Frequently Asked Questions The time to organize is now! Join the National Police Federation Join Now! 1. Why do we need representation? RCMP members need strong, knowledgeable, experienced representation to press government for better pay, better equipment and working conditions. We are the only police organization in the country without a group to represent our interests, and to ensure a strong financial future for our members and their families. We are Canada’s National Police Force – but when compared to 80 Canadian police forces with over 50 members, we are number 72 in salary. We have old equipment, and we get paid less than other police forces, but nobody is standing up for us with our employer. We’re always short staffed - we need improved compensation and resources so we can ensure member and public safety and attract new and better recruits. 2. Why should I join NPF? The NPF has the strongest, most experienced leadership to represent our members. Our three executive members combined have over 30 years of labour relations experience. Eddie MacDonald brings over 16 years, Brian Sauvé over 10, and Peter Merrifield close to 13. This is a depth of understanding of the RCMP labour world not seen in other groups; Our board of directors includes 10 men and women members who have served between 10 and 35 years in every province and territory. We also have an advisory board of professionals and experts in human resources, labour relations, and policing. These advisors will be helping us to set up a strong organization to stand up to government and ensure that we get the best possible pay and working conditions for our members. 3. Why is this urgent – why now? The status quo is not working for any of our members. The RCMP have fallen behind on pay and resources. We need to certify as soon as possible so that we can get to work on your behalf quickly. We have over 3,200 members signed up but need about 1200 more, as of December 2016, in order to be able to apply for certification. Thousands of members have participated in our 43 Town Halls and Facebook sessions and more are joining us every week. Our members are frustrated at the amount of time this is taking, the faster we can get an application in – the faster our members will be able to vote and have their say. If you haven’t joined, do it now. If you’re already a member, please share information with your colleagues so that we can get the wheels in motion to ensure you are fairly paid and properly resourced to do your job. If you have questions. Please contact us so we can give you the answers you need to make a decision. firstname.lastname@example.org is monitored regularly and we commit to responding within 24-48 hours. 4. How do I join? Please complete the form on our home page to join. Member cost is a one-time fee of $10.00 http://npf-fpn.com/become-a-member/ 5. How can I help? You can help in two ways: Share our information with your colleagues who aren’t yet members, and tell them why you joined. Download our app with or without joining or sharing your personal email, so you can share and stay up to date on the latest info and developments. You can download it on iTunes or Google Play. 6. How many members do you need to apply to certify? Under the present rules for Federal certification, we need 40% of all RCMP members signed up before we can apply for certification. So, there are about 17,500 members, we need 6900 to join. So we are well on the way, with over 3,200 members in just 9 months. We believe that given enough time (another 8 months or so) we can reach 6,900 BUT members need strong representation now. Government is in the final stages of passing legislation that would eliminate the 40% minimum requirement which would allow us to apply for certification right away. We are glad the government is making the legislative changes that might allow us to apply earlier. Our lawyers have advised us that a comfortable number is 4000 to 4500 because our lawyers are confident they could make a good case for certification with 25-30%. And we believe we’ll achieve that by early in the New Year. You can help: If you haven’t joined, do it now. If you’re already a member, please share information with your colleagues so that we can get the wheels in motion to ensure you are fairly paid and properly resourced to do your job. 7. What’s the certification process? Once we have enough members signed up, we can apply to the Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board. Once we have applied we’ll set to work consulting with our members on the best organizational structure to properly represent all of the regions and divisions. We’ve got very strong legal and professional advisors but we want and need to get input from members in every division so that we set up a structure that is fair and considers the scope of our service across the country. We are working hard to build membership so we can apply for certification by getting the word out but it’s been difficult given the Force’s prohibition on using RCMP internal email. So, we’ve been out visiting as many towns as we can. The geography of Canada and the locations we provide policing services to are vast – many fly in posts and smaller remote locations. The logistics are a challenge. This leads to smaller, more remote communities not getting the information they deserve, and if they’re not on Facebook or have bandwidth issues to access the internet, it’s hard to reach them. We need everyone’s help to get the word out. You can help by joining, and by sharing our information with other members who may not be on social media. 8. Why don’t you join with the other groups? We would love to join forces. We agree it would be the best solution for everyone and we could get on with the certification process and negotiating for better pay and benefits. We tried. But despite our attempt to set up a meeting to discuss a cooperative effort, one of the other groups have refused to come to the table. The NPF believes members of the RCMP need strong, knowledgeable and experienced representation to press government for better pay, equipment and working conditions. Joining with other groups is one way of accomplishing that and we remain open to discussions to that end. 9. How much will it cost me to have NPF as my representative? The NPF believes a good estimate for dues at the outset would be between 1.25 and 1.5% of a First Class Constable’s salary. This translates to about $45 to $50 every two weeks for all members, regardless of rank (pro-rated for those below First Class Constable). This amount is also tax deductible – so a member’s net cost may be closer to $30 to $35 every two weeks. The NPF has canvassed other police forces and their associations, the range across the police universe is anywhere between 0.8% and 2.2% of a 1st Class Constable salary for dues. Based on the size of the RCMP (over 17,000) we believe there can be some savings but also based on the geography we cover there will be added costs so this is a reasonable range. RCMP members have been in an effective salary freeze for over 7 years. None of us want to pay any more. But the only way we will get better pay, resources and benefits will be to have a national representative. 10. Why is it taking so long to get certified? The NPF is moving as quickly as we can to create an experienced, accountable, well governed, group to represent all members. The most effective thing you can do to speed up the process is to share our information with more members. We need more members so we can apply for certification, and get to work on your behalf. Urgency is a consistent theme that we heard through our member survey and town halls across Canada – many members are frustrated with the time it is taking to get a bargaining agent in place. The NPF understands that frustration and realizes that the status quo is not working. We have great momentum and great support. The NPF has been in existence since the Spring of 2016 has been able to attract 3 times the number of members any previous association (MPAO, MPPAC, BC MPPA, AMPMQ or all combined) have in their entire existence. 11. Why should we choose NPF rather than others? The NPF has 4 key advantages over other groups: Experience, Accountability, Transparency, and Governance. Experience: The NPF has the strongest, most experienced leadership of any of the groups out there. Our co-chair management committee brings over 30 years of RCMP specific labour experience to the table and where we lack, we have sought out some of the world’s best police specific labour relations minds to assist us in this venture. Our Board of Directors is made up of 10 men and women who have between 10 and 35 years of service, in almost every province and territory in Canada. We believe that Board is very representative of the members of the RCMP we are seeking to represent. Accountability: We believe the NPF has implemented a strict and accountable process for dues and expenses with excellent financial oversight. Our governance model is federal legislation which brings added levels of oversight. In addition, we are the only group that has publicly committed to having an inaugural meeting of members once certified to allow the membership to choose their leadership and executive. Transparency: The NPF is transparent – the RCMP is a Canadian icon and our certification campaign is open to be viewed by the public, our profiles and bios are free to be seen by all on our webpage, videos available for all to see. This is a Canadian icon going through historical change and we should embrace it as Canadians and members of the RCMP. Governance: When we created NPF, we examined the best practices of other police association models and used their strengths to create a labour representation framework that is tailored to the RCMP’s unique needs. We are clearly one of the most complex police forces in the world and a cookie cutter union model will not work for us. 12. Why did you source money from the RCMP legal fund to pay for your campaign? The NPF believes that members of the RCMP need strong, knowledgeable and experienced representation to press government for better pay, benefits and working conditions. The Mounted Police Association of Ontario and the Mounted Police Members Legal Fund also see this need and have provided the support they can to the membership (through the NPF) in an effort to advance a certification drive with a goal to protect the welfare and dignity of all members of the RCMP for generations to come. The Mounted Police Members Legal Fund (MPMLF) provided an interest bearing loan to assist in our certification campaign. The MPMLF Board and Executive (of which no member of NPF’s Board was party of) received, examined, processed, discussed and voted on the application. The vote was NOT unanimous but the funding request was approved – in a modified capacity from the initial request. It is important to note that the MPMLF was NOT the first source of funding we received – the initial funding source was from the Mounted Police Association of Ontario (MPAO), also in the form of an interest bearing loan. 13. If you apply for certification next week – how long before we actually get a new package? Once certified, we would immediately negotiate an interim agreement including pay. We all know that the RCMP membership have fallen behind on pay, resources and other issues for too long. At the same time, we’d also begin negotiating a more fulsome, long-term collective agreement which will take more time. Our lawyers have advised us that once we apply, if there is no opposition from other groups to our application, members will have an opportunity to vote on certification within 4 to 6 months of applying. If there is opposition to our application from other groups, members may not be able to vote for 8 months or longer. We’ve heard the sense of urgency from all RCMP members and so we hope there will be no opposition to our application. Members of the RCMP need strong, knowledgeable, experienced and independent representation to press government for better pay, equipment, benefits and working conditions as soon as possible. 14. Why does it have to be a Union? Can’t we just have an association? Union, Association, Federation, Alliance…all are words that in labour terms mean the same thing. We know that RCMP members want national representation that is tailored to our unique needs, not a cookie-cutter approach. There is no difference in what we call ourselves – our national representation will be a collective of members of the RCMP representing the collective wishes of all members for better terms and conditions of employment such as pay, benefits, resource levels and equipment. The NPF chose to call itself a Federation because we were founded as an open and inclusive group, we welcome all who have the best interests of the RCMP membership at heart. 15. I joined MPPAC only because they have a legal insurance fund. I and many others would switch if you had one. Will you? The short answer is yes. Once we’re certified, we would continue to listen to and work with the membership to determine how our new association should be structured to best represent everyone. This includes what type and form of a separate legal indemnification or insurance fund should we have – the membership need it, but the membership also need to be consulted on how it is structured, what it will cost and how it will work. Most police labour groups have an arm’s length separate legal corporation used for the assistance of members and the association or union. The NPF envisions a similar structure in the future. At present, members of the RCMP should realize that as employees of the Crown, legal indemnification (costs of defence counsel) for acts performed while on duty – are paid for by the Government of Canada. The threshold for approval for “Legal Fees at Public Expense” is very low. There are some cases with extenuating circumstances where members – while on duty – will not be approved for Legal Fees at Public Expense. These cases are rare, but they do occur. This is where a Legal Insurance plan can assist and it is a good plan to have in place for those rare circumstances. 16. Who is leading the National Police Federation? At the present we are operating as a co-chair management committee, Eddie MacDonald, Peter Merrifield, and Brian Sauvé. Following certification, all members will be afforded the opportunity to select a leader and directors of the group. 17. What is the salary structure of the Board and your expected expense budget during the certification campaign? At present, we are confident we have adequate funding to achieve certification. As far as salary is concerned, Brian Sauvé is presently on a leave without pay from the RCMP to push this full time and is being compensated by the NPF through an employment contract with the NPF. 18. How much will the salary of the president be once your group is representing the RCMP membership? This is yet to be determined. We are of the belief that appropriate compensation is required and will be reflective of industry compensation models. After carefully considering the compensation structures for police leaders in other organizations, the Board of the Federation will determine the appropriate rate. 19. Once your group is certified as the bargaining agent for the RCMP membership, would members be allowed to vote for a different president/Board of Directors, if yes, how soon will that be? Yes, members will have an opportunity to elect the members of the executive Board and the President. This is the position of the National Police Federation (and will be written in our Bylaws, which will then be adopted by our membership). This will happen within 6-9 months of certification, to all appropriate time to prepare for and set up the initial meeting. 20. Who can run for the Board of Directors and president, when will elections occur and who can vote? Once certified, the first meeting of members will be called – all can vote and, subject to the terms of the adopted Bylaws all can run. It is yet to be determined but many police associations place a restriction such as a minimum of 3 years of service to be eligible to put your name forward as a member of the executive board. 21. What are the requirements for someone wanting to be on the board of directors? The only requirement being considered at the moment is a minimum level of service in the RCMP – 3 years is being considered the minimum threshold to be eligible to be on the board of directors. This will all be determined by the founding convention and set out in the Bylaws. 22. How often will these elections take place and who can vote? Subject to the final business model adopted by the membership, an annual meeting of all members will be convened and, subject to the terms agreed in the Bylaws, all members will be able to vote for their president and executive board. Depending on the terms of office (perhaps 2 or 3 years) there may not be vacancies in each position at every annual meeting. Normally, for business continuity and corporate knowledge purposes, it is not advisable to have all board positions up for election every year. 23. Will there be local workplace representatives around the country for members to have a person of contact? Yes. The number of work place representatives remains to be established and will be a topic that we want to hear about from members. Many organizations use a “number of of members/representative” formula. In many police agencies this formula is somewhere near 1 local workplace representative for every 125 members. Again, we will need to thoroughly examine the geography and hear from members to ensure all members have access to timely and adequate assistance. 24. How will these local workplace representatives work? In the police world, local work place representatives are elected by members to a term (usually 2 to 3 years) and are provided paid time away from work to complete local union/federation business. This is sometimes done via an honorarium/stipend (cash payment) or in Lieu Time Off written into a collective agreement. 25. How much staff will your group require in order to operate? We believe that we have an opportunity to provide better service than ever before for members of the NPF and will focus on the key issues of pay and resources where RCMP members have fallen behind other police organizations. We don’t know yet what number of full time versus part time representatives will be needed for NPF. Most police agencies use a “# of members/representative” formula. For full time representatives that is usually about 500/1 which would equate to about 35 full time representatives for the RCMP. However, we must also be mindful that geography is expansive across Canada. The Federation is committed to using the most cost-effective model for providing high-quality service for RCMP members, which would be covered by member fees. 26. What are the staff salaries? This has yet to be determined and will be based on other police agency models. We believe that members and their representatives need to be fairly compensated, being mindful of the sacrifices made by all involved in the short and long term. Once certified, these rates will be determined and carefully reviewed by the NPF’s Board of Directors, and shared transparently with members. 27. Will members have a say on how the money is spent in your group? The NPF is a non-profit corporation under the Not for Profit Corporations Act in Canada and has audit requirements that need to be met. These financial statements will be made available to all members. Regarding day to day operations, it would be difficult to operate if all members were to be consulted for any and all expenses – however for larger expenses, such as litigation against our employer, an electronic vote or ballot is not out of the question. We commit to having detailed operating policies that define boundaries around spending and accountability for executives and staff. We share our members’ concern that spending the assets of the organization have to be transparent and responsible. 28. What is your estimated budget to get your group up and running with offices around Canada? (This includes infrastructure, offices, vehicles, phones, servers, staff, utilities, rent, insurances, computers, supplies etc.) We don’t know yet – no one has ever done what we are trying to do. However, in an effort to be as transparent as possible, we envision starting with 2 main offices after certification: one in western Canada and one in the East/Central. Within those offices would be our admin support, legal staff, grievance staff as well as general member assistance staff. In addition to those offices, we would envision anywhere from 30-45 (yet to be determined) full time representatives across the country in different Divisions. So, based on the above, a cautiously optimistic budget for year 1 would be around $12-14 million - keeping in mind that is a fluid and dynamic number based solely on the fact of all the unknowns. This might need to change and would be gauged against member needs. The organizational structure will be a key issue to be determined by the first Board of Directors based on a very thorough evaluation of feedback from members on their needs, models of police associations from around the world and financial realities. 29. When did the NPF begin, and where are your physical offices at this time? We were founded in March 2016 and are incorporated as a non-profit corporation. At present, to keep costs at a minimum, we operate virtually. Eddie and Peter work on this in their spare time. Brian operates out of an office in his home. For corporate, strategic and banking purposes, we have our mailing address in Ottawa, Ontario. 30. How can we ensure you will follow-up on your promises? Members will have an opportunity to elect their representatives for, typically, 2 or 3 year terms. This is the most effective way to hold representatives accountable. We are committed to upholding the core values of the RCMP, augmented by best practices in police employee organizations worldwide. Our priorities and action plans will be posted, and updates will be added as we move along. If we are not able to attain a goal, we will openly communicate this to the membership with explanation. We believe in transparency and strive to be the national collective voice on behalf of members. 31. Do you have your written bylaws ready? If so, could you please email them to me so that I may share it with the members? Our bylaws are available here. We welcome your feedback. 32. What steps have you taken/will you take to obtain the necessary 50% of members to bring about certification of the NPF? We have gained over 3,000 members in just 9 months and are confident that we will be able to reach the membership and attain the necessary votes. We are listening to our current members about ways to reach out more effectively to non-members, and many of our current members have offered to help. If you’re currently a member, and want to help, please share our emails and/or Facebook posts with your colleagues. If you’re not a member, you can join here. If you’d prefer not to join or share your contact information yet, you can download our app on iTunes and Google Play. 33. How would you classify your group’s relationship with RCMP management? We agree that it’s very important to have an effective working relationship with management. We know RCMP members do not want to work in a combative union environment. It is our belief that once certified, the previous relationships that we have developed with RCMP management, and certainly our depth of experience and knowledge will work to members’ benefit. 34. What is the position of the NPF regarding a member who have undertaken serious offences such as stealing, providing info to organized crime or corruption? All members need to be afforded fair process and representation to ensure a fair process. Some members will be convicted for crimes. The national representative’s role must be to ensure that a review process, whether or not it leads to a conviction, needs to be fair, respect all laws and be transparent. The Federation will be here to fight, responsibly, for RCMP members. 35. What criteria will you adopt for members that require legal representation? As members of the RCMP, we are governed by the Federal government and as such are eligible for Legal Fees at Public Expense (LFPE) – should any of our actions in the course of our employment lead to civil or criminal jeopardy. The threshold for approval for LFPE is quite low: “In order to be entitled to receive legal assistance at public expense, the employee must: have been acting honestly and without malice within the scope of his/her duties or employment, and have met the reasonable expectations of the RCMP. There are times when the RMCP denies approval, sometimes for egregious and overt criminal behaviour and sometimes simply based on optics. When this occurs, the National Police Federation will be there to provide legal coverage for members and to ensure the RCMP is held accountable for their initial denial (i.e. repay the Federation). The National Police Federation plans to maintain a robust internal legal defense fund (one that does not require an external insurance company nor any external approval measures). In addition to that fund, the National Police Federation plans to retain counsel, both criminal and civil, to assist members should the RCMP deny coverage for duty related incidents. We would, of course, challenge the decision to deny members with publicly funded counsel where appropriate. 36. What is the NPF position on the reinstatement of members who have been fired? All members deserve a fair process and consideration. The Federation does not decide who gets reinstated – that is up to the Force, the Conduct Board, or sometimes the Federal Court. The Federation can commit to examining each case individually and to fight, responsibly, for the rights of all RCMP members. 37. If we get a national representative, will seniority become the principal deciding factor on promotional opportunities or lateral job transfers? Unequivocally, no. It is our position that the best person (subject to eligibility to compete) should get the job in any competition in a fair and transparent staffing process. Our focus will be to ensure there is a fair and transparent process in place to review and consider promotional opportunities and transfers, and to effectively challenge management if that doesn’t occur. 38. Does your group support the Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) becoming a mandatory requirement for members to complete under the required time? It is our position that the present requirement of needing to complete the PARE (not pass, just complete) is adequate. Although we accept that the PARE is a good indication of a member’s ability to do police work, as it is a method to assist in gauging a members’ overall physical health, we are only aware of one police organization in Canada that has a fitness requirement on an ongoing basis (Edmonton Police Service). 39. How important is members’ mental health in your agenda and how are you planning on showing that? Mental Health is absolutely a priority, along with pay and benefits, resources and equipment, overtime and workplace health and safety. These are all issues that are linked to burnout. This directly affects resilience and mental health, our ability to stay safe and keep our community’s safe. National representation we provide strong advocacy and support on all of the key issues. 40. What do you believe to be the top priority to advance for members of the RCMP? Members have told us that pay is their top issue, along with resources and equipment, overtime, back-up and workplace health and safety. Once certified, we would immediately negotiate an interim agreement including pay. We all know that the RCMP membership have fallen behind on pay, resources and other issues for too long and this is one of the key reasons we need national representation. 41. Will arbitration be done without management interference? There are two kinds of arbitration: interest arbitration (which sets the terms of the collective agreement) and rights arbitration (which resolves disputes over what those terms mean). Both types of arbitration are legally protected practices performed by independent arbitrators or, on occasion, three-person arbitration panels. Arbitrators decide cases without management or Federation interference – they are independent from both parties. The reason contract negotiations go to arbitration is because negotiations have failed or reached an impasse. In the event we cannot reach an equitable collective agreement, the Federation will push for the best possible result through arbitration – and the arbitrator will examine the case impartially and without management interference. 42. Who would be coming out to assist a Member(s) at the most critical of times? Initially, members would be assisted by part time local workplace representatives with remote support from a full-time representative and any third-party legal, policing or medical experts who may be required. In a critical incident such as a shooting or use of force incident where a member could face criminal jeopardy, a full time representatives will attend in person, as soon as possible considering potential need for travel. We will provide full support to members, including a fair and transparent review process and a challenge of decisions or actions that are inconsistent with such a process. 43. Presently, cadets that graduate depot are being posted wherever there is an operational requirement. What is the NPF position regarding transfers for these members closer to home? Right now, the Commissioner or his delegate (i.e. each CO) can act unilaterally with regards to transfers and deployments. With representation, we would work to achieve a modern, fair and transparent process for all members to be able to identify where they want to go and for the Force to have adequate resources in place to allow that member to pursue where they want to work. We would like to say that simply by certifying a bargaining agent will allow every member of the RCMP to choose their posting and get closer to home. That is simply not the case. But the sooner we elect a national representative, the sooner we can work toward a better process. 44. If the president or an executive director including Vice Presidents, treasurer and any other elected position of the NPF were to commit an act which warrants immediate action, will that person be removed from their position or they will remain in their elected positions until Election Day? Immediate action will be taken to address any breaches to the standard of conduct. Transparency is key – the life we chose is the RCMP. The RCMP expects the best from its membership and it is the National Police Federation’s position that those that represent members of the RCMP should exceed that standard..