Currently, charges against O.P.F.F.A. President Santoro, I.A.F.F 13th District Fred Leblanc, Firefighter Dan Vanderlilie, and Firefighter Chris Evans are further causing financial strain to the OPFFA union. As new legal charges wage forward against them, OPFFA legal bills continue to accrue.
The W.S.I.B lawsuit against Colin Grieve settled, resulting in financial loss for both OPFFA members as well as Colin Grieve.
OPFFA had stated they were” going to bleed Grieves dry”. In fact, they did, by filing a claim against Colin Grieve’s wife. OPFFA stated Mrs. Grieves was involved in “the conspiracy” involving $4.5 million. Despite how preposterous the claims may be, OPFFA is able to continue to file claims against them. The continued demented claims still need to be defended and are costly. Although the OPFFA did in fact bleed Colin Grieves dry financially by making even more ridiculous accusations by going after his spouse, they showed desperation and the decision put OPFFA further deeper into financial distress. Even more OPFFA members are displaying distaste in the direction union is heading by now “going after family”. OPFFA stated even if Grieves were successful in the lawsuit, the OPFFA would file an appeal to the courts’ decision which would drag the lawsuit on even longer. Time = $. This would continue to deplete Mr. Grieve’s funds and continue to utilize the WSIB Award money as well as firefighters member’s dues.
OPFFA promised union members they had obtained insurance that covers financial protection in regard to lawsuits. There was insurance obtained by OPFFA; however, it protects solely OPFFA Executive Board Members (President, Secretary, Treasurer). Not firefighters.
Over 11,000 firefighters are responsible for the financial cost of all lawsuits, not OPFFA executive board members. This includes previous lawsuits as well existing lawsuit against the OPFFA executive board members.
After the OPFFA depleted the Occupational Disease Fund (Widows fund) and the member’s union monies on the WSIB lawsuit against Atkinson, Grieve, Shapiro, and Furmonav of approx. 2 million dollars. OPFFA was financially incapable and opposed lobbying to support its OPFFA members for Human Rights in relation to COVID mandatory shots. More members continue to show frustration still not being able to vote for their rights. OPFFA supported the Deindexing of Firefighters members’ OMERS pension in exchange for Fire Toronto President Frank Ramaganano to be employed by OMERS. Firefighters are questioning the reasoning behind belonging to 3 unions (local, OPFFA, and IAFF), with union leadership responsibilities overlapping and still unable to voice their individual input. Everything OPFFA offers is offered under IAFF as well.
While still some members are awaiting a retro pay in the sum of $4.5 million dollars with hopeless wishes of members receiving ($5000-$10 000 individually). As the realization of the losses, the union has taken over the years. Members owned property in Burlington (undersold by 1.2 million dollars, to an associate of union executive board member) plus legal fees of approx.2 million climbing, increases in dues, and loans from IAFF have added up and OPFFA is struggling financially.
Why continue? More allegations include the president receiving comps and cash kickbacks to continue with countless lawsuits.
With the decline in funds, rumors arise that OPFFA is hoping to recruit Hamilton Fire
Department Local 288. Increasing members’ dues will help pay for all lawsuits, previous and current.
Allegedly OPFFA is hoping to seduce Hamilton Fire President Stan Double to re-affiliate with the OPFFA and help with their financial crisis. OPFFA set precedence when they were gifted the Health and Safety Award named after firefighter Pat DeFazio. Pat DeFazio had aspired to divide and create a separate union detaching from the OPFFA and becoming its president. To entice DeFazio to not disassociate and divide members, they titled the Health and Safety award to Defazio and granted him president emeritus status.
Pat DeFazio and others were adamant to not allowing any assistance to Retired firefighters or Volunteer firefighters (reasoning that they were non $ paying members). Against this struggle, Colin Grieve displayed resistance and stood up to advocate for and help firefighter Retired and Volunteer firefighters alike. Despite their dues-paying status.
Colin Grieve has aided over 3000 families, firefighters, teachers, labor contractors, volunteer firefighters, and retirees regardless of any payment to himself. To date OPFFA is still utilizing the WSIB template Colin Grieve helped to create. Although now, the OPFFA requires payment from family and there is no choice. No voluntary donations, you don’t pay, OPFFA will not assist.
The lawsuit was to “make widows whole”, to date no families have received any money from the union in regards to this. If any families were “unsatisfied” with Colin Grieve’s work presently, no so-called unhappy families returned their “award” money Colin fought vigorously to obtain for them.
Many fire members and families are honored that their loved ones are recognized for their service. And are grateful for the comfort and countless hours of work Colin Grieve provided for them.
There are no 4.5 million dollars, there is no “retro pay” for 11 000 members. No “widows made whole”. Just inflation, increase in dues, and more lawsuits to pay for.