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Ontario Premier Doug Ford says he was not involved in the appointment of a family friend to the top job at the provincial police force.

Ford says Ronald Taverner was selected to become the next commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police through a transparent hiring process.

The premier’s comments come after his community safety minister said the qualification requirements for the job were changed partway through the hiring process to broaden the pool of applicants for the post.

Sylvia Jones says a hiring firm made that decision and adds that Taverner, 72, was a qualified candidate with decades of experience in policing.

A report from online news website iPolitics says the original commissioner job posting required candidates to have a rank of deputy police chief or higher, or assistant commissioner or higher, in a major police service – a threshold Taverner, a superintendent with Toronto police, did not meet.

NDP Leader Andrea Horwath has called for an independent investigation into Taverner’s appointment and advocacy group Democracy Watch has asked the integrity commissioner to look into the hiring process.

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