RCMP Unionization and Implementation of the Collective Agreement (CPB)
Costs to Provincial, Territorial and Municipal RCMP contract policing partners resulting from the new collective agreement with the National Police Federation.
- Policing represents a significant cost for all communities.
- With the new collective agreement, RCMP salaries are in-line with other police services across Canada.
- It is fair for RCMP officers and reasonable for Canadian taxpayers.
- Contract jurisdictions benefit from policing costs that are shared with the Government of Canada.
- The Police Service Agreements are clear that salary increases are costs to be shared with the contract jurisdictions.
- Officials will work with contract policing jurisdictions on timelines for payment.
- As the employer, the Government of Canada was responsible for negotiating the collective agreement with the National Police Federation.
The Minister of Public Safety (PS) is accountable for the management and conduct of the RCMP and for the extent and quality of the services it provides, including under the 166 Police Service Agreements (PSAs or contracts) between the Government of Canada (GC) and provincial, territorial and municipal (P/T/M) governments where the RCMP provides front-line policing services.
The cost to provide and maintain contract policing — including salaries and equipment — is cost-shared with contract jurisdictions. For P/T/Ms with less than 15,000 population, the ratio is 70 (provincial) / 30 (federal). For municipalities over 15,000 population, the ratio is 90:10.
Non-contract provinces (Ontario and Quebec) and municipalities (e.g., Toronto, Calgary, Regina, Fredericton) pay 100% of the costs of front-line policing.
Collective agreement with the National Police Federation (NPF)
Following a 2015 Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) decision that provided the RCMP with collective bargaining rights for the first time in its 150-year history, the GC committed to establish a modern labour relations regime for the RCMP. On June 19, 2017, Bill C-7, An Act to amend the Public Service Labour Relations Act, the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board Act and other Acts and to provide for certain other measures received Royal Assent. Bill C-7 created a new labour relations regime applicable to RCMP Regular Members (RMs) (below Inspector rank) and Reservists in response to the 2015 SCC decision in Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Canada (Attorney General). This SCC decision also confirmed Treasury Board as the employer of the RCMP.
The legislation took into account the specific circumstances of the RCMP as Canada’s national police force and provided RMs and Reservists with the ability to pursue their interest through collective bargaining. In accordance with the SCC decision, the legislation also provided them with a choice in the selection of workplace goals and representation, and a sufficient degree of independence from management to ensure that a representative association’s activities would be aligned with those of its members.
The NPF was confirmed as the certified bargaining agent and served notice to bargain to the Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) on July 15, 2019. An agreement in principle was reached with the NPF to establish a first collective agreement for close to 20,000 RCMP RMs and reservists on June 10, 2021, and the collective agreement was signed and came into effect upon signature on August 6, 2021. It is valid to March 31, 2023.
Collective agreement negotiations are confidential to ensure that the outcome is fair for both sides.
As part of this new collective agreement, the salaries for regular members and reservists represented by the NPF will increase by just under 24% (the maximum pay for a Constable will move from $86,110 (April 1, 2016) to $106,576 (on April 1, 2022), a 23.77% increase. RCMP salaries are now in-line with other police services across Canada. For example, the salary increase and retroactive payments will establish parity with the Ontario Provincial Police — the best comparator — by April 1, 2022. As RCMP regular members and reservists have been keeping communities safe without any raise in pay since April 1, 2017, the collective agreement pays retroactive salary costs for policing services that have already been provided.
Under the Police Service Agreements, P/T/Ms are required to pay their share of the impact of the collective agreement for the 13,760 RCMP members that work in the contract policing program.
In fiscal year 2021–22, the negotiated agreement cost is approximately $1.4B — this incorporates retroactive pay increases dating back to April 1, 2017, with ongoing costs projected to be $624M. P/T/M’s share is estimated at between $729-752M and $319-330M ongoing.
In 2021–22, the RCMP will access funding for the full retroactive cost of the collective agreement. As contract partners begin to pay for retroactive costs in 2022–23, those revenues will be deposited to the consolidated revenue fund. Ongoing costs will generate revenue from contract partners and will be treated as re-spendable revenue, consistent with existing practices within the Contract Policing Special Purpose Allotment. To note, the RCMP’s funding strategy will allow for timely payments to members that is not contingent on the timing of revenue from contract partners.
Prospective salary rate changes were implemented on October 6, 2021, in advance of the 90 days from signature of the collective agreement required by the negotiated settlement. These will be reflected in the normal billing cycle. For planning purposes, Canada will provide an estimate of the retroactive payment to each of the contract partners by end of November 2021.
The collective agreement also included improvements to other compensation elements, such as the Field Trainer Allowance, which increased from 2.5% to 3.5%. Regular members who provide field coaching to new members are eligible to receive the Field Trainer Allowance of 3.5% of the maximum Constable rate of pay. Entitlement is limited to one allowance at a time.
Given the complexity of the calculation of the retroactive payments, the exact amounts will not be known until the final payments have been processed at the end of the fiscal year. Estimates for contract partners will be provided in writing and will be based on a set of assumptions. The collective agreement includes a Memorandum of Agreement that, in part, states that the “Employer will make its best effort to implement the retroactive amounts payable to Members of the bargaining unit who were active on the date of signing of the collective agreement within two hundred and seventy (270) days after the signature of the collective agreement.” The RCMP is on-track to have the retroactive pay paid in February and March 2022.
Collective agreement negotiations are confidential to ensure that the outcome is fair for both sides. That said, since 2018, contract policing partners have been engaged by TBS and PS through the Contract Management Committee (CMC) — an ADM-level committee established under the PSAs that meets regularly to discuss new and emerging issues that could impact the cost, governance, nature and quality of policing services provided by the RCMP. CMC was provided as much information as possible within the confines of negotiations confidence, for example, information about the government’s initial proposal including the monetary offer (market adjustment from the date of certification and economic increase for 2020–21 and 2021ؘ–22). CMC was informed the strategy was to leave room to negotiate larger retroactive/economic increases to protect Commissioner’s authorities and management rights. Contracting jurisdictions were well aware that RCMP RMs and reservists had not had a pay increase since 2016 (their salary had been frozen for five years), that is, to expect retroactive increases. At TBS’s request, a representative team of CMC members (from NB, NWT, AB, and BC) was established to serve as the point through which TBS provided ongoing updates to the broader group. Additionally, in December 2019, at a special meeting, F/P/T Deputy Ministers discussed the quantum between RCMP and comparator police services’ pay and the negotiations strategy.
The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) was not consulted; however, CMC includes participation of municipal representatives (e.g. the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and Mayors, Councilors and Chief Administration Officers from P/Ts that can communicate the outcomes of CMC meetings with municipal colleagues through P/T/M fora).
Despite these consultative efforts during the collective bargaining period, P/T/M contract partners became vocal in the lead up to the ratification and final signing of the collective agreement, stating through media interviews and written correspondence to the Minister of Public Safety that they were not adequately consulted throughout the negotiation process.
Many municipalities are bound by balanced budget laws; therefore, for these jurisdictions, the costs of contract policing likely require a local tax increase to avoid producing a deficit.
The Government could offer flexibility in the timing for repayment of amounts owing by P/T/Ms.
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