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New Ontario law means Dilkens must quit Windsor police board — by 2026

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Mayor Drew Dilkens must resign his seat on the Windsor Police Services Board after his current term ends in 2026.

Dilkens, who currently chairs the board, will no longer be eligible to participate because of provincial legislation — taking effect April 1 — prohibiting former members of a police service from sitting on a board in the community in which they served.

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Dilkens was a Windsor Police Service auxiliary officer from 1992 to 2006.

The legislation — the Community Safety and Policing Act, 2019 — replaced the Ontario Police Services Act, 1990.

In an emailed response to the Star’s inquiry, the mayor said the board is aware of the change to the legislation affecting future membership on the board.

“As you indicated, the Province included a transition provision in the legislation allowing for an orderly exit of existing Board members (to whom the provision applies) at the end of their existing term,” Dilkens wrote.

“In my case, that would be Nov 2026.”

Dilkens was re-elected chairman of the Windsor board in February 2024. Other members include vice-chairwoman Ward 6 Coun. Jo-Anne Gignac; Sophia Chisholm, who is senior vice-president of finance at the Windsor Family Credit Union; Robert de Verteuil, an IT consultant with Newvic Technologies; and John Elliott, executive director of the Sandwich Teen Action Group and a former Ward 2 city councillor.

Amherstburg Mayor Michael Prue has a voice but no vote on the board. Windsor provides police service to the town.

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City council appointed a Windsor resident to the police board in January 2023, instead of Prue, who also applied for the position — a position with voting power that was held by the town’s previous mayor, Aldo DiCarlo.

Ministry of the Solicitor General spokesman Brent Ross confirmed that Dilkens can remain on the board until his term ends.

“Since the Community Safety and Policing Act came into force on April 1, 2024, former members of a police service, including former auxiliary officers, cannot be appointed members of a police service board which oversees their former police service,” Ross said.

“If an individual were appointed before April 1, 2024, they are entitled to finish their current term of appointment.”

Asked what he thinks about the new provincial rule, Dilken said, “I believe the change in legislation is a sensible change that is well-intended.”

The new legislation does allow a former member of a police service to be a member of a police service board if the board does not maintain a police service that the person was a member of and at least one year has passed since the person ceased to be a member of any police service.

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However, a Hamilton Police Services Board member resigned shortly after the legislation came into effect.

The CBC reported that acting chairman Fred Bennink, who has been on the Hamilton board for five years, resigned from his position as of May 2.

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Bennink is a former auxiliary member of the Hamilton Police Service and also a former Ontario Progressive Conservative candidate for Hamilton West—Ancaster—Dundas and retired president of Zip Signs, a Burlington-based company that makes indoor and outdoor signs.

He served on the board for five years, four as vice chair. He was also chair of the budget subcommittee and became acting chair of the board recently following the end of former chairman Pat Mandy’s term.

“The new act, with its regulations, prohibits a former auxiliary officer from serving on a police board if it is the same jurisdiction,” Bennick said, according to the CBC.

Bennick was most recently on the board as an appointed member by the province.

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