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Entrepreneur removed from Toronto police board after CBC investigation into seemingly fabricated employees

Nadine Spencer has been removed from the Toronto Police Service Board.

City council passed an urgent motion from Coun. Shelley Carroll (Ward 17), without debate, on Thursday to rescind Spencer’s appointment to the board of the largest municipal police service in the country.

Former Toronto police board chair Alok Mukherjee told CBC Toronto he believes the move by city council is unprecedented.

“I cannot recall a situation where the city council has ended the term of its appointee before the completion,” said Mukherjee, who served as chair from 2005 to 2015. 

John Sewell, a former Toronto mayor and co-ordinator of the Toronto Police Accountability Coalition, said that to his knowledge, a police board member has never been removed by Toronto City Council before Thursday.

Earlier this month, a CBC Toronto investigation discovered three seemingly fabricated, or misrepresented, employees on the websites of marketing companies owned by Spencer. All signs of the three employees vanished from the websites after CBC Toronto asked Spencer about them.

At that time, in a series of email statements provided through her lawyer, Spencer “categorically” denied that her employees were fabricated. 

WATCH | Investigating BrandEQ’s leadership: 

Toronto Police board member faces questions about identities of some of her employees

15 days ago

Duration 5:11

For years, Nadine Spencer’s company BrandEQ has listed employees who appear to be fabricated, or at least misrepresented.

CBC’s findings on Spencer’s company, BrandEQ, came after some members of the Black Business and Professional Association (BBPA) raised concerns about how BrandEQ received more than $1.1 million in contracted work from the charity over the course of the six years Spencer was either president of BBPA’s board of directors, or its CEO.

In a written statement to CBC Toronto at the time, Spencer said she’s proud of the work she did at the BBPA to lift up others in her community, and “any suggestion I did so to benefit myself is false, and frankly, absurd.”

Spencer was appointed to the Toronto Police Service Board by city council in spring 2023. Until her removal, she was one of seven board members in charge of overseeing the budget and operation of the service.

All police service board members in Ontario are subject to a provincial code of conduct which states members “shall not conduct themselves in a manner that undermines or is likely to undermine the public’s trust in the police service board or the police service.”

“I think the allegations that were made against this Member were quite serious,” said Mukherjee on Thursday.

“Every police service board member is bound by the code of conduct and they have to be very, very careful in how they conduct themselves.”

CBC Toronto has reached out to Spencer for comment but has not yet received a response.

In the same motion, city council appointed Chris Brillinger to take Spencer’s place on the police board for a term ending in November 2026. Brillinger is currently the executive director of Family Services Toronto, which assists individuals and families facing mental health and socioeconomic challenges.

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