Last year, the federal government and the RCMP came to an agreement that saw the RCMP not only get a raise in pay, but also get retroactive payments stemming all the way back to April 2017. Municipalities across Canada have started to raise concerns over the fact the federal government have made it seem some of those costs will fall on them even though they were not a part of the conversations. And that’s a fair comment to make.
Why should municipalities and their taxpayers have to fork over for these retroactive payments when they weren’t even allowed to be at the table when discussions happened? It doesn’t seem like a good way to do business. With the RCMP covering over 150 communities across the country, the costs are going to be spread all across the country, but the bill looks to be fairly large. While the final tally has yet to be finalized, it’s estimated to be in or around the millions for each community — that will be a major source of frustration for everyone. It’s also a problem that no one knows exactly how much they’ll be on the hook for. The new rates begin on April 1, 2022, but the lack of communication is unideal. The Federation of Canadian Municipalities are also fighting for the federal government to pay the bill, but so far it sure doesn’t sound like anyone knows what’s going to happen come April.
In terms of how the paying of RCMP officers happens, municipalities with populations of less than 15,000 people pay 70 per cent of the cost for RCMP services, with the feds picking up the other 30 per cent. On the other end, municipalities with more than 15,000 pay 90 per cent, the feds with the remaining 10 per cent. While many municipalities have expressed no issue with the raise officers will be getting, retroactive pay continues to be the biggest concern.
No matter how you look at it, retroactive pay is going to be an issue for taxpayers. While we feel the federal government should pick up the tab for this considering they were the ones at the table, it sure feels like it will fall back on Canadian municipalities and their taxpayers. This will result in a one-time tax increase on those municipalities who utilize the RCMP and it could be anywhere between a two or six per cent increase.
Before these costs are passed down, we sincerely hope the federal government sits down with municipalities for a discussion because it certainly seems like their minds were made up well in advance and they were fine with passing the costs down. Let’s hope the federal government listens to the concerns that will be coming their way about these payments before making a final decision.