RCMP Contract Management Committee Update

On December 15, 2015, the Local Government Contract Management Committee (LGCMC) met with provincial and RCMP representatives to discuss issues related to the RCMP contract and policing in British Columbia.  The Committee provided feedback on a range of issues. The following summary highlights key issues discussed at the meeting.

1) Working Group Discussion Items

LGCMC Terms of Reference

The Committee approved a recommendation to the UBCM Executive (for the January 22, 2016, meeting) to endorse an amended Terms of Reference. The amendment clarifies which LGCMC member will represent the Committee at National Contract Management Committee meetings.


DNA Analysis Services Costs


An overview of recent correspondence and in-person meetings between UBCM and the Ministry of Justice was provided. The Committee re-iterated local government support for reversing the decision to transfer these costs to local governments, and a need for better consultation. In response, provincial representatives noted that UBCM is expected to receive a formal response from the new Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General in January 2016 regarding local government concerns.

Ongoing Negotiations

The provincial government has bundled together outstanding cost items for negotiation with the federal government. UBCM will be writing the new federal minister expressing concerns on Green Timbers, severance pay, the cost-share for integrated teams and other outstanding issues. These specific issues are described below.



Green Timbers


The Province and federal government disagree whether the new RCMP HQ is considered an existing building or a new building under the PPSA. The building was constructed and completed straddling the expiration of the previous Agreement and the signing of the new PPSA. The Province was originally asked only about the location of Green Timbers, which was planned and mostly complete when the new PPSA came into effect in 2012. The federal government has asked the Province to pay for additional expenses that are not required for an “existing” building.

Local governments with Division Administration Units and Lower Mainland District Integrated Units occupying space in the new building will face additional costs in proportion to the space they are utilizing. The RCMP continues to invoice municipalities for these costs. Some have chosen to pay immediately while others have decided to defer payment. The Province offered to pay fair market rent, but the federal government rejected that offer. The Committee has supported the Province’s position that this is an “existing” building.

Severance Pay


The Federal Government terminated RCMP Members’ entitlement to accumulate severance pay for voluntary resignations and retirements effective March 31, 2012. The termination of severance pay will generate savings in the long run. However, provinces and territories disagreed with the Federal Government’s unilateral decision on a lump sum payout as they wanted to pay the accumulated severance entitlement over the 20-year Police Service Agreements. They also disagreed with the enhanced policy that included Members who wouldn’t normally be entitled to the accumulated severance pay as of March 31, 2012 and, to pay out for partial years (instead of complete years) of service. The Province will be re-engaging the Federal Government in 2016 after briefing Mike Morris, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, on this issue.

Cost-Share for Integrated Teams

During contract negotiations for the 2012 police service agreement, Public Safety Canada stated their support for integrated teams to be cost-shared at 70/30 and, they did not dispute the inclusion of IHIT and some other major crime integrated positions in the Provincial Annex A.  However, Public Safety Canada has subsequently rescinded their position and instructed the RCMP to bill participating RCMP municipalities with a population of 15,000 and greate at 90/10.  The difference between a 70/30 and 90/10 cost-share for IHIT is approximately $4 million annually.

5-Year Review


The Province discussed their deadlines regarding the 5-year review, and in particular how local government feedback needs to be received prior to February 2016 in order to be considered for the Province’s submission to the federal government. Committee members also discussed the level of feedback received thus far, and UBCM’s recent endeavour to solicit feedback: a letter to all mayors of municipalities with populations of 5,000 or more who currently receive policing services from the RCMP.

Police Act

UBCM has recently begun discussion with the Province about providing feedback to the Police Act, as per Action Item #16 of the British Columbia Policing and Community Safety Plan. In October 2015, Clayton Pecknold sent a letter to Gary MacIsaac about facilitating local government input into the Police Act review. Since that time, the Province has presented to UBCM’s Community Safety Committee, where it was requested that the deadline to provide feedback be extended. UBCM will continue to work with the Province to provide a proper and substantive feedback process for local governments, beginning in early 2016.



BC Municipal Companion Document Working Group


The Province confirmed that a draft of the BC Municipal Companion Document would be shared with the BC Municipal Companion Document Working Group early in 2016. Working Group representatives requested that this document be presented to the LGCMC for review and feedback.



National Contract Management Committee Update


The LGCMC representative at the National Contract Management Committee meetings discussed the recent meeting in Ottawa, and some of the main issues discussed, including auxiliary police duties and uniforms, the RCMP website under the umbrella of the Government of Canada website, Shared Services Canada’s attempt to balance savings with a properly functioning police service at the local level, and the RCMP labour relations survey that went out to RCMP members but not local governments (due to Public Safety Canada confidentiality rules).



2) RCMP Update

Pay Council Report/Compensation


The RCMP reported there is currently a confidential report to Cabinet regarding RCMP compensation that even the RCMP has not seen. The RCMP will provide as much detail as possible at each LGCMC meeting. The municipal multi-year plans include provisions for the anticipated pay and compensation increase.

New Labour Relations Model


The RCMP is the only major police department in Canada without a union. The Supreme Court provided the federal government one year to establish a new labour relations model; while they are 80% complete, the federal government is expected to ask for an extension (note: a 4 month extension was received in January 2016). To gauge the interest of RCMP members, a labour relations consultant went across Canada, conducting ‘town hall’ meetings with all departments. Additionally, the RCMP conducted a members-only online survey which showed that wages/benefits and working conditions were the most important issues to members.



Vacancy Management


Depot is currently operating near capacity, with the ability to produce 30 troops (1 troop = 32 people) per year. National recruiting is also going well, with the RCMP meeting or exceeding its targets over the past several years. When asked about requesting an RCMP officer, the LGCMC was told that a municipality can realistically expect it to take one year, on average, until that officer arrives.



Terrorism


The present threat level is medium. RCMP continues to monitor events throughout the world, especially in the aftermath of the Paris attacks. The RCMP will be doing an exercise in February that may involve local governments but to what extent has not yet been determined.



Body Worn Cameras


Popular in the United States, these devices are likely coming to Canada in the near future. The costs of a BWC is $800/unit, but the real cost is in data storage and security of storage. There are also policy issues to consider. For example, when should an officer turn the BWC on and when should it be turned off. There are other nuances to work out, including privacy issues (i.e. people accidentally in videos), and the right of an RCMP member to review a video of him/herself using force prior to writing an incident report. Currently, there has been no decision on who would pay for these cameras. The LGCMC was quick to note that municipalities need to be consulted in-depth prior to a final decision. The Province was concerned about having a venue for discussion prior to potentially receiving a bill for the cameras without any notice. Both local governments and the Province expressed concern over the potential costs.



Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women Inquiry (MMIW)


Canada will form a committee to meet with relevant stakeholders throughout the country. Through these discussions, the nature of the inquiry will be determined. It is anticipated that in 2016 an outline of the inquiry will be available, with the actual MMIW Inquiry to begin in 2017. BC and the Prairies will be a focus.



Auxiliary Constables


There has been an agreement in Canada on a number of points: retaining the auxiliary program; ending ride-alongs due to the risk posed to unarmed persons in a police vehicle; changing the uniform (formal, but not police-like); developing a matrix on specific duties (through the years there has been scope creep); consistent training for auxiliaries across the country; and, where a province has legislation, that the province takes over responsibility (LGCMC will be engaged on this point). The origin of all these discussions and potential changes was the October 2014 shooting on Parliament Hill. The LGCMC was interested in making sure all local governments would be consulted on this issue. The RCMP representative did acknowledge that communities would be consulted.



Moncton Report


The report was completed on the June 2014 incident and made 64 recommendations, covering training, equipment and supervision. The RCMP has agreed to implement all recommendations in the report. In particular, by April 2016, 25% of front line members will be trained to use carbines (high powered rifles).



Shared Services Canada


The RCMP has issues with quality of services being provided by Shared Services Canada. For local governments, the best way to provide input is through detachments to senior officers who can bring concerns to their executive committees. When asked how local governments could support the RCMP to ensure that issues/concerns are heard by Public Safety Canada, the RCMP representative felt that individual files giving examples why the consolidation of Shared Services is not working from various municipalities with a mayor’s endorsement would make arguments more compelling.



RCMP Website


The LGCMC asked about the flexibility available to include local information on the new consolidated RCMP website that will fall under a broad Government of Canada website. The RCMP will report back to the Committee at a future meeting.



DNA Requests


The RCMP has not yet developed a set of checks/balances for investigators who require samples be sent to the federal DNA bank/lab. They do want to have a more robust system of approval given cost and sensitivities. The RCMP were optimistic that they would have a more detailed update on oversight at the next LGCMC meeting.


The Local Government Contract Management Committee would appreciate your feedback on any of the RCMP contract and other policing issues identified above. UBCM members who have questions or comments are encouraged to contact Bhar Sihota, UBCM Policy Analyst.

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