RCMP Contract Management Committee Update

On February 16, 2021, the 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 and Federal Treasury Board Secretariat. Due to the confidential nature of negotiations, additional information could not be shared during the meeting. Members discussed the need to inform local governments and provide early communication where possible.

Surrey Transition

Contract partners have expressed concerns that national programs, consolidated services, and BC’s divisional administration costs may rise as a result of the transition. Some expect that there may be a reduction in corporate services to correspond with the reduction in total RCMP members. LGCMC members expressed a desire to receive information regarding potential impacts as soon as possible so they can be accommodated within local government budgets.

2021-22 Five Year Review

LGCMC members considered information received from BC local government contract partners, agreeing to forward all feedback to the Province by early March.

Body Worn Cameras

The federal government is seeking to implement the use of Body Worn Cameras, with a rollout expected over the next 12-18 months. The federal government has committed to covering costs for the first three years of implementation, after which the full financial responsibility will be transferred to contract partners. Given the associated costs, a working group is being established to manage implementation and rollout. B.C. has nominated one provincial and one local government CMC representative to participate on the working group. LGCMC members expressed concerns that this initiative is being downloaded to local governments. 

RCMP Auxiliary Program

All provinces and territories, including British Columbia, are examining the RCMP’s most recent proposal. Meanwhile, the Province has also established a new working group to explore the idea of a long-term provincial auxiliary policing program that would meet local needs and, if implemented, operate in place of the federal program. 

Pension Panel Report (as first reported in November 2020)

The 11th Pension Panel Report, as endorsed by the national Contract Management Committee, will set the employer’s contribution rate at 19.44% of pensionable salaries for the next three fiscal years. Local governments are aware of the potential charge forthcoming as this item has been included in the CMC Matrix for potential costs/savings that accompany each 5 Year Financial Plan.

Vision 150 and BC RCMP Strategic Plan

RCMP employees were solicited to submit initiatives they would like considered within the Vision 150 modernization framework. The BC RCMP is also nearing completion of a draft Strategic Plan and will seek to circulate it to stakeholders for feedback.

Regular Member Demand/Vacancies

Of the approximately 400 cadets that graduated from Depot this year, 145 were deployed to British Columbia. E-Division placed an emphasis on allocating members to small detachments and isolated posts. Next year the RCMP is expecting to graduate 34 troops, which after projected attrition should mean approximately 1,000 new members. 

Major RCMP Operational Issues

RCMP representatives discussed four key operational issues:  COVID-19; new positions; pipelines; and the gang conflict in the Lower Mainland District. 

  • Following the Province’s initial focus on education and voluntary compliance with COVID-19 regulations, the RCMP is now engaged in additional enforcement activities.
  • Last year the Province added 40 new members, with many posted to rural/remote detachments.
  • The RCMP continues to manage issues associated with the Coastal GasLink and Trans Mountain pipelines.
  • The Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit is working hard to address the spike in Lower Mainland gang violence.

RCMP Occupancy Lease Agreements

The Working Group has been meeting since January 2020 on a semi-regular basis in an effort to develop a consistent approach across BC to negotiating and re-negotiating occupancy lease agreements. 

Police Act Review

The LGCMC discussed the ongoing review of the Police Act, including some of the key areas of focus (e.g. systemic racism, governance, transparency, oversight, business acumen, etc.). LGCMC members supported the need for a comprehensive review, citing among other things the impacts of mental health calls and homelessness on policing and bylaw enforcement. 

South Island Police Dispatch

The Committee discussed the recent decision to consolidate police dispatch services in the South Island region, including local government concerns pertaining to communication and cost impacts. 

Provincial Auxiliary Program

The Province has established a working group that will explore a long-term provincial auxiliary policing program. Through the working group, local governments will be provided with an opportunity to provide input into the development of a provincial program.

Sherriff’s Daytime Bail Hearings

The Province has introduced new courthouse measures and modified procedures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Among these measures are new bail hearing procedures that allow prisoners to appear before a judge via video or telephone from within municipal detachment cells. Changes have increased risk, liability and costs to affected local governments.

LGCMC and CMC Appointments

With all LGCMC appointments expiring at once, the UBCM Executive will be appointing nine new members at its next meeting.

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