Ontario’s second African-Canadian deputy minister, Jay Hope, is retiring from public service.
Hope, who was on long-term secondment from the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP), is the deputy minister of Correctional Services. His last day on the job is April 30.
“It’s time to turn things over to the young bucks,” said Hope, who eight years ago became the country’s highest-ranking Black law enforcement officer before he was appointed deputy chief. “There are many capable people like Dave Mitchell and Jennifer Alphonso who I am confident can step up and do a good job.”
Mitchell is currently regional director in the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and is responsible for the administration and oversight of probation and parole services in the central region, the largest of the four regions, with a staff of close to 800. He was also the first Ontario Correctional Intelligence Unit manager and the fourth Black superintendent of an Ontario Correctional Centre when he took charge of Mimico – a medium security facility in Etobicoke – three years ago.
Alphonso, a former assistant parole and probation manager in Brampton, is the current superintendent.
Hope recently bought a home in Florida where he plans to spend the winter.
“I have put in 34 years and I feel good, so I thought now is the time to step away,” he said. “My health is fine and I have two teenagers who I want to spend more quality time with … I am just going to lay back and not do anything for 18 months.”
Hope said his wife, who is a schoolteacher, will take a leave of absence to share the early retirement months with him.
“We will just enjoy each other’s company for a short while without having to think about work,” he added.
A 1979 University of Toronto graduate, Hope began his OPP career in Northern Ontario where he was exposed to a diverse range of assignments and duty locations. The 1996 Canada Police of the Year nominee and founding member of the Association of Black Law Enforcers instigated several initiatives to attract more visible minorities to law enforcement and to make the province’s police service more representative of the communities it serves.
Hope also developed significant traffic initiatives that were geared to reduce the number of fatalities and serious injuries on the province’s highways.
The former Ontario Human Rights Commission senior investigator is a recipient of the Order of Merit of the Police insignia for distinguished law enforcement service, a Harry Jerome Trailblazer Award and honorary degrees from U of T and the University of Guelph-Humber.
In 2001, he was appointed deputy chief Aide-de-Camp to then Lieutenant Governor Hilary Weston, becoming the first African-Canadian to achieve that distinction.
Last May, Hope – who graduated from Midland Avenue Collegiate Institute – was inducted into the Scarborough Walk of Fame.
Prior to becoming deputy minister of Correctional Services in July 2008, Hope served as the province’s Commissioner of Emergency Management and Commissioner of Community Safety.
By RON FANFAIR