Significant pay hikes for the RCMP are yet to materialize in the new policing agreement city council signed off on Tuesday night.
Federal Public Safety Minister Vic Toews advised cities months ago that pay raises in the neighbourhood of 1.5 per cent were possible in each of the next three years.
But Langley Mayor Peter Fassbender, the municipal rep in RCMP contract negotiations, said municipalities would be blindsided when they saw the details of the compensation package.
Laura Ciarniello, the city’s general manager of corporate services, said as it stands now, the increase to the RCMP budget is minimal.
“At the end of the day, the additional cost implications of the new contract have been contained to well under one per cent per year,” Ciarniello said. “Having said this, there are a number of items that have not been finalized and these could have an impact on our policing costs.”
These include the cost of the new headquarters building in Surrey; any retroactive pay that may be awarded to RCMP officers; and the possibility of unionization.
Ciarniello said the matter of how integrated teams are paid for also needs to be taken into consideration, although it is not specifically mentioned in the agreement.
The province of B.C. agreed to a new policing contract with the federal government on March 21 and B.C. municipalities must ratify the agreement before May 31, or commit to their own municipal police force.
The previous RCMP contract was good for 20 years but expired on March 31 of this year.
Negotiations for renewal had been ongoing for the past several years.
Under the new agreement, municipalities will have more input into how policing services are provided and will have the ability to conduct operational effectiveness reviews of their local detachment.
The city will also have a say into the selection of the local detachment commander, who will provide updates, as requested, on the implementation of the local government’s goals and objectives, said Ciarniello. City staff plan to work with the RCMP to create a revised, multi-year financial plan that will reflect the terms of the new agreement.
“The new contract has no significant implications for municipalities, though there are still some unresolved issues such as the cost of the new headquarters building, the possibility of unionization and the ongoing implications of a possible retroactive wage adjustment,” Ciarniello said. “The savings in the treatment of the costs for the integrated teams should help mitigate these increases, and perhaps produce additional savings.”
The RCMP budget is the largest in the city at $7.5 million of which $5.7 million relates to the RCMP contract. The remainder is reserved for support staff, keeping of prisoners, accommodations, and building maintenance.