Ontario Considers Loosening Education Requirements for Police Officers
Tuition cuts and increased enrollment capacity: the thin blue line is calling you.
The Ontario government has announced its plans to reduce the education requirements needed to become a police officer in the province, a move that premier Doug Ford says is in line with other announcements (like tuition-free PSW training). If you're interested in law and order, what will these potential changes mean for you?
Currently, police officers in Ontario require a post-secondary education. The provincial government is proposing dropping that requirement, so students straight out of high school can start on their journey to serve and protect. Well, almost — you'll still need to attend the Ontario Police College.
Tuition-free at Ontario Police College
Part of this announcement includes removing tuition costs for students at the Ontario Police College in Aylmer, Ontario, as well as an increase in the number of seats available for new enrollments. An additional cohort will be trained each year, starting in 2024.
Together, these proposals will make becoming a cop in Ontario cheaper, easier, and less demanding on students. Premier Ford says this is important because "we need more police officers on our streets."
Tuition to the Ontario Police College is approximately $15,000, which students will no longer have to pay if these proposals become law.
Police Foundations programs at Canadian colleges
Many Canadian colleges offer programs in police foundations, a two-year diploma intended to give future recruits a well-rounded education in justice, criminology, and scenario training, that complements the education cadets receive at the Ontario Police College.
While these programs were never mandatory, having a college or university degree of some kind is a requirement for getting hired. A Police Foundations program gives applicants a leg up on training which may make them better candidates for employment.
Critics of the proposal suggest that police officers with higher education are better able to handle the wide range of expectations placed upon police. Others say that recognizing life experiences is as valuable as post-secondary education when recruiting new officers.
Will these changes make it easier to become a cop in Ontario?
It's possible this proposed legislation — which the government could pass at any time — could make becoming a police officer easier in Ontario. Some experts suggest this may be unlikely in practice, though.
University of Toronto assistant professor Julius Haag said "I don't see this dramatically changing how police are hiring," because cops with higher ed typically have stronger communication and social skills, which makes them more attractive employees.
Even so, the changes will certainly make applying to become a cop more affordable. You'll no longer need to risk a diploma or degree program in hopes of being accepted to the Ontario Police College, where you'd then need to pay the $15,000 tuition. Instead, you can reach out directly to your local force and inquire about becoming a cadet.
If you're interested in law and order, and you're considering a career in the public eye, upholding safety and security for all, this proposed change could be perfect for you. It's not signed into law yet — so a diploma or degree is still a requirement — but if the government signs off and confirms this proposal, we'll update you as soon as possible.
Explore programs in police foundations