Special Constables Unit
Transit Special Constables
Transit Special Constables are sworn Peace Officers. They have the powers of a Police Officer to enforce the law aboard all our vehicles and on all OC Transpo property.
Special constables walk about our stations, ride buses and the O-Train or cycle between stations around the clock. They offer a visible security presence, deter crime and offences, and are ready and able to respond quickly to incidents.
Feel free to approach a Special Constable if you feel unsafe, harassed or threatened or if you see someone who seems lost or needing help.
- Protect transit customers, employees and property
- Preserve the peace
- Prevent crime and offences
- Promote public safety and awareness
- Help persons in need of 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
In order to serve as a Special Constable, applicants need to have:
- Either the Transit Special Constables Special Constable Applicant Testing Service Certificate or the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police Certificate of Results for the Constable Selection System
- Valid Standard First Aid Certificate and valid CPR-Level C
Once on the job, Special Constables receive:
- Incident management training
- Use of force training
- Ongoing training on cultural diversity that touches on legislation protecting the rights of Canadians
Transit Law Team
The Special Constables form one part of the Transit Law Enforcement team. Other key groups are:
- Dispatchers send out emergency assistance when an alarm is triggered:
- Passenger assistance alarm (PAA) on buses
- Emergency brake on the O-Train
- Elevator alarms
- Call takers respond security calls made from emergency call boxes or payphones at Transitway Stations and Park & Rides
- Security camera operators monitor camera feeds from stations
- Transit fare inspectors:
- Preserve the integrity of the fare system and make sure passengers pay the fare they owe
- Verify proof of payment (POP) on routes in high traffic areas
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;
- Be of good moral character and habits;
- Not have been convicted of a criminal offence for which a pardon has not been granted;
- Have completed at least four years of secondary school education or its equivalent; plus 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);
- Possess proof of valid Standard First Aid Certificate and valid CPR-Level C;
- Possess 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;
- Possess a valid Ontario Unrestricted “G” class driver’s license (or provincial equivalent) with no demerit points;
- Undergo background checks such as fingerprinting, driver’s licence history, credit checks, employment history, psychological testing and police records checks to the City of Ottawa’s satisfaction;
- 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 minimum requirements above, you may advance through the selection process. Each stage in the selection 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. For testing standards, please visit: applicanttesting.com/career-paths/special-constable.html
- 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 possess the following competencies:
- Analytical thinking
- Law enforcement principals
- Flexibility/valuing diversity
- Self control
- Relationship building
- Achievement orientation
Candidates selected to proceed beyond the interview stage and law enforcement knowledge-testing phase, will undergo an investigation of their background and personal history.
Candidates will be required to complete an Ottawa Police Background Investigation Form. A thorough background investigation, which includes both security and reference checks, will be conducted on candidates selected to proceed beyond the interview stage and law enforcement knowledge testing phases. Candidates will be required to complete a psychological profile and may be required to attend an interview with a psychologist.
The Personal History Form is the tool by which personal information about an applicant is collected. The use of this information begins only if the candidate advances beyond the interview stage and it becomes necessary to conduct a background investigation. At this stage candidates will also be required to sign a “Waiver for the Collection of Personal Information” form. Until this document is signed, the application will not advance through the remainder of the process.
Special Constable Complaints Process
Two types of formal complaints can be made against Special Constables:
- A complaint regarding the policies of, or services provided by, the Transit Law Enforcement Service.
- A complaint regarding the conduct of a Transit Special Constable.
Any member of the public who is directly affected by the conduct of a Transit Special Constable, the services provided by, or a policy of the Transit Law Enforcement Service 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 occurrence 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 fax, mail, or hand-delivered to the attention of:
Chief Special Constable
Transit Services,City of Ottawa
OC Transpo Transit Law Enforcement Service
875 Belfast Road, Ottawa ON K1G 0Z4
A person may also complete and submit a Public Complaint Form in person at:
City of Ottawa
Transit Law Enforcement Service
875 Belfast Road, Ottawa ON
A complaint against a Special Constable cannot be accepted over the phone; however an attempt will be made to determine the nature of the concern.
To assist us in handling your complaint against a Special Constable in a timely manner we need as much detail as possible, such as:
- Witnesses (if any)
- Your address
- Your phone number
The Chief Special Constable may decide not to deal with a complaint against a Special Constable on the basis that it was filed after the six month limit, or it is frivolous, vexatious or made in bad faith, or that 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 against a Special Constable you may decide not to pursue the matter.
You can withdraw a complaint by writing to the Transit Law Enforcement Service.
Despite your withdrawal, the Chief may decide to continue investigating the complaint if s/he deems that 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.