Business Continuity Planning for RCMP
- The RCMP remains in a high state of readiness to respond, and RCMP personnel are continuing their work to uphold public safety and ensure Canadians continue to receive dedicated and professional policing services based on national, provincial, municipal and Indigenous priorities.
- Business Continuity Plans are ready across the country should there be a need to invoke them. RCMP leadership is working with staff to identify plans that are flexible and maximize social distancing, while ensuring continued government operations and services to Canadians.
- The RCMP is also working with other government partners to procure and distribute Personal Protective Equipment needed to ensure the safety of its personnel.
- In addition, the RCMP is encouraging employees, and Canadians in general, to abide by the instructions of local, provincial and federal health authorities, including direction to self-isolate when ill or when returning from international travel, and to socially-distance as much as possible.
- The RCMP is working to safeguard the northern and isolated communities it serves, including Indigenous communities, by ensuring employees returning from abroad first undertake self-isolation before returning to the communities where they work.
- Canada’s national police service remains vigilant, is maintaining essential policing services and is working to mitigate potential future risks during this challenging time.
- The RCMP is continuing with contingency planning, and will also continue to coordinate and organize itself nationally to best respond to the current public health crisis and maintain essential service delivery.
Responsive – Border – Screening of Personnel
- I would refer you to Health Canada for more information on medical screening of persons entering the country.
- The RCMP’s role in maintaining Canada’s border integrity focusses on detecting and interdicting criminal activity between ports of entry. Implementation of screening protocols is the responsibility of the Public Health Agency of Canada.
Business Continuity Plans (BCP) are developed across the RCMP to support different operational requirements and business functions across Canada. The network of RCMP BCPs support Divisional Emergency Operations Centres (DEOC) across the country, and the National Operations Centre (NOC) nationally. Each Responsible Authority (or BCP “Owner”) is accountable for having a BCP in place outlining their critical services and recovery strategies. This ensures critical services can continue to function, and the organization is ready to support front-line policing and uphold public safety. There are over 700 BCPs in place across the RCMP. There are over 53 critical services or assets in the RCMP whose compromise in terms of availability, delivery and/or integrity would result in a high degree of injury to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians or to the effective functioning of the Government of Canada. The criticality of staff is dependent on the needs of and critical services provided by each location. The recovery strategies that correspond with each BCP differ from plan-to-plan, and are dependent on their respective specific requirements.
BCPs will be invoked through a layered approach based on all aspects of operational risks. Invoking or activating a BCP means the RCMP will continue to work at Minimum Service Levels, providing only those critical services or assets whose compromise in terms of availability, delivery and/or integrity would result in a high degree of injury to the health, safety, security or economic well-being of Canadians or to the effective functioning of the Government of Canada. During a pandemic or health emergency, a BCP would be activated not to move to an alternate location, but rather to work at a Minimum Service Level, providing only critical services in order to address the minimum resources available, or to mitigate the amount of employees entering the workplace daily; thus, reducing the potential spread of illness and “flattening the curve”.
The RCMP is working to maintain its employees’ health and safety to uphold public safety and service delivery for Canadians, including by maximizing social distancing. The RCMP is also continuing contact and collaboration with partner organizations, including the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canada Border Services Agency and Public Safety Canada, in support of Government emergency management efforts. The RCMP is engaging with other key partners and stakeholders, such as the National Indigenous Organizations, and the various public service unions.
The RCMP has implemented a national Gold-Silver-Bronze Command Structure to coordinate and manage the RCMP’s actions in response to COVID-19. This structure provides a framework for the delivery of strategic (Gold), tactical (Silver) and operational (Bronze) control in response to the ongoing outbreak. It facilitates the establishment of processes for: (1) communications protocols; (2)
the movement of equipment and personnel; (3) the flow of information; and, (4) event responsibilities. RCMP DEOCs have been activated in divisions, including RCMP National Headquarters, and the RCMP’s NOC at National Headquarters has been activated. Front counter service at all RCMP detachments has been reduced to crime reporting and complaints, with the public being asked to avoid attending for non-urgent matters.
Nationally, the RCMP is monitoring Indigenous community health through daily check-ins via Indigenous Policing Units. There is concern over cross-contamination from transient workers in the communities, including RCMP relief officers, pilots, nursing staff and maintenance workers. In remote and northern communities, the RCMP is particularly focussed on the isolation of operational members returning from international travel, and has a well-planned approach to minimize the risk to those communities. All employees and their families posted to northern and isolated communities who have returned from international travel are required to self-isolate and monitor their health. In order to reduce the risk of introducing COVID-19 in the northern or isolated communities, this self-isolation is to be completed in a major centre where access to advanced medical care is available.
Gaps in Service - Personal Protective Equipment
The RCMP is working to ensure sufficient supplies of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), such as N95 masks, nitrile gloves, goggles, gowns and sanitizer. Current supplies are insufficient. Allocations are being centrally managed and pushed out to the divisions. Divisional Procurement Officers are ready to assist if divisions need to procure essential supplies and equipment via other means. In addition, front-line RCMP members are not allowed any facial hair that would interfere with the seal of a facial mask.
Resourcing is a concern in such areas as the Operational Communications Centres and members policing in northern isolated posts in both the provinces and territories. In both cases, resources are limited, so approvals may be sought for more flexibility to risk-manage areas such as 90-day PSE casual contracts, security clearances for recently retired members, and job flexibility with RCMP Reservists. The RCMP has a business intelligence mechanism for organizational management to track the operational status of employees. The RCMP is providing regular updates to RCMP personnel and union representatives to ensure they are also kept fully informed on COVID-19 and organizational updates.
Additional HR-related actions taken include: (1) all training has been reduced, with non-essential in-person training largely having been suspended; (2) most training was suspended at Depot Division, the RCMP Training Academy; (3) RCMP fitness facilities have been temporarily shut down; (4) all international travel by RCMP personnel has been suspended, and the RCMP has instructed that all employees returning from international travel are to self-isolate; (5) all non-essential domestic business travel has been suspended; (6) a leave restriction has been instituted for the period of April 1-July 1, 2020, to ensure front-line members and employees who support front-line remain available to assist as and where needed; and, (7) the RCMP is in the process of identifying recently retired RCMP personnel to ensure availability to assist as needed.
The RCMP will work very closely with any personnel who have safety concerns. The provision of PPE to members will reduce the risk of refusals. The health of RCMP personnel is a primary concern and the organization will continue to address any issues arising. Ongoing communication between the RCMP, unions and Labour Relations will continue.
There are different plans in place for addressing significant absence in the workplace.
BCPs may address this matter by reducing normal functions and regular service levels to providing critical services at minimum service levels. This reduces the number of employees required for regular functions, rendering more resources available for mobilization to provide critical services.
Mobilization Plans can address the mobilization and movement of employees to areas that require additional resources to perform critical services or functions.
The RCMP’s IM/IT Program and Shared Services Canada have installed significant additional capacity to accommodate telework by RCMP personnel.
Prepared by: Konrad Roberts, Strategic Policy, Contract and Indigenous Policing, RCMP; 343 542 2628
Approved by: Brian Brennan, Deputy Commissioner, Contract and Indigenous Policing, RCMP; 613-843-4632
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