RCMP Contract Management Committee Update

On November 3, 2016, 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 following summary highlights key issues discussed at the meeting.

1)    Working Group Discussion Items

Auxiliary Constable Program Options
In October 2016, the Province informed UBCM that National Crime Prevention Services had prepared an options paper for consideration by provincial and territorial partners (PTs), among others. This paper was a result of a national working group, which developed recommendations that informed a subsequent consultation process, leading to three options for consideration by relevant stakeholders. Options included: 1) maintaining the status quo, without the participation of Auxiliary Constables in general duty patrols or the provision of firearms familiarization; 2) implementing a Community Corps type program, where Auxiliary Constables would only participate in community policing services; and, 3) providing a three-tier program where ACs would conduct different levels of policing determined by their level of training and experience. UBCM conducted a survey of its membership, with 90% of respondents favouring option 3 (three-tiered program).

Naloxone Funding
RCMP members have been provided shipments of naloxone, which they may now also administer on citizens requiring treatment/assistance. The Province is working on the implementation of a Premier Christy Clark announcement that “…$5 million will be invested in additional priority areas identified by the task force, including issuing naloxone and naloxone training to police and RCMP.” Until such time as this announcement is implemented, municipalities will not be billed for these costs. It is unclear at this time how much of this funding will be allocated towards naloxone kits and training, and whether local governments will be financially responsible for naloxone kits once the provincial funding has been exhausted. The Province is engaging the federal government to commit resources towards drug enforcement.

Salary Increases
RCMP members last received a salary raise in January 2014. One year later, the RCMP released a business case focusing on reducing the compensation gap between the RCMP and the average of the top three of eight comparator police services in Canada. Over the past 10 years, the total compensation gap between the RCMP and the average of the top three of eight comparator police forces increased from 2.00% to 9.61%. Members were reminded to continue forecasting the increase, and that any salary increases will be retroactive to January 2015.

Operational Clothing Allowance
In January 2016, the Treasury Board secretariat approved the new list of job codes eligible for the Operational Clothing Allowance (OCA), retroactive to April 2013. As a result, municipalities will see a slight decrease in projected savings, with the retroactive impact estimated by E-Division to be less than $10,000 for 95% of municipalities. This item was slated for the April Contract Management Committee (CMC) meeting, but was deferred, due to the lack of information at the time, to the November CMC meeting and to emphasize the importance of proper consultation. Until a decision is made, municipalities may choose to either pay their 2015/16 invoices or request the amount be removed until a decision is rendered at the fall CMC meeting.

Five Year Review Update
Committee members discussed the issues brought forward by local governments as part of the Five Year RCMP Contract Review. The re-occurring theme was the lack of consultation and the need for improvement in this area. The Province discussed the next steps of the review, which include additional review, discussion, decision and action phases, all of which are to be completed within one year, as per the terms of the RCMP contract. Provincial representatives provided an update on all 10 categories of substantive issues for review, paying particular attention to issues related to governance, consultation and roles and responsibilities. Recommendations are expected in Spring 2016 for consideration by Assistant Deputy Ministers (ADMs).

Directed Reviews
Under the current agreement, national programs such as cadet training, recruiting, and police dogs are billed as a flat rate. After three years, partners are to be billed at actual costs. As such, partners have hired MNP to conduct a directed review. As of May 2016, Phase 1 (exploratory phase) of the review which identified 21 areas of improvement, was completed. To date, four of the 21 recommendations have been implemented and a number of others have been resolved. PTs will discuss whether to proceed to Phase 2 at the CMC meeting.

Police Dog Service Training Centre Review Scoping Document
This document identifies program information, performance metrics, etc. as areas for review. The Province has provided feedback to the RCMP regarding the scoping document and identified concerns that the review might not be fulsome and objective enough to answer PT questions. Feedback recommended that a steering committee be formed and that an independent contractor perform the review, looking outside of Canada for like comparators and best practices. PTs are still waiting for an RCMP response to their feedback.

In early May 2016, the RCMP made changes to its recruiting process. Changes include but are not limited to:

  • Allowing people with permanent resident status to apply, as long as they have lived in Canada for the past 10 years;
  • Testing physical abilities at the training academy, and not requiring a physical abilities evaluation as part of the application process;
  • Allowing those with a minimum 2-year college diploma to forego writing the entrance exam;
  • Permitting applicants from BC (as well as Alberta and Saskatchewan) to select their home province for their first posting after graduation.

Preliminary indications are that the changes are having a positive impact on the number of yearly applicants. PTs have requested that this item become a standing item for the CMC. No consultation took place before the changes were announced.

Multi-Year Plans for National Programs
Currently, partners receive a report containing information regarding national programs for the current year. At the last CMC meeting, the RCMP tabled multi-year plans for national programs (e.g. training, recruiting, dogs). PTs are demanding financial updates throughout the year as the forecasted increases have financial implications on PTs and municipalities. PTs are anticipating a more fulsome picture of the anticipated growth in the number of troops going through Depot over the next five years and the correlated impacts. RCMP have committed to providing updates through the National Programs Standing Committee

HR Standing Committee
The CMC looked to address health medical clearances for recruiting at the recent meeting in Ottawa. RCMP feel medical clearances are taking too long and outsourcing this function (estimated at $2000/member) would substantially improve processing times for new recruits. PTs believe that the RCMP should be responsible for assuming the cost. PTs are not satisfied with the current level of consultation, and although they support the process, they do not support the cost. Leave liability and managing excessive overtime were also discussed in Ottawa. The RCMP are interested in establishing a tighter framework around how much officers are allowed to accumulate, and they will need to make decisions on how to handle previously accrued leave. PTs have conveyed their support for changing the policy to reduce the amount of accumulation allowed, to be more consistent with police comparators. PTs also advised that payouts would be problematic for most jurisdictions and that the RCMP need to manage down the leave liability and absorb this cost from within their existing budgets.

Outstanding Negotiation Items
There is currently no resolution to the disputes over Green Timbers, severance payment and the cost share for integrated teams, although there is currently a renewed push towards resolution. The Province will be meeting with Public Safety Canada in the near future to better understand the gap between their offers. It is expected that at this time, Public Safety Canada will present an offer to the Province. Although some issues are closer to resolution than others, bundling these together provides BC with leverage to resolve all three. The Province has endeavoured to bring local governments into the discussion once an offer has been received.

BC Municipal Companion Document Working Group
Provincial representatives discussed the status of the Working Group, which recently met for the third time. The Working Group is expected to complete a first draft of the BC Municipal Companion Document by Spring 2016, prior to the next LGCMC meeting.

Federal Re-Engineering Update
In 2011, the Federal Re-Engineering Initiative was launched with the goal of making the federal policing service delivery model more flexible and adaptive to operational priorities. This initiative looks to streamline the federal policing program, improve information sharing and aligning resources to address operational priorities. One of the items this initiative will focus on is updating the process to determine how many cadets are needed. Essentially, this initiative will look get as many cadets through Depot as possible in the most efficient manner.

Labour Relations Update
On March 9, 2016, following the January 2015 Supreme Court decision, the federal government tabled Bill C-7 to create a new labour relations structure for RCMP members and reservists. Similar to members’ preferences, the new legislation included collective bargaining rights and the right to binding arbitration as the method for dispute resolution. There is no right to strike. Since that time, the Senate Standing Committee on National Security and Defense has unanimously voted to remove specific exemptions from Bill C-7 (related to issues such as promotions, discharges and demotions, harassment, equipment, etc.) that require the Bill pass through the legislature. Committee members discussed impacts on BC local governments, including scheduling in smaller/rural detachments and other occupational health and safety implications.

LGCMC Committee Appointments
As per the LGCMC Terms of Reference (ToR), nine local government representatives are appointed by the UBCM Executive to sit on the Committee. Five of those members will have their terms expire at the end of the calendar year.

The ToR also stipulates that one member of the UBCM Executive be appointed to sit as a co-chair. The Executive representative does not have a term limit. Burnaby Councillor Sav Dhaliwal has recently completed his 1-year term as UBCM Past President, and as such will no longer sit on the Committee.

2)    RCMP Update

Emergency Response Team
The full time Emergency Response Team in the Lower Mainland District is working well and is properly trained. The provincial government and the RCMP are considering a similar capability for the rest of the Province. Minimum standards are to be developed and interoperability between police agencies is to be a key consideration.

Division Administrative Health Costs
The RCMP discussed the increase in supplemental health costs, predominantly to do with chiropractor and physiotherapy costs. The RCMP will be monitoring the changes and will keep the LGCMC apprised of any new developments.

Disability Case Managers
Approved by the Minister, nine oversight coordinators have been hired at E-Division, and will work to proactively manage those on disability leave in an effort to get them back to work and to reduce vacancies. A policy framework as well as a case management tool for improved reporting will be developed. Nationally, the program is expected to cost about $4 million per year. Current cost of people on disability leave is over $100 million per year. E-Division should see roughly a $2.3M savings in administrative costs as a result of this program. RCMP will endeavour to provide a more comprehensive update at the next LGCMC meeting.

E-Division Review of Police Dog Services
The current review is looking at the deployment in the Province and searching for efficiencies. The concept of “hubbing” dog teams throughout the province to minimize costs while keeping service levels high is a point of focus for the review.

Vacancy Report
At the last LGCMC meeting, members requested the vacancy report for the Province. This report has not yet been provided to local governments. The RCMP noted the number of troops per year is rising to 40 (from 32), and the return to work program will assist in reducing vacancies. Once the RCMP is able to analyze both of these factors, they can produce a better report and have a better understanding of the vacancy issue in BC.

Shared Services Canada
Members discussed the service delivery methods used by Shared Services Canada, expressing some frustration regarding the lack of efficiency. RCMP representatives were willing to discuss examples of shared services failures as well as ways to improve the system.

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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