19 March 2012





Executive Director, Ottawa Police Services Board




Chief of Police, Ottawa Police Service








That the Ottawa Police Services Board receive this report for information.




Section 31(1)(c) of the Police Services Act states that a board shall establish policies for the effective management of the police force.  Board Policy CR-7 provides direction with regard to managing the workforce within the OPS.  It requires that the Chief have promotional processes in place and that, on an annual basis, a report be provided on the extent to which the promotion processes met policy objectives.   This report fulfils that requirement.


In 2008, the Ottawa Police Service embarked on an exercise to redesign the sworn promotion process at all ranks. In redesigning the process, the goal was to simplify and streamline the process while respecting the business objectives of transparency and fairness. Redesign of the process also led to the drafting of new policies, procedures, documentation and the implementation of a regularized promotion cycle.


As of December 31, 2011, the Ottawa Police Service has conducted eight complete promotional processes:  two at the rank of Superintendent, two at the rank of Inspector, two at the Staff Sergeant rank and two at the Sergeant rank.  




Rationale for the Design of a New Promotional Process


Prior to 2008, the sworn promotional processes drew significant resources, effort and time commitments from members participating, overseeing and scoring the process.  Promotional processes were not regularized or implemented on a cyclical basis. As such, there was a risk that promotion lists would be exhausted before a new promotion process could be administered (which, in fact, did occur in two instances). 

The new promotional process was designed based on feedback from members and the executive. The goal was to create a process that was more streamlined and efficient while producing successful candidates ready to take on the challenges of the next rank. Further, the promotion process was designed to encourage interested OPS members to participate in a fair, open and non-discriminatory process.




In order to guide the development of the new promotional process, a steering committee was convened and is currently comprised of the Inspector, Outreach and Development, who serves as Chair; both Deputy Chiefs; the Director General, the Superintendent of the District Directorate, the Superintendent of Resourcing and Development and the Staff Sergeant, Career Development.


The role of the steering committee is to provide guidance and direction on the design and development of the promotion process, and to oversee the on-going implementation of the promotional processes at each rank on a continuous basis.  


Process Overview


The sworn promotional process has a standardized framework which is applied to the process at all ranks. The broad framework is, for each rank, tailored to reflect the relevant competencies and job requirements.


The framework is comprised of the five steps outlined in the diagram below:



Each promotional process is supported by a group of panel members responsible for reviewing a candidate’s resume, application package, assessing their scenario or in-basket and conducting their interview.


The Sergeant and Staff Sergeant Promotion Processes have panels comprised of a Staff Sergeant and an Inspector. The panels for the Inspector Promotion Process are comprised of an Inspector and a Superintendent. The two Deputy Chiefs and the Director General make up the panel for the Superintendent Promotion process.  The number of panels for the Sergeant to Inspector ranks is dependent on the number of candidates in the process. Each process is overseen by the Staff Sergeant, Career Development.


Candidates, panel members and steering committee members must all sign an ethics statement acknowledging the confidentiality of the process.


At the end of each promotional process there is a debrief step whereby the candidates in the process are provided with an opportunity to receive feedback on their results. The process is concluded with an appeal stage which allows candidates who believe there was an error in the scoring an opportunity to petition for a review of their score.  All appeals for the Sergeant and Staff Sergeant processes are reviewed by two Superintendents.  Appeals for the Inspector process are reviewed by the two Deputy Chiefs; for the Superintendent process, appeals are reviewed by the Chief.


Promotion Cycle


In 2009, a three-year plan was developed and approved by Executive Command and then communicated to members. The plan outlined the timelines for each promotion process. The plan was to deliver three promotion processes per year.  


Feedback received from members after the 2010 Sergeant Promotion Process indicated that processes were being held too close together. The short timelines between processes did not provide officers with enough time to gain additional experience or skills between each subsequent process to improve their outcomes. Further, the number of people entering into the promotional processes was significant, leading to large promotional lists. A forecast of retirements indicates that, over the course of the next two years, the number of retirements will continue to drop or level-off, potentially creating more frustration should the number of promotional processes continue at the pace originally planned.


As such, through consultation with members and direction from the Executive Team, a revised promotion cycle was accepted in early 2011 based on two promotion processes per year.  In 2011 one Staff Sergeant and one Inspector’s process were held.  A Superintendent process is currently underway for 2012 and a Sergeant promotion process will be conducted in the third quarter of the year.  The chart below outlines the current promotion cycle.












Staff Sergeant


Staff Sergeant







Feedback from members on the revised promotional cycle has been positive as it will provide prospective candidates more time to prepare for the promotion process and more time to gain the requisite experience and skills. Further, it will allow a greater number of successful candidates on the eligibility lists, an opportunity to act or be promoted. Lastly, the time commitment from members acting as panels will be reduced given there are fewer processes to staff each year.



Results of the 2011 Promotion Processes


Below is a chart summarizing the two promotional processes held in 2011:






No. of Candidates



Standing on Mark*





Total List:



Number of Panels






Promotions off list**




*   For the NCO ranks, candidates can retain their mark from the previous promotion process for one additional promotion cycle

** Promotions from a list may span more than one calendar year; life span of a list is approximately 24 months

Note:  For the Senior Officers ranks, candidates may stand on their result for five years.



Promotion Activity in 2011


The Quarterly Workforce Management Report identifies the promotions by rank for that period.  They are summarized in the table below:



Number of


    in 2011


















Feedback from Member’s Survey


As Chief, I believe that the fairness of the Promotion Process must be clear and transparent to everyone.  The process must be fair and it must be perceived to be fair by any reasonable person.  I will ensure that the results of the 2012 Member Survey, currently underway, are reviewed carefully with an eye to any issues that may be present relating to improving the Promotions Process. 




Not applicable.




Not Applicable.




The Ottawa Police Service recognizes the importance of maintaining a fair and transparent promotional process to facilitate the promotion of successful candidates to the next rank. Under the guidance of a strong governance team, the sworn promotion process helps the Ottawa Police Service identify officers ready to take on new leadership roles within the organization at all ranks.




(Original signed by)


Charles Bordeleau

Chief of Police