Police officers put their lives on the line every day. That became evident last week when three RCMP officers were shot and killed in Moncton, N.B.
All three fallen officers left behind a wife and at least one child, leaving some to wonder about the provisions that exist for the families’ financial futures.
Staff Sgt. Abe Townsend is with the RCMP Staff Relations Representative program, a non-union elected body that represents serving members. He said when an officer dies on the job, the spouse is eligible under the Survivor Income Plan for added benefits.
Townsend said the plan's intent is to guarantee the survivors have a lifetime family income that is equal to what the family would have received if the officer had not been killed as a result of their duties.
The plan calculates the benefits the family receives as a result of the death, including CPP death benefits, any Veterans Affairs Canada awards, and equity in the superannuation plan. All the calculations are made on after-tax amounts.
They then compare that income with the member's after-tax salary and, if necessary, top it up to equal the member's after-tax income.
That continues until the date when the deceased member would have turned 60.
At that point, the amount is re-calculated based on the pension the member would receive, and, if less than the pension, the amount is topped up to that figure.
All RCMP officers have the opportunity to purchase optional group life insurance.
The families of other fallen peace officers get different compensation depending on that employer.
Halifax union contracts
In Halifax, the families of police officers who have been killed in the line of duty receive benefits outlined in their union contract.
On top of that, a spouse will receive 70 per cent of the officer's salary. He or she also receives an equivalent amount of any pay raises the officer would have received.
The spouse receives that additional income until he or she dies. If there is no spouse, the children of the officer will receive that money until they turn 25.
The funeral costs are also covered by the municipality.
Firefighters and retirement
It's a different story for firefighters. Families of volunteer firefighters in the Halifax Regional Municipality who are killed on the job get a $100,000 lump sum payment.
Career firefighters though, do not. They receive only the optional life insurance they have purchased through their work.
HRM will provide a full honour guard funeral for both career and volunteer firefighters.
Meanwhile, several fundraising efforts are underway for the families of the three Mounties slain in Moncton.
BMO is accepting donations. As of June 13, Canadians have donated just over $29,000. BMO has donated $10,000.
All Sobeys and Lawtons Drugs stores in Atlantic Canada are raising funds.
Sobeys spokeswoman Shauna Selig said customers can donate $2, $5 or $10 at any of their stores, and funds raised will go to the Moncton Fallen RCMP Members Fund.
Fundraising began June 12 and runs through to June 20.