UPDATED: Female Windsor Police Officer Claiming Gender Discrimination

Day one of a a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario hearing involving a female Windsor Police officer has wrapped up.

Staff Sergeant Christine Bissonnette spoke of what she calls "systemic discrimination" she has faced over the course of her 30-year career with the Windsor Police Service.

Bissonnette told the tribunal she feels there has been several times where she was overlooked because she's a female only to then have to watch her male counterparts receive promotions.

She was first hired in 1987 and has worked her way through the ranks being promoted to staff sergeant in 2012.

But she says there's a different story, as she was eligible for the staff sergeant position in 2006, but was passed over for six years stating she feels "promotions are based on popularity rather than performance."

Bissonnette says she's been dealing with harassment and discrimination since the 1990's and that there's a culture within the Windsor Police where those who speak up are "targeted, singled out and ostracized."

Over the course of Friday's hearing, Bissonnette recalled a number of incidents where she claimed to be a victim of "gender biased discrimination" stating, "I am as equally qualified as any male."

She claims to have been transferred in the past because "senior male officers didn't want a woman in their unit."


Windsor Police Chief Al Frederick outside of a Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario hearing where Staff Sergeant Christine Bissonnette is claiming "gender biased discrimination" (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

The Windsor Police Service is denying the allegations.

Chief Al Frederick made a brief statement after the hearing saying they're prepared to hear Bissonnette's story.

"A complaint, based on gender, was made by a police officer regarding the Windsor Police Service promotional process. The Windsor Police Service takes these allegations very seriously and respects the rights of the complainant and the due process provided by the hearing."

Frederick adds, they'll be defending the integrity and impartiality of the promotional process.

"The Windsor Police Service stand by all members who have competed and achieved promotion in these processes, including the complainant. The Windsor Police Service strives to provide a promotional system that ensures fairness and equal opportunity to all candidates."

Bissonnette told the hearing she first filed at human rights complaint in 2010 which she feels wasn't taken seriously.

The hearing will continue for another three days in April.

The tribunal will hear from witnesses then.