in:
- Canadian Law
- Charter of Rights and Freedoms
- Use of Force through Ottawa Police Service
- Medical First Responder
- Diversity Awareness
- Incident Management.
Some Special Constables also receive training from the Ontario Police College in:
- Investigative interviewing
- Front-line supervising
- Criminal investigations
- Being a Coach Officer
Special Constables Unit
The Special Constables form one part of the Unit. Other key groups are:
- Call takers receive calls from operators and members of the public. They respond to calls from emergency call boxes or payphones at stations and Park & Rides
- Dispatchers receive information from call takers and dispatch Special Constables or other emergency services as needed
- Security camera operators monitor camera feeds from stations, buses, trains and Park & Rides
- Transit fare inspectors:
- Preserve the integrity of the fare system and make sure passengers pay the fare they owe
- Verify proof of payment on busy routes
Special Constable Recruitment
- Be a Canadian Citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be physically and mentally able to perform the duties of the position, having regard to his or her own safety and the safety of members of the public
- Have good moral character and habits
- Not have been convicted of a criminal offence that has not been pardoned
- Have completed at least 4 years of secondary school education or its equivalent and be a graduate of a recognized Community College Police Foundations or Law and Security Diploma
- Have a good knowledge of security or law enforcement operations and principles. This requires a minimum of 2 years of security experience in a transit environment. Related experience in dealing with people and enforcement procedures may be considered as alternate relevant experience (experience and formal training combined with demonstrated performance and ability, may substitute for stipulated academic requirements)
- Have proof of valid Standard First Aid Certificate and valid CPR-Level C
- Have proof of valid Special Constable Applicant Testing Service (ATS) Certificate or the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police Certificate of Results for the Constable Selection System or be a current or retired police or peace officer
- Have a valid Ontario Unrestricted “G” class driver’s license (or provincial equivalent) with no demerit points
- Undergo (to the satisfaction of the City of Ottawa) background checks such as:
- Driver’s licence history
- Credit checks
- Employment history
- Psychological testing
- Police records checks
- Learn, meet and maintain Transit Special Constable Service’s standard in the use of oleoresin capsicum (OC) spray, baton and the use of force continuum
If you meet the requirements above, you may advance through the selection process. Each stage in this process is competitive.
The following documentation is required:
- Cover letter
- Proof of a valid Special Constable Applicant Testing Service (ATS) Certificate or the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police Certificate of Results for the Constable Selection System
- Original police Clearance Letter dated within the last 12 months. A Clearance Letter is a formal document produced on secure paper indicating that the subject of the inquiry has no criminal convictions in the National Repository of Criminal Records maintained by the RCMP
- Proof of valid Standard First Aid Certificate and valid CPR-Level C
Candidates must demonstrate that they have the following competencies:
- Leadership and negotiation skills
- Analytical and problem-solving skills
- Assertiveness and self-control
- Conflict/dispute/crisis resolution skills
- Sensitivity to the needs of all people and cultures
- Communication skills
Candidates selected to proceed beyond the interview stage will need to:
- Undergo an investigation of their background and personal history
- Complete an Ottawa Police Background Investigation Form and a Special Constable Unit pre-background questionnaire. A thorough background investigation, which includes both security and reference checks will be conducted
- Complete a psychological test and attend an interview with a psychologist
If you are a suitable applicant who is interested in a rewarding career with the Special Constable Unit please apply through the City of Ottawa job portal when positions are posted.
Special Constable Complaints Process
Two types of formal complaints can be made against Special Constables:
- A complaint about the policies or services of the Special Constables Unit (SCU)
- A complaint about the conduct of a Special Constable.
Any member of the public who is directly affected by the conduct of a Special Constable or SCU services or policies can make a complaint.
When to file a complaint against a Special Constable
Your complaints against a Special Constable must be filed within 6 months of the incident.
How to file a complaint against a Special Constable
A complaint against a Special Constable must be made in writing and signed by the complainant. Complaints can be submitted by mail or hand-delivered to the attention of:
Chief Special Constable
Transit Services, City of Ottawa
OC Transpo Special Constable Unit
875 Belfast Road, Ottawa ON K1G 0Z4
A person may also complete and submit a Public Complaint Form in person at:
City of Ottawa
Special Constable Unit
875 Belfast Road, Ottawa ON
The Chief Special Constable may decide not to deal with a complaint against a Special Constable if:
- It was filed after the 6-month limit
- It is frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith
- The complainant was not directly affected by the incident
There are four possible conclusions to a complaint against a Special Constable:
- The Chief may decide, if all parties agree, that the complaint can be resolved through an Informal Resolution.
- After the investigation, the Chief may find that the complaint is unsubstantiated.
- The Chief may find that the complaint is substantiated and impose a penalty without holding a formal hearing if the misconduct is not serious and the Officer agrees to the penalty. If the Officer does not agree to the penalty, then a formal hearing must be held.
- The Chief may find that the complaint is substantiated and decide to hold a formal disciplinary hearing.
A less serious complaint about a Special Constable's conduct may be resolved by way of an informal resolution.
This involves bringing the complainant and the subject officer together to hear each other's concerns.
This resolution requires the mutual consent of the complainant, the officer, and the approval of the Chief Special Constable.
Withdrawal of a complaint against a Special Constable
After filing a complaint, you may decide not to pursue the matter.
You can withdraw a complaint by writing to the Special Constables Unit.
Despite your withdrawal, the Chief may decide to continue investigating the complaint if it is deemed the allegations merit investigation.
If a complaint is substantiated what will happen to the officer?
There are a range of options available to the Chief Special Constable including:
- Forfeiture of hours (pay)
- Criminal charges
In some cases, training is considered an appropriate remedy.