Still no answers for Mounties on pay raise or unionization

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale says the Liberal government is still considering the Senate's changes to its RCMP unionization bill and what to do about a recommended pay increase for officers.

Public safety minister says government still considering Senate changes to RCMP union bill

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, seen in the Commons Tuesday, says the federal government is still considering changes made in the Senate to C-7, the bill to allow RCMP officers to collectively bargain. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)

There are still no answers for Mounties on when they can expect a long-awaited pay raise or form a union.

Both issues are top of mind for members of the RCMP, who haven't had a pay hike since January, 2014 and who remain in labour relations limbo.

According to the RCMP, Commissioner Bob Paulson submitted his suggestion for a pay raise to the government in July 2015, with a request it be retroactive to January, 2015.

In his submission, Paulson highlighted the widening pay gap between the RCMP and other major Canadian police forces, as well as how lower pay makes it more difficult to attract and retain officers.

According to compensation disclosure posted on their respective web sites, a newly sworn-in RCMP constable can expect a salary of $50,674, which rises to $65,840 after six months, whereas a Calgary city police constable would start out at $67,974, not including overtime.

This is a big change in labour relations within the RCMP, so we want to make sure we get this properly nuanced- Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale- Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Wednesday he understands very well that pay is top of mind for members of the force.

"I've heard it from the commissioner and I've heard it down through the ranks. Obviously this a matter that has significant fiscal implications so it's a subject that the entire government needs to be engaged on, not just the minister of Public Safety, but Finance and Treasury Board and all of the others," Goodale told CBC News. 

As for the status of the government's bill to permit Mounties to unionize, it too is under consideration. 

"This is a big change in labour relations within the RCMP, so we want to make sure we get this properly nuanced," said Goodale.

Senate made big changes to union bill

A January, 2015 Supreme Court decision ruled Mounties should have collective bargaining rights. It initially gave Parliament one year to bring in legislation. The court agreed to extend the deadline to May 17, 2016 in order to accommodate the new federal government.

Yet the RCMP remains the only non-unionized police force in Canada.

In June, the Senate sent the government's RCMP labour relations bill, C-7, back to the House of Commons with significant amendments. Senators removed a long list of contentious issues that had been excluded from collective bargaining. 

Speaking in the Upper House on June 21, Liberal-appointed Senator Colin Kenny argued the government's original bill left little on the bargaining table. 

"The exclusions mean that the union can't bargain on any issues relating to their pension, law enforcement techniques, how they go to work every day and what they do, transfers from one position to another and appointments," Kenny said. 

The Senate also amended the bill to ensure any future union certification vote take place by secret ballot. 

Goodale said the proposed changes are extensive.

"And they touch on some matters that were not raised during the discussion in the House so we're considering very carefully the Senate's advice," said Goodale.


  • This story has been updated to provide more information about RCMP constables' first-year compensation.
    Sep 23, 2016 2:43 PM ET