Toronto police say they are investigating the former president of Canada’s largest private sector union after the union transferred money received from a supplier of COVID-19 rapid test kits to its members.
Police spokeswoman Laura Brabant confirmed Tuesday that the force’s financial crime unit has launched an investigation.
“The investigation is in its early stages and we will not comment on specific issues at this time so as not to compromise on the investigation,” he told the Canadian Press in an email.
The investigation began after Uniform announced Monday that it had returned a complaint to the union after it was handed over to Toronto police by Jerry Dias on January 20. $ 25,000 he says from test kit supplier.
Uniform declined to name the supplier and Dias promised to enter a rehabilitation facility in the event of an incident.
UNIFOR said in a statement on Monday that “it is up to the Toronto police to decide whether to investigate the allegations and that UNIFOR has no role in that decision.”
Union spokeswoman Kathleen O’Keefe did not say what happened to the money.
UNIFOR, which said it had acted on legal advice on refunds, said it would not comment further.
The union said Dias had been charged with violating the rules of ethics and democratic practice in the union’s constitution. A hearing will be held before the National Executive Board within this month.
Dias has been the face of Unifor for a long time. He has led the union since 2013 and was re-elected in 2016 and 2019. He had a reputation for being harsh, dirty and willing to push politicians from top companies to work in the best interests of the workers.
He was a key figure in negotiating the US-Mexico-Canada agreement and successfully encouraged General Motors Canada to hire 1,700 workers after plans to reopen the Oshawa plant, invest up to $ 1.3 billion and close the facility.
Dias was notified of the union’s independent investigation into the matter on January 29, and began medical leave on February 6, citing “ongoing health problems.” About a month later, the union announced that he was retiring, adding that he was under investigation the next day.
In addition to the time of rehabilitation, Dias said he would temporarily withdraw from all of his counseling positions due to the use of painkillers, sleeping pills and alcohol to deal with sciatic nerve problems.
“These factors have weakened my judgment in recent months, and I am indebted to our members for the necessary treatment,” he said.
“My doctor told me directly that I needed help.”
This report was first published in the Canadian Press on April 5, 2022.