+ RMA Rural Municipalities
of Alberta

Resolution 8-23F

Implementation of Provincial Police Advisory Board

Date:
November 8, 2023
Expiry Date:
December 1, 2026
Active Status:
Active
Sponsors:
Clearwater County
District:
2 - Central
Year:
2023
Convention:
Fall
Category:
Community Services
Status:
Intent Not Met
Vote Results:
Carried
Preamble:

WHEREAS the Police Act and Police Amendment Act provide that small and rural communities served by the RCMP under the Provincial Police Service Agreement will be represented on a provincial board that will make recommendations on province-wide policing priorities; and

WHEREAS the Alberta Interim Police Advisory Board (AIPAB) was created in 2020 to provide recommendations towards the implementation of an operational board to replace the interim board; and

WHEREAS on January 29, 2021, the AIPAB provided the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General with recommendations for the new Provincial Police Advisory Board’s recruitment, governance structure and term; and

WHEREAS on December 22, 2021, the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General acknowledged the intent to collaborate with AIPAB to establish the board, proposing a governance structure that aligns with a four-year term, consistent with the Police Funding Regulation expiring on March 31, 2025; and

WHEREAS to date, the Government of Alberta has not implemented the operational Provincial Police Advisory Board;

Operative Clause:

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Rural Municipalities of Alberta advocate to the Government of Alberta to implement the operational Provincial Police Advisory Board to ensure small and rural communities served by the RCMP under the Provincial Police Service Agreement are equally and fairly represented.

Member Background:

The Police Funding Regulation (PFR) under the Police Act (PA) requires that every municipality be invoiced for RCMP policing services as per a cost formula described in the Regulation. More recently, changes to the PA came with a commitment from the Government of Alberta to establish measures to enhance police transparency, accountability and civilian involvement and to establish a provincial police advisory board to represent small and rural communities served under the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA).

Subsequently, the PA was amended by the Police Amendment Act, 2022 (PAA). A key reform under this legislation is for greater collaboration with communities by mandating police to develop community safety plans and report annually on their progress (PAA Section 31(1)).

Another key reform in the legislation is enhanced civilian governance capabilities with the creation of formal governance bodies for all communities. Large communities served by the RCMP under a Municipal Police Service Agreement are represented by committees or commissions. Small and rural communities served under PPSA are represented by a new operational board, the Provincial Police Advisory Board (PAA Section 28.01).

To prepare for these legislative changes, the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General established an interim board in 2020, called the Alberta Police Interim Advisory Board (APIAB) which was made up of members from the Alberta Association of Police Governance, Alberta Municipalities (formerly Alberta Urban Municipalities Association) and Rural Municipalities of Alberta, to represent municipalities served under the PPSA. The APIAB’s mandate was to provide a report with recommendations on provincial policing priorities, RCMP ‘K’ Division multi-year financial plan, and a governance structure and scope for the new operational board by January 31, 2021.

Upon receipt of the completed report, the Minister of Justice and Solicitor General indicated the intent for the ministry to work with the AIPAB to implement the operational board within the context of the Minister’s governance decisions. As noted in the Minister’s correspondence, AR48941, “…the operational board would be in place for a four-year term to align with the five-year period of the Police Funding Regulation (PFR). The interim and operational board were intended to be in place during the same five-year period as the PFR, and to have the board’s purpose and existence reviewed along with the police funding model and other PFR provisions prior to the end of the PFR five- year term.”

The PFR is set to expire March 31, 2025, and yet, to date, this intent has not been filled.

While Clearwater County certainly applauds the province’s efforts to date, we strongly encourage the Government of Alberta to move forward with establishing the Provincial Police Advisory Board without delay.

Click here to view the APIAB report and the Minister’s associated correspondence.

RMA Background:

RMA has no active resolutions directly related to this issue.

Government Response:

Alberta Public Safety and Emergency Services

As you are aware, the Police Amendment Act, 2022 (PAA), which is intended to improve police accountability and enhance public confidence by reforming policing practices and strengthening ties to the community, received Royal Assent in December 2022. These changes include the creation of a permanent PPAB that will enable small and rural communities served by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) under the Provincial Police Service Agreement to make recommendations on provincewide policing priorities. Additional work is required to implement these changes to police governance and oversight, including regulations related to the establishment of the PPAB.

My department is taking careful steps to ensure the needs of communities that will be represented by the PPAB are considered in developing regulations and implementing changes to RCMP governance. Earlier this fall, we engaged the Rural Municipalities of Alberta, along with other police governance stakeholders, to gather insights on effective community engagement as we move forward with regulatory development. We plan to engage in early 2024 with communities and stakeholders impacted by these changes to help us define the regulations necessary for establishing these civilian governance bodies.

We acknowledge the conclusion of the interim board’s term and are actively working to ensure the timely establishment of the permanent PPAB, along with a well-planned transition.

Development:

The response from Alberta Public Safety and Emergency Services (PSES) emphasizes the need for a Provincial Police Advisory Board (PPAB) that adequately represents the needs of communities across the province and RMA appreciates the continued engagement on this issue. However, this response does not give any further information as to when a PPAB may be implemented or what it will look like. Further commitment to the creation of the PPAB and information on how rural municipalities will be fairly represented is necessary.

RMA has actively been part of the Interim Police Advisory Board (IPAB) since it was formed several years ago. One of the primary purposes of the IPAB was to develop a governance and recruitment structure for a permanent board; work which the IPAB completed but which was subsequently rejected by the former Minister. Since then, there has been very little ministry engagement and no recognition of the recommendations that the IPAB has put forward.

In March 2024, RMA prepared a submission for the Government of Alberta’s engagement related to developing Police Act regulations to allow for the implementation of the PPAB. Specific input included:

  • The PPAB should provide ongoing input, advice, and recommendations to the Government of Alberta and RCMP on policing in Alberta.
  • The PPAB should collaborate with the Government of Alberta and RCMP to develop annual provincial policing priorities.
  • The PPAB should engage with the Government of Alberta and RCMP to provide input on any policing-related issues that the Board identifies as relevant.
  • The PPAB should not only be designed to represent PPSA municipalities at a provincial level, but it should also serve a capacity-building function by providing advice and support to municipalities and local organizations as to how they can better engage with police at the local level.
  • The PPAB must have clear and enforceable expectations for reporting back to the communities it represents on how local input is integrated into provincewide priority development.
  • The PPAB must be accountable to the municipalities it represents. If a municipality is not being heard or included in PPAB business, it should have an outlet to share this concern and have action taken.
  • The PPAB must be resourced at a level that allows for ongoing, high-quality engagement with the municipalities it represents.
  • Before the PPAB begins its work in collaborating with the RCMP and Government of Alberta on policing-related issues, it must have accountability processes in place, including a process for regularly gathering input from the communities it represents, regularly reporting back to such communities, and a process for communities to share urgent issues, concerns, or recommendations with the PPAB.

In spring 2024 the Government of Alberta passed Bill 11: The Public Safety Statutes Amendment Act, 2024 which enables the creation of a new organization that would work alongside police services across the province. In this new organization, officers would take on the responsibility of “police-like functions” that are currently carried out by the Alberta Sheriffs. Bill 11 raises significant questions related to police governance, funding, service delivery, and the future of policing in the province. The role and implementation of a PPAB is further complicated by Bill 11.

While RMA is encouraged by the engagement on the development of regulations that will allow for the formation of the PPAB, no information is available in terms of when the regulations will be introduced or the PPAB will be formed. RMA assigns this resolution a status of Intent Not Met and will continue to advocate on this issue.

Provincial Ministries:
Justice and Solicitor General
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