News : Police Charging $100 to Apply for 911 Call Centre
Winnipeg, MB Oct 11, 2014 -- Want to become a 911 operator? It will cost you $100 to apply — whether you get the job or not.
Charging applicants a fee for the police-related job is "ridiculous," city councillor Scott Fielding said.
The Winnipeg Police Service is advertising for civilian 911 operators on the City of Winnipeg website. Part of the job application includes a "non-refundable" administration fee, according to the ad.
"This is the first I’ve heard of it, but if they are charging a $100 administration fee, it seems ludicrous to me," said Fielding, the chairman of the police board. "You’re looking for qualified 911 operators and you’re charging them $100? I don’t know what they would be doing that for, although it may have been standard protocol for them.
"But I fundamentally disagree with that approach."
The application process includes keyboard testing (need a minimum of 40 words per minute), producing proof of citizenship, education and other papers, and the applicant must always be available on short notice if called in. The fee must be produced only after the applicant completes the first two steps of the process, with keyboard testing being the first.
"It is very unusual in the marketplace for someone to charge a fee for someone applying for a job," said the manager of a local recruiting agency (who did not want his or the agency’s named to be publicized). He did not know if it would be tax deductible.
"The administrative service fee being charged is not unique to the (Winnipeg Police Service), with applicants applying for the position of police constable bearing the costs of eye exams, a physical abilities test (PAT) and a driver’s licence abstract, among other things," a police spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Other city departments and industries within the private sector often recoup a portion of the costs involved in interviewing and hiring potential employees."
A quick search of the City of Winnipeg website found no other ads for jobs where the applicant would need to pay a fee.
If a qualified applicant is out of a job, that person may be reluctant to pay such a high price tag.
"The fee may be waived for those applicants who find it a financial hardship," the police spokesperson wrote.
But that "financial hardship" was not defined.
Police did not respond to an emailed question of where the money goes.
Posted by Veronica
Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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The Winnipeg Police Service is the police force of the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Published: Wednesday, October 15, 2014