City of Campbell River staff are hoping a review of the RCMP contract will help solve staffing problems at the local detachment.
Ron Bowles, the city’s corporate services manager, told city council at its Monday meeting that instating new staff members is becoming increasingly difficult because of substantial wait times for security clearances.
Bowles said the problem surrounds staff working in a municipal police support role whom the city is responsible for providing as part of an agreement with the province.
“Those staff that work at the RCMP have to have security clearances of course,” Bowles said. “That security clearance is through the RCMP and it can take up to eight months.
“So, you know that’s a little problematic for us to supply staffing,” he added. “It gets a little tough when you have to wait eight months.”
At Monday’s council meeting, Bowles suggested council provide that input to the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) which is asking for municipal comment up until Jan. 22 as part of a five-year review of the RCMP Police Services Agreement.
A provision within that agreement allows Canada and the provinces and territories to undertake a five-year review to look at and address any substantive issues, including financial issues, arising out of the agreement.
Bowles told council he’d like city staff to be able to give its feedback.
“I am hoping council will consider asking UBCM to take a look at this, talk to the province, and talk to the RCMP and see if there’s a way that we can find ways to reduce the wait time for security clearance for municipal staff,” Bowles said.
Coun. Charlie Cornfield said that if there’s a problem, then it’s up to council to take it up with UBCM.
“I think this is important,” Cornfield said. “I know policing is one of our single biggest costs in the city and if there’s any issues we need to address, this would seem important that we let UBCM know.”
The rest of council agreed and voted to refer the issue to city staff.
While the city will have the opportunity to provide that input to UBCM, the feedback will not necessarily be included in the actual RCMP contract review.
That’s because the rules governing the review stipulate that for a matter to be included in the five-year review, it must be raised by and involve more than one province or territory. It must also be agreed upon by a National Contract Management Committee.
UBCM said so far it has heard concerns regarding: the potential impacts of the impending new RCMP labour relations model; cost implications of the national programs such as the police dog training centre and cadet training program; clarification around the ability to provide provincially established/governed integrated teams; having stronger language related to the federal commitment to local policing; and other cost drivers.