Former Unifor president Jerry Dias is under Toronto Police investigation after the Canadian labor union turned in money that he allegedly received as part of a kickback scheme.
A spokesperson from the Toronto Police Services confirmed to The Canadian Press on Tuesday that its Financial Crimes Unit had opened an investigation into the ex-union boss, which is currently in a preliminary stage.
Dias is accused of accepting $50,000 from a COVID-19 test kit supplier, which he and/or his staff later promoted to Unifor employers between December 2021 and January 2022. According to Automotive News, half of the kickback money was shared with a Unifor staffer, who later turned the money into the union, prompting an investigation into Dias’ conduct. An independent, external investigator hired by Unifor later determined Dias had breached Article 4 of the Code of Ethics and Democratic Practices in the Unifor Constitution.
Dias had been on leave from his role as boss of the Canadian labor union since February 6th, when he announced a temporary leave of absence due to ongoing health issues. He later announced his retirement on March 11th, again citing medical problems.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Unifor said it would not provide further comment on the matter whilst the Toronto Police investigation was underway.
“Acting on advice from legal counsel, Unifor has delivered to Toronto Police the money that was given to Unifor in connection with the complaint that Jerry Dias violated the Code of Ethics in the Unifor Constitution,” the press release said. “It will now be for Toronto Police to decide whether to investigate any matter connected to that money, and Unifor has no role in that decision. Unifor is not making further public comment on this matter at this time.”
Unifor is the largest private sector union in Canada and represents hourly workers at GM plants in the country, including those at the GM Oshawa and GM CAMI Assembly plants in southern Ontario. Dias had served as the president of the national labor union for eight and a half years leading up to his retirement in March.