RCMP Contract Management Committee Update

On August 27, 2020, the RCMP Local Government Contract Management Committee met with provincial and RCMP representatives to discuss issues related to the RCMP contract and policing in British Columbia. Key issues discussed at the meeting are summarized in this article. 

RCMP Labour Relations

Committee members received an update on the status of collective bargaining between the National Police Federation (NPF) and Federal Treasury Board Secretariat. Due to the confidential nature of negotiations, very little new information could be shared during the meeting. 

RCMP Strategic Plan and Modernization Initiative

The RCMP has been working on the development of a Strategic Direction Document to outline some of the modernization initiatives it is seeking to advance. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic and recent police incidents in Canada and the USA, the RCMP will be taking these issues and events into consideration before finalizing this document. 

RCMP Auxiliary Program

The RCMP officially terminated the former Auxiliary Program on April 1, 2020. As a result, the Province sent a letter to those BC local governments currently operating an Auxiliary Program to gauge the level of interest in temporarily adopting the new RCMP Auxiliary Program (Tier 3) while a made-in-BC solution is being examined.

Body Worn Cameras

The Prime Minister and RCMP Commissioner have committed to exploring the use of Body Worn Cameras for police officers. As a result, the RCMP will be conducting a pilot project to explore whether previous concerns (e.g. technology, battery packs/cold temperature, data storage, privacy, etc.) have been resolved. The RCMP Commissioner has also committed to consulting with provinces, territories and local governments given the costs associated with this item.

National Recruiting and Cadet Training Program

Depot closed operations in mid-March as a result of COVID-19. In early July, it re-opened with a smaller number of cadets returning to ensure public health recommendations and physical distancing is maintained while training resumes. As a result of the shutdown, the number of graduating cadets will be significantly less than earlier projections. The RCMP is exploring possible retrofits to Depot to increase the number of cadets that can be safely accommodated.

During the first few months of the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCMP made several changes to its recruiting job poster and website (e.g. using more inclusive language, and changing requirements for permanent residents). The RCMP is now working to re-engage recruits in a manner respecting current health guidelines. 

Surrey Transition

Public Safety Canada and the RCMP have created the Surrey Policing Transition Committee, responsible for developing recommendations and sharing information related to the transition with the Province of BC. 

Conversion of Civilian Members

The deeming date for Civilian Members has been once again deferred. Provinces and territories continue to advocate for the federal government to honour the spirit of the 2012 Policing Agreements, and ensure local governments do not absorb any additional costs as a result of the decision to convert civilian members to public service employees.

Vision 150

In addition to discussing Body Worn Cameras (see above), initiatives under review are being tracked on the RCMP’s Vision 150 webpage.

Federal Policing

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the RCMP has re-allocated resources to focus on Canada’s borders.

Major RCMP Operational Issues

RCMP representatives discussed three key operational issues:  COVID-19; new positions; and protests.

  • E-Division has created an internal team to manage COVID-19 concerns.
  • The Province has recently created 40 new positions, including 13 that were allocated to the provincial support team.
  • The RCMP continues to respond to protests at resource-based projects in BC.

Police Act Review

The newly created Special Committee on Reforming the Police Act has been given until May 14, 2021 to review legislation, consult with stakeholders, and complete its final report. As part of this process, there will be an opportunity for all contract partners, including local governments, to provide input. UBCM’s Executive representative emphasized the importance of local input given the local government role in funding police services.

Settlement of RCMP Legacy Items & Communication

Local government representatives were appreciative that the Province and federal government had resolved these long-standing issues. Parties also discussed enhancing the UBCM-PSSG coordinated communication process.

Policing Transition Evaluation Framework

Local governments and the Province discussed the use of this framework in the Surrey transition process. The four-member transition committee (Province, Public Safety Canada, City of Surrey, RCMP) continues to work to ensure a smooth policing transition.  

LGCMC Communication

Members discussed the alignment of communication, including how to best share information from the LGCMC to other policing committees. 

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