Wednesday, January 20, 2021

UBCM cautions Municipal governments to prepare for potential policing cost increases

With many Municipal forces, like Prince Rupert, currently hosting the RCMP as their civic policing agency, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities has offered up some advice for elected officials and Finance Departments, that of a need to prepare for increased costs around salaries for those who protect and serve us.

In an update for Municipal governments today, the UBCM took note of ongoing negotiations between the Federal government and the recently created National Police Federation and how with a salary freeze now in place over four years and with a 15 to 20 percent pay gap between RCMP and other municipal agencies, 2021 may prove to be a year for catch up in a number of areas.

As part of their research on behalf of Municipal government the UBCM reviewed the collective agreements currently in place in BC as well as in some of Canada's largest population centres. 

Their findings noted:

Wage parity is being achieved amongst municipal police forces. This becomes more apparent when examining collective agreements concluded over the past 3 years 

The starting salary at most of the police agencies included in the review was greater than $70,000 per year, which is over 30% more than what is initially offered by the RCMP ($53,144 for the first 6 months of service)

The salary for a first class constable at most of the police agencies included in the review was greater than $100,000 per year, which is over 15% more than what is offered by the RCMP ($86,110). 

It is also important to note that RCMP salaries have been frozen since December 31, 2016, when the most recent pay package expired. While RCMP National Headquarters has previously instructed Divisions to project a 2.5% pay increase retroactive to this date, the above information suggests this annual projected rate will likely be insufficient. 

The UBCM report also flags how those salary expectations and other associated costs of Policing could impact on municipal budget making this year.

Given the potential for a significant salary increase for RCMP Members, as well as other operational changes that could have a financial impact on police budgets, UBCM continues to advise local governments to plan for potential cost increases. 

Although it is unknown when a collective agreement will be reached, the National Police Federation - the union representing RCMP Members - has stated that it is aiming to have an agreement to present to its membership for approval by the summer of 2021.

For more notes on emergency services in the Northwest see our archive page here.

The path of putting together the Municipal budget can be followed from our Budget archive page here.  

Themes of Discussion from City Council can be explored here.

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