Ottawa, ON — Following is a joint statement from Brian Sauvé, President of the National Police Federation, Casey Ward, President of the Regina Police Association and the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers, and Dean Pringle, President of Saskatoon Police Association and Vice President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers, strongly requesting that all police officers be considered for priority access to COVID-19 vaccinations.
“Across Canada, some provinces and territories have begun rolling out COVID-19 vaccines in a safe and appropriately prioritized manner. Regrettably, not all have joined in this effort, and as part of this rollout, the National Police Federation, the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers, the Regina Police Association and the Saskatoon Police Association have come together to strongly request that all police officers in Saskatchewan be considered for priority access to COVID-19 vaccinations due to their role as emergency first responders and essential workers.
The National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) recommendations place first responders, including police officers, in the “Stage 2” priority group, along with other essential workers. We believe this recommendation is necessary and matches the complicated reality that police officers must work within. Due to the nature of their work, our officers do not have the opportunity to appropriately social distance during interactions with the public, resulting in multiple instances of close contact every single day. In practical terms, this means our officers are often at a significantly higher risk of contracting COVID-19.
Without priority access to the vaccine, our officers will continue to be exposed and infected by the virus, requiring them to quarantine and isolate. This reduces staffing levels and the ability to sustain community safety and well-being, including preventing community transmission of COVID-19. Our officers are responsible for enforcement of COVID-19 measures, including entering non-compliant situations.
For context, about 400 Regina and Saskatoon police officers and 450 RCMP Members in Saskatchewan have been forced into self-isolation (sometimes more than once) due to close contact with an infected person. Between our three police services, roughly 80 police officers have tested positive for COVID-19. While we share these numbers to quantify the issue we are facing, the reality is that our officers have families, young and old, who are also immediately and automatically affected by the impact of their work.
It is critically important that we have a consistent standard for police officers, and all front-line workers across the country, in the interest of public safety. All governments need to remain consistent with NACI guidelines to ensure that those working in community settings with high levels of public interaction are among the first to be vaccinated to slow and stop the community transmission of the virus.
Simply put: protecting our officers helps protect all Saskatchewan residents.”
About the National Police Federation:
The National Police Federation (NPF) is the first independent national association to represent RCMP Members and was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP front-line Members serving across Canada and internationally in the summer of 2019. The NPF is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada; the second largest in North America.
The NPF is focused on improving public safety in Canada by negotiating the first-ever Collective Agreement for RCMP officers, and on increasing resources, equipment, training, and other supports for our Members who have been under-funded for far too long. Better resourcing and supports for the RCMP will enhance community safety and livability in the communities we serve, large and small, across Canada.
About the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers
The Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers represents over 1000 police personnel from six municipalities in Saskatchewan. The cities in the SFPO are: Regina, Saskatoon, Prince Albert, Moose Jaw, Weyburn and Estevan. The SFPO is comprised of 8 police associations from each of those cities including senior officer associations in Regina and Saskatoon.
About the Regina Police Association
The Regina Police Association is a labour organization representing both police officers and civilian members of the Regina Police Service. We represent approximately 560 police officers and civilian members and are affiliated with the Saskatchewan Federation of Police Officers and the Canadian Police Association.
About the Saskatoon Police Association
Since 1920, the Saskatoon Police Association has been their official voice, providing representation, resources and support for the people behind the badge. Over 500 sworn police members strong, we represent our members in matters concerning employee benefits, discipline and contracts. We work with our fellow police associations to improve working conditions for officers here and across Canada.
National Police Federation
Fabrice de Dongo
Manager, Media Relations