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Toronto Toronto police, services board reach tentative contract

Alok Mukherjee, Chair of the Toronto Police Services Board attends a meeting at Police Headquarters on Thursday August 14, 2014.

Chris Young/The Globe and Mail

The union for Toronto police officers has reached a tentative contract, although the details will stay under wraps until late April.

Mike McCormack, president of the Toronto Police Association, said the terms were reached early Thursday after an all-night negotiating session with members of the Toronto Police Services Board.

The results of a ratification vote by union members will be announced in three weeks.

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Board chair Alok Mukherjee said he has to keep the terms confidential until the agreement is ratified. After Thursday's board meeting, Mr. Mukherjee said he is "personally happy" with the terms. He would not go into detail about the tone of the talks.

"All negotiations are tough," he said.

The contract for more than 8,000 union members expired in December, when the relationship between the board and the union was becoming particularly hostile.

A month earlier, the police board set up a website about the negotiations, posting news articles about the police budget and breaking down taxpayers' contributions.

In December, Mr. McCormack demanded Mr. Mukherjee's resignation over a Facebook post that appeared to compare the number of killings by U.S. police officers to those of Islamic State terrorists. Mayor John Tory joined the board himself, unlike his predecessor, saying it would help smooth relations.

Mr. McCormack said on Thursday that negotiations were tense, but that he thought the deal was "fair to our members and fair for the city."

"I'd say that it was a very challenging round of negotiation," he said. "I think we were negotiating in a very challenging climate, that's for sure."

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Mr. Tory's presence on the board did not change the bargaining process from past years, Mr. McCormack said.

"We bargain with the Police Services Board," he said. "He's got one vote on the board. He wasn't present or participating directly in those conversations."

Chief Bill Blair declined comment on the tentative deal, saying it was a matter between the board and the union.

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