WHEREAS the Police Funding Regulation (hereafter referred to as “the Regulation”) was enacted by the Government of Alberta on July 22, 2020; and
WHEREAS the Regulation states that each municipality receiving policing under the Provincial Police Services Agreement (PPSA) shall pay a cost in each fiscal year for receiving policing services provided by the provincial police service in an amount determined by the Minister in accordance with the Regulation; and
WHEREAS the police funding model established in the Regulation will start in 2021 at 10% of total provincial costs under the PPSA, and increase to 15% in 2022, 20% in 2023 and 30% in 2024; and
WHEREAS for municipalities that have not borne the provincial policing service cost in the past, these additional costs will be a significant budget line item in 2021 and beyond; and
WHEREAS the current PPSA was signed by the Minister of International and Intergovernmental Relations on August 31, 2011; and
WHEREAS a corporate review of the current PPSA and the overall organizational structure, efficiency and effectiveness of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police policing service has not been completed; and
WHEREAS as with any other municipal contracted service, municipalities need the best information available to ensure that their taxpayer dollars are being used in the most cost-effective manner; and
WHEREAS rural crime in Alberta is increasing and the Government of Alberta has acknowledged this as a priority;
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta (RMA) advocate to the Government of Alberta to freeze municipal contributions under the police funding model at no greater than 10% of the total policing costs under the Provincial Police Services Agreement (PPSA) until a corporate review of the PPSA and the overall organizational structure, efficiency and effectiveness of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) policing service has been completed and the review made available to all municipalities in Alberta; and
FURTHER BE IT RESOLVED that RMA advocate to the Government of Alberta that all monies collected from the police funding model remain in the Rural Municipalities of Alberta district from which they were collected.
The Municipal District of Lesser Slave River has a process and policy in place for the procurement of goods and services. The policy is established so the procurement of goods and services are done in a manner that is consistent, competitive, transparent and ensures citizen confidence. Research of other rural municipalities indicate that similar policies are also in place.
In the policy, the procurement of goods and services with an estimated value greater than $10,000 must be completed through a public process such as a request for quote, request for tender, request for proposal or a prequalification of bidder/expression of interest invitational tender. All procurement opportunities of this nature must be advertised externally via our website, regional newspapers and the Alberta Purchasing Connection website (for goods and services greater than the $75,000 and construction project greater than the $200,000 thresholds).
The police funding model applied via the Police Funding Regulation will be a direct requisition/invoice to the Municipal District of Lesser Slave River and all other municipalities receiving Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) service under the Provincial Police Services Agreement (PPSA). Based on the police funding model, the current equalized assessment and population numbers for the Municipal District, the table below indicates our estimated requisitions for the next four years:
|Police Funding Model*
|$ per Capita
* Base cost (50% weighted equalized assessment + 50% weighted population) – Modifiers (shadow population + crime severity index + detachment proximity) = Requisition/Invoice
The procurement of the provincial police service (as a contract service provider) for the Municipal District far exceeds our procurement policy in dollar value. Additionally, the spirit of consistent, competitive, and transparent procurement has been eliminated and this does not inspire citizen confidence on the service or the costs. This is a significant cost to the Municipal District. We are unfortunately on the back end of this procurement process.
At the front end of this is the Government of Alberta, based on the PPSA, which was signed with the RCMP in 2011. This is the starting point where the Government of Alberta needs to conduct a review of the agreement and the organizational structure of the RCMP to ensure that the consistent, competitive and transparent procurement of police services is completed and communicated to municipalities prior to issuing requisitions/invoices above the 10% municipal costing threshold in place for 2021.
The Municipal District is not opposed to contributing a portion of the costs for a provincial police service. As with all governmental procurement, accountability, transparency and value to our citizens and ratepayers is a crucial part of good governance. To go beyond the police funding model of 10%, the Government of Alberta needs to demonstrate that the current provincial police service meets or exceeds these criteria.
2-19F: Government of Alberta’s Police Costing Test Model
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta urge the Government of Alberta to engage in further consultation with municipalities on the police costing test model to examine options to meet the Government of Alberta’s goal of reducing policing costs without negatively impacting policing service delivery or municipal financial viability.
Click here to view the status and government response to this resolution
Stakeholders such as the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA) and the RMA have been asking the Alberta government for many years to address police funding. In April 2020, the Government of Alberta passed the Police Funding Regulation (PFR), which included implementation of the new Police Funding Model (PFM). The PFM established a cost recovery model for communities receiving provincial police services in Alberta. This new cost-sharing partnership will bring small and rural municipalities in line with both larger communities and cities who contribute to the costs of policing in Alberta, and other provinces, most of which recover some portion of provincial police service costs from municipalities receiving provincial police services. Further to this, the implementation of the PFM constitutes a total increase in rural police funding of more than $286 million over five years, with every dollar of the additional funds to be invested in Alberta law enforcement. This investment is critical, in order to provide for growth and sustainability of provincial policing services to help to address rising rural property crime in Alberta. In particular, funds collected through the PFM will see an increase of up to 300 Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) provincial police service officers throughout the province, and up to 200 civilian positions. The investment places priority on adding uniformed patrol officers to rural RCMP detachments, as well as adding members to specialized RCMP provincial police service units that augment detachment policing, with specialities in areas such as dismantling organized crime, drug trafficking, and investigating auto and scrap metal theft. New civilian positions will assist with administrative tasks and investigative support to improve police response times and help ensure officers have the support they need to protect Albertans by spending more time on roads and in communities.
To give communities time to adjust, the PFM is being phased in, and communities will contribute 10 per cent of front-line policing costs in 2020, followed by 15 per cent in 2021,
20 per cent in 2022, and 30 per cent in 2023 and 2024. Municipalities can expect to receive an initial invoice for the PFM front-line policing costs in early 2021, for the period April 1,2020 to March 31, 2021, and annually thereafter.
In terms of impact to municipalities, the PFM funds will be applied to support growth and enhancements of the provincial police service as a whole. All municipalities will benefit from additional RCMP provincial police service members in Alberta, either at the detachment level or through the additional RCMP specialized units, such as Auto Theft Unit, Major Crimes Unit, and Crime Reduction Units, all of which augment local RCMP detachments and contribute to the investigation of rural crimes. In consultation with the Government of Alberta and the Alberta Police Advisory Board, and with consideration given to local municipality needs and factors, such as case load and crime trends and other issues, the Commanding Officer, RCMP “K” Division, will have greater information in determining where to allocate these new provincial police service resources that the funds enable.
As the Rural Municipalities of Alberta’s resolution also links the PFM to the transition study on a provincial police service, I can advise that the RCMP remains the provincial police service at this time, and that the PFM will continue to be implemented as outlined in the PFR. The transition study being conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada will allow the government to make an informed decision as to whether a dedicated provincial police service, and not a federally contracted one, is in the best interests of Albertans. It will consider operational requirements, processes, and potential costs for creating Alberta’s own provincial police service. The study is not examining the current RCMP-provided service. I can further advise that it is too early to speculate on the outcome of the study, but that it is critical to support the current needs of municipalities through changes supported by initiatives such as the PFM.
The Government of Alberta response indicates that the implementation of the Police Funding Model (PFM) will contribute to improved policing service levels in rural Alberta, both through an increase in frontline police presence in rural municipalities, as well as through enhanced capacity in specialized policing service areas such as crime reduction units.
Although this may be the case, the resolution requests a fulsome and transparent review of current RCMP policing services under the Provincial Police Services Agreement prior to implementing the PFM and requiring rural and small urban municipalities to increase their contributions to frontline policing. While adding officers to rural detachments and specialized units is likely to improve rural police service levels to some degree, RMA members have expressed concern about the lack of transparency as to how, where and to what extent service levels will be improved. This concern is reflected in resolution 1-20F and unfortunately not addressed in the government response. The focus of the resolution is on the need for the Government of Alberta to determine service level baselines and a concrete and measurable approach to where and how service levels will be improved prior to requiring rural and small urban municipalities to collectively commit hundreds of millions of dollars to policing.
Throughout the PFM consultation process, the Government of Alberta did not provide municipal stakeholders with any information on how the new costing model would be linked to improved local police services. There was no plan, outline or principles to provide stakeholders peace of mind that the cost model was anything other than a download. Following the completion of the consultation, the Government of Alberta announced that the cost model would be used to support 300 new RCMP officers and 200 new civilian administrative staff for the province, but provided no information on how these resources would be deployed or whether municipalities would have any input as to how they would be used to address local rural crime challenges. Currently, the RCMP shares routine updates on staffing increases linked to the PFM. While these updates are appreciated, they continue to have no linkage to any plan or strategy regarding service levels in specific communities.
The Government response also does not reference the resolution’s request that proceeds collected through the model be reinvested into the contributing RMA district. The PFM model heavily relies on equalized assessment to determine municipal contribution requirements. As equalized assessment has little link to criminal activity and other factors that determine required police service levels, it is especially important that municipalities contributing high amounts due to their equalized assessment have those contributions reinvested into policing services within their regions, rather than used to subsidize policing in a completely different region of the province.
Finally, the Government reference to the transition study conducted by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Canada on a possible Alberta provincial police service appears to misunderstand the intent of the resolution. The request for a full study into current RCMP service levels and effectiveness is in relation for the need for the Government of Alberta to have baseline data and a specific plan for improving current RCMP services prior to imposing the PFM, and is unrelated to replacing the RCMP with another police service provider.
Based on recent discussions with the RCMP, RMA has learned that due to challenges in recruiting new RCMP officers, a significant portion of funding collected through the PFM has been used by the Government of Alberta to provide capital and operational support to the RCMP that is unrelated to recruitment and hiring of new officers.
The PFM runs for five years and next year (2024) is the final year of the current PFM agreement. The Government of Alberta is likely to engage RMA and other stakeholders on possible changes to the model moving forward. This resolution will serve as a baseline for advocacy efforts.
RMA assigns this resolution a status of Intent Not Met and will continue to advocate for improved planning and information sharing in relation to the PFM.