Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender co-chairs an RCMP contract management committee of local government.

Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender co-chairs an RCMP contract management committee of local government.

RCMP severance may be big new bill for cities

Municipal reps protest federal move without consultation

RCMP-policed cities may be stung again by the federal government for another surprise increase in policing costs, this time as part of a change in officer retirement severance provisions.

And municipal leaders are demanding Ottawa pay the higher bill instead of downloading it to them.

The new federal budget passed in December includes an offer to current RCMP officers of early buyouts to replace their eventual severance payouts when they retire, a move Ottawa expects will save money over the long term but which cities say could trigger a sudden jump in costs for them.

It’s not yet clear what the cost increase would be to cities with RCMP forces and it would depend in part on how many officers opt to take lump sum payouts, said Langley City Mayor Peter Fassbender.

“It was a unilateral decision made by the feds,” said Fassbender, who co-chairs a local government RCMP contract management committee.

“To me, the issue is ‘You made this decision. You didn’t consult with us. You didn’t give us the opportunity to have some ability to plan for it.’ So the liability should rest with the federal government.”

B.C. cities signed on last spring to a new 20-year RCMP contract that promised them more consultation, openness and transparency, particularly on any federal or RCMP decisions that might drive up their costs.

But it’s not clear those guarantees apply in the severance decision because federal budget deliberations were underway on that issue prior to the contract signing – a situation of timing Fassbender calls a “comedy of errors.”

In addition, he said, federal negotiators who signed off on the contract apparently had no idea the change was coming either due to budget secrecy.

“All it showed to me was the right hand didn’t know what the left hand was doing.”

Fassbender and Union of B.C. Municipalities president Mary Sjostrom have jointly written to federal Justice Minister Vic Toews raising their objections.

It calls on Toews to uphold the “new partnership” commitments in the 2012 contract.

B.C. Justice Minister Shirley Bond said she has raised the cities’ concerns with Toews and the RCMP commissioner.

“We are being very clear that we are going to take this issue back to the federal government to have a discussion,” she said. “There needs to be clarity about the impacts. There needs to be a clear mechanism for determining costs.”

It’s not the only beef cities have with Ottawa over policing costs.

Fassbender noted cities are still awaiting details of their share of costs for the new RCMP E Division headquarters that Mounties are moving into in Surrey.

It’s got a price tag of nearly $1-billion when financing and other costs are included, such as the profit margin of the builder under the P3 contract.

“We are not prepared to take any responsibility for any of the capital costs over the life of the P3 partnership,” Fassbender said.

Several cities, including Burnaby, Richmond and others on the North Shore, are still considering leaving the RCMP over objections to the new contract.

Their concerns include the new headquarters building, as well as an unexpected jump in RCMP pay that cities were only informed of after the signing last March.

Just Posted

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
Student’s quote in Chilliwack high school yearbook equates graduation with end of slavery

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months. (RCMP photo)
Chilliwack RCMP looking for missing 20-year-old woman

Police say Alexis Paige Simpson has not been in contact with her family in two months

RCMP seek dash-cam footage after Chilliwack road rage incident

Male driving a black pickup stopped and allegedly threatened to punch another driver

Doses prepared at pop-up vaccine clinic in Toronto’s Jane and Finch neighbourhood, in the M3N postal code, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. ( THE CANADIAN PRESS/Cole Burston)
4 vaccine clinics coming to Neighbourhood Learning Centre

Fraser Health made clinics ‘low-barrier’ meaning pre-registration not required

Deepak Sharma of Abbotsford has been convicted of the sexual assault of one of his cab passengers in West Vancouver in January 2019.
Former Abbotsford Hindu temple president convicted of sexual assault

Deepak Sharma assaulted a female passenger when he was a cab driver

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

One Reconciliation Pole and two Welcome Figures were unveiled during a ceremony in honour of truth and reconciliation on National Peoples Indigenous Day at the Vancouver School District in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday, June 21, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Horgan marks Indigenous Peoples Day by urging recognition of systemic racism

National Indigenous Peoples Day has been marked in Canada since 1996

Most Read