Cranbrook, BC (May 30, 2023) – The City of Cranbrook responded today to the federal government’s disappointing 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 it will not be meeting the request to absorb the retroactive costs associated with the latest RCMP collective bargaining agreement.
The Government of Canada’s recent budget further confirmed that communities across Canada that are dependent on RCMP services for local policing, including Cranbrook, are expected to cover these costs—a decision falling well short of the call from municipalities to fully absorb the costs.
“On behalf of Council, and the residents of this community, we truly appreciate the efforts of all of our hardworking RCMP members, and their dedication to Cranbrook,” says Mayor Wayne Price. “But we are disappointed with the Federal Government’s lack of support for all Canadian communities in this retroactive pay lump sum bill.”
The cost to Cranbrook associated with these retroactive payments is expected to be $1,028,239. 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 Cranbrook. See the media release from FCM in March 2023 - https://fcm.ca/en/news-media/fcm-responds-update-the-government-canada-the-issue-retroactive-rcmp-costs.
For more background information on the municipal impacts of the RCMP retroactive pay, visit https://fcm.ca/en/news-media/news-release/federal-government-must-absorb-rcmp-retroactive-costs/media-backgrounder.