The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness is accountable for the management and the conduct of the RCMP and for the extent and quality of the services it provides, including under the 166 bilateral Police Service Agreements between the Government of Canada and provincial/territorial and municipal governments where the RCMP is employed by these jurisdictions to provide front line policing. While the Minister is not involved in the day-to-day management of the RCMP and service delivery in contract jurisdictions, the Department supports the Minister’s role as contract policing program authority and provides advice on important management and administrative issues that affect the services under the contracts, have resourcing implications and relate to the relationship with contract jurisdictions.
The RCMP is also accountable to the Minister responsible for policing matters in contract jurisdictions (whereas federal policing duties are managed entirely at the federal level).
When the RCMP is acting as a provincial or territorial police force, it is the provincial/territorial Minister that sets those police services’ priorities. Provincial/territorial ministers can also increase or reduce the number of RCMP officers in their forces (unless the Minister believes the reduction would go below a minimum standard.)
This shared accountability is significant as over 60% of RCMP resources ($2.6 billion) and over 70% of RCMP officers (13,723) are assigned to contract policing in eight provinces (all but Ontario and Quebec), in the territories and in 153 municipalities. Under the contracts, the RCMP is the police service for about 22% of Canada’s population in about 75% of Canada’s geographic land mass and in much of rural Canada.
Under the existing 20-year agreements (signed in 2012 and in effect to 2032), the Government of Canada pays a share of the policing costs of contract jurisdictions — provinces and territories and municipalities with populations under 15,000 now pay 70%, and municipalities with populations over 15,000 pay 90% of eligible costs.
Public Safety Canada and the RCMP have confirmed that there are systemic sustainability challenges impacting the whole of the RCMP:
- The demand for contract officers outstrips the RCMP’s capacity to recruit and train.
- Under-resourcing is resulting in officer health and wellness concerns.
- Federal policing responsibilities have been and are being eroded to meet contract demands.
- Since 2010, contract officers increased 17% and federal officers decreased 30%.
- Budget reductions/shortfalls have disproportionately impacted federal policing.
- The program is costly and Government of Canada is not recovering all costs related to policing in contract jurisdictions.
- The federal share is approaching $750 million annually (from $618 million in 2012–13).
- Various studies have found a deficit in what is cost-shared relating to, e.g., disability, civil litigation and administration.
- Provincial responsibility for the administration of justice includes policing matters. It has been the Government of Canada’s objective since the 1960’s to decrease its contract policing financial liability.
- There is growing dissatisfaction from contract jurisdictions relating to, e.g., costs, officer vacancies and the resultant impact on community safety.
- Surrey, B.C. — the largest contract municipality — has proposed to transition from the RCMP to an independent municipal force; others are also considering alternatives.
- The pending unionization of officers will magnify fiscal and human resource pressures.
A dedicated Public Safety-RCMP team is developing proposals to: [Redacted]
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