TO ALL OPFFA LOCALS AND MEMBERSHIP
 
LAW SUIT UPDATE
 
I am pleased to report that the OPFFA has successfully resolved a substantial part of the litigation against Paul Atkinson, Colin Grieve, and others.
We have provided several reports and updates to the membership about the litigation since it was first started in April 2016.
Since 2016, the OPFFA has been represented by Rahool Agarwal, who is a lawyer at Lax O’Sullivan Lisus Gottlieb LLP in Toronto. Mr Agarwal has provided the following summary of key events:
President Santoro and OPFFA Board of Directors,
 
You have requested that we prepare the following update summary for you to share with the OPFFA membership:
 
  • [1] In late 2015, the OPFFA discovered that donations made by WSIB occupational disease claimants intended for the OPFFA were instead being diverted by Atkinson and Grieve to themselves through a corporation called Professional Firefighters Advocates Inc.
 
  • [2] The OPFFA commenced the court action in April 2016.  The OPFFA claimed damages against Atkinson, Grieve, and Professional Firefighters Advocates Inc., as well as Sherwin Shapiro (a lawyer) and Frances Furmanov (a paralegal).  The OPFFA claimed damages for civil conspiracy, breach of trust, inducing breach of contract, intentional interference with economic relations, unjust enrichment, and passing off, as well as punitive damages.
 
  • [3] Over the course of 2016 and 2017, the OPFFA met with numerous WSIB claimants and their families to collect more information about their dealings with Atkinson and Grieve.  The information we collected supported the conclusion that Atkinson and Grieve had improperly misappropriated donations intended for the OPFFA and that the OPFFA had lost potentially millions of dollars as a result.
 
  • [4] In February 2017, the Halton Regional Police laid criminal charges against Atkinson and Grieve in connection with their representation of WSIB claimants and the diversion of donations made by WSIB claimants. The charges included fraud, money laundering and obstruction of justice.
 
  • [5] Atkinson and Grieve vigorously resisted the OPFFA’s civil case.  They brought numerous procedural motions which had the effect of delaying the progress of the litigation. The OPFFA was successful in contesting those motions and continued to prosecute the case.
 
  • [6] The OPFFA subsequently brought a motion to freeze Atkinson and Grieve’s assets.  In response to that motion, Atkinson and Grieve filed documents with the court that were later revealed to be forgeries.  Atkinson admitted under oath that he had forged one of the documents.
 
  • [7] The court granted the OPFFA’s motion to freeze Atkinson and Grieve’s assets. Amongst the assets that were frozen was Grieve’s family home. Grieve had transferred his interest in the home to his spouse in late 2015 for $2, after the OPFFA began raising questions about Atkinson and Grieve’s work. A copy of the freezing order can be accessed 
  •  ​PDF icon here.
 
  • [8] In late 2019, as a result of a motion brought by Atkinson and Grieve in the criminal proceedings, the court stayed the criminal charges against Atkinson and Grieve because of the unreasonable delay in prosecuting the case. The criminal charges were stayed without any determination being made on the merits of the charges. That decision made it even more important to continue to prosecute the civil action and hold Atkinson and Grieve accountable.  The OPFFA continued to prosecute the case through 2020 and recently scheduled the action for a trial.
 
On February 23, 2021, the parties participated in a mediation. The mediation led to a settlement with Paul Atkinson and Professional Firefighters’ Advocates Inc. While the terms of the settlement are confidential, following details may be disclosed to the OPFFA membership:
 
  • [9] Atkinson and Professional Firefighters Advocates Inc. will consent to a Judgment in favour of the OPFFA in the amount $4,082,336 and costs to the OPFFA of $750,000. The form of Judgment that will be issued by the Court is enclosed.
 
  • [10] Atkinson’s liability under the Judgment will be satisfied by Atkinson paying to the OPFFA substantially all of his assets, including the net proceeds from the sale of two investment properties owned by Atkinson. The OPFFA will direct all aspects of the sale process.
 
The mediation was also productive with respect to Shapiro and Furmanov. The OPFFA hopes to finalize settlements with Shapiro and Furmanov shortly.
 
There has been no settlement reached with Colin Grieve. We will continue to vigorously pursue the claims against Grieve and, if judgment is granted, enforce the judgment against all of Grieve’s assets. We expect to have the OPFFA’s claims against Grieve determined by November 2021.
 
Carmen Santoro
President
Ontario Professional Fire Fighters Association
905-733-8208

 

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We want to bring to your attention some important information about your OMERS plan.
Proposed plan changes were presented by OMERS reps to OPFFA members on May 15.
As a follow up to the presentation we have assembled a section on the OntarioFireFighters.Org website that contains a link to a recording of the presentation, OMERS topics of interest and Q&A’s specific to the proposed plan changes including;
  • How Your OMERS Pension Contributes to the Economy
  • Management of the OMERS Plan Explained
  • Sustainability of OMERS and my Pension Guarantee
  • OMERS 2020 Proposed Plan Changes
  • Shared Risk Indexing Explained
  • OPFFA Position on the Proposed Changes
The OPFFA Executive Board fully endorses the healthy, reliable plan that OMERS has proposed and we want you to learn more about it and others who stand in support.
Thank you,
OPFFA Executive Board