The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) says the RCMP officer salary increases and back pay are overwhelming for some regions of the country, especially in rural areas.
After the force’s first collective bargaining agreement was signed over the summer, back pay became a major concern in some New Brunswick cities, such as Grand Bay-Westfield, NB.
“It will have a terrible impact because the federal government warned us to be prepared for a 2.5 percent annual increase, but it ended up being 23.7 in six years, so the impact is huge,” said Scott Pearce, the second vice president. – President of the Canadian Federation of Municipalities and Mayor of Gore, Que.
FCM is asking Ottawa to pay that lump sum.
Salaries for agents, who make up more than half of the force’s officers, are increasing to $ 106,576 as of April 1, 2022 from $ 86,110 in 2016.
The changes are retroactive to 2017.
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Grand Bay-Westfield says that municipalities were not consulted during the negotiation process with the RCMP, and that is something that the FCM also wants to change.
Municipalities cannot run deficits, so they would have to cut services or raise taxes to make up the difference, Pearce said.
“The City of Airdrie, Alberta, estimates that the new agreement will have a $ 3.5 to $ 4 million impact on its budget, which equates to a 5 percent tax increase for its population of 68,000,” he said. Pearce.
The federal government pays a maximum of 30 percent of surveillance costs, while a municipality’s contribution depends on its population and other factors.
Pearce said the FCM is not upset with the raises, but feels “hung up to dry” with the discrepancy between the raises and what Ottawa warned the federation about.
“We were surprised when they warned us that it would be a certain price, and it came out much more expensive,” Pearce said. “No one I’ve spoken to across the country bothers that our RCMP members are paid well. They deserve it. Every day they are risking their lives to keep Canadians safe. “
The RCMP covers 150 communities across the country and serves more than 600 indigenous communities, according to its website.
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Police agreements can be terminated two years in advance.
Dalhousie, NB Mayor Normand Pelletier said his city has only seen annual increases in contributions from $ 2,000 to $ 5,000 in recent years.
But Pelletier said the RCMP should be replaced by a municipal or regional force similar to what the area had more than 20 years ago, due to what he calls inadequate coverage.
“When there are people on sick or vacation leave, they are not replaced,” he said. “So they are always short.”
He also noted that RCMP members are often transferred after a couple of years “so it’s not like you have local officers.”
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