B.C. cities and towns with RCMP contracts can expect significant increases in policing costs when the national police force concludes a union agreement with the federal government, according to a survey of wages from the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
Negotiations with the National Police Federation are ongoing and confidential, the UBCM says in a bulletin to members this week, but the survey shows B.C. city forces have reached wage parity with each other in recent years. The starting salary at most municipal forces is more than $70,000 a year, more than 30 per cent higher than the starting wage offered by the RCMP, which is an annual rate of $53,144 for the first six months of service.
“It is also important to note that RCMP salaries have been frozen since Dec. 31, 2016, when the most recent pay package expired,” the bulletin says. “Given the potential for a significant salary increase for RCMP members, as well as other operational changes that could have a financial impact on police budgets, UBCM continues to advise local governments to plan for potential cost increases.”
The National Police Federation has stated it expects to have an agreement to present to members by this summer.
There are 63 municipalities in B.C. that contract with the RCMP, some with regional detachments with two or more municipalities. The province’s assists smaller communities, which cover 70 per cent of policing costs for populations from 5,000 to 14,999 people. For 15,000 people and up, municipalities pay 90 per cent of the RCMP costs.
There are 12 municipalities that pay the entire cost of city police forces, including Victoria Police, which shares police services with Esquimalt. Other city forces are Abbotsford, Saanich, Central Saanich, Delta, Nelson, New Westminster, Oak Bay, Port Moody, Vancouver and West Vancouver.
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