City disappointed over RCMP retroactive costs
April 12, 2023
The City of Fort St. John is disappointed with the federal government’s recent decision to pass unbudgeted and unaccounted for 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 that it will not be meeting the request to absorb the retroactive costs associated with the latest RCMP collective bargaining agreement.
Last Tuesday’s budget further confirmed that communities across Canada that are dependent on RCMP services for local policing, including Fort St. John, are expected to cover these costs—a decision falling well short of the call from municipalities to fully absorb the costs.
“We understand and appreciate the need for increased compensation for our valued RCMP members; however, it is disappointing that the federal government has decided not to cover the retroactive costs. Although the City has accrued the $1.4 million required for this retroactive payment, this decision represents a significant increase to our annual budget,” stated Mayor Lilia Hansen.
Local governments were not at the table for these 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.
This decision is an example of a federal commitment that deeply impacts municipalities without municipalities being properly consulted or involved. Municipal governments are paying a growing share of policing costs, but they 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 this recent decision unacceptable. This is a position supported in full by the City of Fort St. John.