RCMP Contract Management Committee Update

On November 22, 2017, 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. This article highlights key issues discussed at the meeting.

Please note: this information is accurate as of November 22, 2017.

1)    Working Group Discussion Items

RCMP Outstanding Issues Update

Provincial representatives provided an update on the status of three long-standing issues (Severance, Green Timbers, IHIT). The Province most recently met with Public Safety Canada in November 2017 with the objective of resolving these issues.

RCMP Labour Relations Update

There was very little new information to provide on this issue beyond Bill C-7 receiving Royal Assent on June 19, 2017. Local government members were concerned about having a local government voice at the table and being able to provide local government perspectives and input into the new system.

Municipal Companion Document Update

The Province is currently in the process of updating the Municipal Companion Document to reflect changes made by the Working Group and other pertinent changes (e.g. those from the Five Year Review), and having BC legal counsel provide a review. Once these tasks are completed, the Working Group will conduct another review prior to submitting the document to the LGCMC for review.

CMC Standing Committee Updates

Much of the Standing Committee’s work has been focussed on completing the Five Year Review and implementing outcomes approved by CMC. In response to the need to improve mental health support for members, the RCMP is recommending mandatory psychological health assessments every three years, to be conducted at the same time as the Periodic Health Assessment. Additionally, the Investigator Development Program, targeting front line members with 1-5 years of service, is being considered. It has been piloted in BC since 2014, intending to develop “fundamental investigation skills” among officers.

5 Year Review

Working groups are currently focussed on implementing recommendations; a large portion of this work has been tabled for ADMs to consider in December 2017. Big themes coming out of the Review are the need for improved consultation, clarifying roles and responsibilities (e.g. through edits to the Companion Document), and improved implementation of the agreements. The Province re-iterated that the Review was a review of the contract, not a re-negotiation. All issues had to be agreed to by the provinces and territories. An update was provided on all municipal issues that were either specific to BC or considered out of scope for the 5 Year Review.

Vacancy Management

LGCMC members discussed issues with replacing members in their detachments. Concerns varied from the length of time it takes to replace a member, to members being persuaded to join other municipal police agencies. Depot is currently ramping up as much as possible, but even at maximum is barely able to produce enough new members to meet the demand caused by normal attrition. RCMP is also trying to improve disability case management to get more members back to work as soon as possible.

Cannabis Legalization Update

Local governments have formed a standing committee (Joint Provincial-Local Government Committee on Cannabis Legalization) to provide local perspectives and advise the provincial government as it develops a provincial framework for legalized cannabis. With regards to inspections and enforcement, provincial representatives indicated that a robust inspection regime, funded by provincial and federal governments, would be in place to manage the new system. The main policing issues are related to impaired driving, with the federal government working on a device that detects the presence of cannabis, not the amount. The Province is hoping that devices and officer training are paid for through a recent financial commitment by the federal government. Moving forward, these will be ongoing local government costs.

Naloxone Funding

The Province has the funds to provide naloxone, at no cost to local governments, for at least the next 12-18 months. Intra-nasal kits cost $99, and injectable devices cost $12. Since being provided with naloxone, police officers have administered over 250 life-saving doses.

Local Government Policing Hub

UBCM and the Province are working to develop a local government hub of information, called the Local Government Policing Communications Portal, to provide broad information on contract policing in BC. LGCMC members supported this initiative.

2)    RCMP Update

Acknowledgements – BC Wildfire Thank You

RCMP representatives showed appreciation for the cooperation of local governments, including councils, staff, non-profit organizations and volunteers. There were over 4,200 single deployments of members into the wildfires. Costs are still being tallied, but currently sitting at $33 million (including salary dollars) with other details being worked through by the Province and RCMP. 

Acknowledgements – UBCM Recap Thank You

“E” Division received 23 meeting requests during the 2017 Convention (two of which were withdrawn for various reasons). Meetings were well organized and very informative. Commitments made at these meetings are being addressed internally, and letters forthcoming to relevant local governments. There were several themes that emerged during these meetings, in particular staffing and vacancy management. Another theme was mental health issues and calls. A big message during UBCM 2017 was the need for RCMP collaboration with communities on these types of issues. 

Jordan Decision

The Supreme Court Decision on R. v Jordan set hard limits on time between charge and trial. The corresponding BC Supreme Court Practice Directive has been in place since September 1, 2017. Similar rules are likely coming to provincial courts. Moving forward, the Crown will only approve charges if they have “substantially complete” disclosure to seek approvals and detention. Law enforcement and Justice are still assessing the full impact of the Jordan Decision. More information will be shared when it becomes available.

40 MM Less Lethal – Extended Range Impact Weapon

A less lethal option to replace the 12 gauge extended range impact weapon (ERIW). This weapon has longer range, is more accurate, and overall is more effective by firing a blunt impact projectile. The Province has approved a one-year pilot. As part of this pilot, 37 40 MM ERIWs and necessary member training will also be provided. Roughly 92 members will be trained as part of the pilot project. Results of the pilot project will be communicated to the LGCMC.

Opioid Response Update

From January 2017 to October 2017, the RCMP recorded over 1,000 suspected illicit drug overdose deaths (compared to over 600 at the same time last year). However, there have not been any deaths at supervised consumption sites or overdose prevention sites. $14 million over three years has been provided for an Operation Anti-Trafficking Task Force, and another $5 million over three years for Provincial Tactical Enforcement projects. Fume hoods and ion scanners have been purchased where most needed. As of November 2017, 96% of RCMP “E” Division’s operational members have been trained on how to administer naloxone. RCMP members recorded over 255 naloxone deployments between January and October 2017.

Auxiliary Program

Tier 1 and Tier 2 are ready and may be signed off on in the near future so that the RCMP may roll them out. Tier 3 is still under development, likely to be ready by early 2018. Reviews and consultations with various stakeholders were held at National Headquarters with respect to insurance, medical clearance, training and policy. The costs of proposed additions to the existing uniform are $600 per current Auxiliary, and $2,500 for incoming Auxiliary. RCMP members will also have to take a course before they are able to have an Auxiliary in their vehicles.

Drug Recognition Experts (RCMP Preparations for Cannabis Legalization)

The RCMP expressed difficulty in getting oral fluid screening devices, training members on how to use them, and getting these devices in use prior to July 2018. There are currently 92 certified Drug Recognition Experts in British Columbia (65 from “E” Division), with the legalization of cannabis requiring another 400 or so over the next 5 years to meet the Public Safety Canada recommended target. BC is hoping to utilize federal funding to train members and provide devices, hopefully mitigating start up costs (but not ongoing costs) for local governments.

Vacancy Management (Protocols for Filling Vacancies & Labour Relations Update)

BC is exceeding its recruiting goals by getting more back than it is providing to Depot. The Province is on track to exceed recruiting goals at 140% level. There is also an added focus on getting people back to work as part of the Disability Management Program. One LGCMC member noted how the length of time to fill detachment commander positions is too long.

Investigator Development Program

A non-mandatory program that includes online and classroom components. The online course includes 9 modules and 3 days in the classroom (total of 42 hours of training). This program is targeted towards General Duty Members with 1-5 years of service. Thus far, 40% of members with less than 5 years of service (655) have been trained. It is funded through the existing core training budget and unit travel budget.

Shared Services Canada

The RCMP is waiting for a decision from the Minister in regards to what the future will hold for Shared Services Canada.

Emergency Response Team Update

Currently, there is a full-time Lower Mainland Emergency Response Team (ERT), and three part-time teams for the three other Districts. The part-time team delivery model is not sustainable with team members having difficultly completing the required training and attending the ERT calls for service while maintaining their full-time job requirements at their home units. The RCMP has submitted a business case to move to a full-time team. In the meantime, the RCMP is proposing a hybrid team (8 full-time members, remainder part-time). Also, a number of equipment pieces are being considered, namely night vision goggles ($12,000 per set) and new body armour system ($7,000 each). The Province is working with the RCMP to develop options for a full-time ERT outside the Lower Mainland. There will be consultation and communication with local governments as options are developed.

Police Dog Service Review Update

The RCMP has submitted the Police Dog Service review to the Province, who are currently reviewing and providing feedback. There is also an ongoing cost-comparison study between the RCMP’s police dog program and similar programs of other Canadian law enforcement agencies (e.g. VPD dog program).

Multi Year Plan Process Update

Public Safety Canada is looking to streamline the provincial multi-year plan, while the process with respect to municipalities will experience very little change. The provincial process will be enhanced with a more comprehensive and detailed planning process. The new process aims to better appraise all contract partners of medium and long-term investment and operational cost pressures to better help inform their annual and long-term budget plans.

Homelessness

Since 2014, the number of people living in the Lower Mainland without a permanent residence has risen 30%. The RCMP is aware of increasing concerns and a desire from local governments to address homelessness and associated camps, particularly in the Lower Mainland District. The RCMP is looking at a process to engage with local governments on this issue. Local government LGCMC members expressed a desire to help with this issue.

The Local Government Contract Management Committee appreciates 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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