B.C. municipalities have begun to receive bills for millions of dollars to cover back pay for RCMP members under the police force’s new collective agreement — and are warning of tax increases or other budget impacts unless Ottawa helps shoulder the load.
Signed last August, the agreement between the members’ union and the federal government secured pay raises for thousands of RCMP members that are retroactive to 2017, covering the period since the pay scale was last updated in 2016.
Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie says while municipalities that pay the RCMP for policing services were warned for years to set aside money to cover these retroactive costs, the size of the bill that Richmond received was still unexpected. “It wasn’t enough,” he said. “We’ve got a very significant payment (due) over the amount that has been saved.” Read more: RCMP costs, retroactive pay overwhelming for some rural municipalities: FCM Brodie says it’s not just the retroactive pay — estimated to be between $9-10 million currently — that will hit the city’s bank account, but also the need to cover the higher pay going forward. “There’s going to be about a three-per cent tax increase ongoing for the operating costs,” he said, estimating an additional $7 million cost annually. “This is a big hit on our budget when we can ill afford it.
So we’re looking for some compensation and some help going forward.” The City of Surrey, which currently employs the largest RCMP force in Canada, will receive the highest bill for retroactive pay at an estimated $46.6 million.