The Town of Blackfalds is responding to the federal government’s decision to pass retroactive policing costs on to municipalities.
Despite months of municipal advocacy led by the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM), provincial-territorial associations, and local leaders across Canada, the federal government has indicated in the most recent federal budget it will not be meeting the request to absorb the retroactive costs associated with the latest RCMP collective bargaining agreement.
The federal budget, announced on March 28, further confirmed that communities across Canada that depend on RCMP services for local policing, including the Town of Blackfalds, are expected to cover these costs—a decision falling short of the call from municipalities to absorb the costs fully,
Town of Blackfalds Mayor Jamie Hoover shared his disappointments with the decision, although reiterating that the Town has a great relationship with the RCMP.
“Although the Town of Blackfalds greatly values its relationship with the RCMP and the service that they provide to our community, we are disappointed in the process that led us to this stage that many municipalities feel left us without a voice in a decision that greatly impacts our residents, as well as those RCMP officers that work within our area,” he shared.
“The police who serve us have an increasingly difficult and dangerous job in an environment where there are some concerns of systemic problems and lack of transparency, making it even more important for them to build trust and cooperation with the public, and this negotiation, unfortunately, did little to help that growth. We will continue to build our good relationship at the community level with our RCMP detachment but will continue to advocate to the Federal government for more inclusion at the highest levels in the future,” added Hoover.
According to the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, local governments were not at the table during the budget negotiations. And while cost estimates were provided to some municipalities, these turned out to be far below the final agreement’s increase over six years, with retroactive pay going back to 2017. The cost to the Town of Blackfalds associated with these retroactive payments is expected to be $255,550.09.
Municipal governments are paying a growing share of policing costs but cannot run deficits and have limited revenue tools.
FCM has clearly reiterated the need for municipalities to be actively involved in any future processes regarding contract policing, calling the decision unacceptable.