January 2, 2023   

A National Post headline and story over the holidays pondered about the future of the RCMP. As the union representing almost 20,000 RCMP Members with an inside track on the question, we’ve responded below. It’s time to set the record straight on an outdated and inaccurate image of the RCMP perpetuated by the media and critics who’ve never spent a day in uniform or put their lives on the line for others. Let’s talk about the positive accomplishments of the RCMP and Members that never seem to get media traction.  

Our Members are at the forefront of many innovative projects and programs recognized worldwide.  

As noted by the Civilian Management Advisory Board, Depot is a world class and internationally recognized training facility. It provides a welcoming learning space with highly skilled instructors to support all cadets in addressing the emerging issues of our changing world and country.  

Despite naysayers’ opinions, the RCMP has turned a post-COVID recruitment corner. Depot is back to full troop capacity, and interest in joining the RCMP is high as evidenced by the thousands of interested Canadians applying and hundreds of experienced police officers patching over to the RCMP in 2023 alone.  

While the RCMP’s minimum requirement for applicants is a high school diploma, the average age of a cadet in 2023 was 29 and most applicants bring post-secondary education, previous career and life experience across a range of fields and cultures. After success at Depot, our Members undergo two years of probationary mentorship (over 4,000 hours) and many hours of ongoing, mandatory training to develop the unique skills required for policing and specialized services. By comparison, Air Canada requires pilots to have 2,000 hours of flight time. To both air passengers and those relying on the police in crisis, experience and time in the role matters beyond diplomas or certificates. 

In many provinces, cadets recruited locally will return to their home province for their ongoing two-year mentorship post-graduation. Many other new graduates and currently serving Members choose to take advantage of the opportunities to serve in other parts of Canada before bringing their specialized skills back home.  

This diversity of experience brings new perspectives, diverse approaches, and best practices that help communities deal with evolving challenges and opportunities in policing and public safety. It also builds a learning-based police service with Members who have seen and lived different views, perspectives, and experiences. 

The RCMP was at the forefront of the development and implementation of the Incident Management Intervention Model, which emphasizes communication and de-escalation when police officers respond to calls. This model, or similar variations, are now used by all police services in Canada to create consistent language regarding police use-of-force – and it has proven extremely effective, given that less than one-tenth of one percent of RCMP interactions (0.1%) result in any use-of-force. 

Another example of learning and innovation is the RCMP’s groundbreaking response to the opioid crisis. RCMP Members in B.C. were the first to be trained to deliver and carry naloxone, following a need identified by several Members in Surrey. This practice has saved countless lives, was expanded nationally in 2016, and is now a standard practice across Canada and among all police agencies. 

Additionally, the RCMP is the world leader and benchmark in both Emergency Response Team and Police Dog Services training. 

Police officers face public, media, and armchair critic vitriol and sensationalism every day yet continue to show up, knowing it may come at the expense of their own lives. It’s no surprise that in a tight job market those considering a career in service to others may seek alternate career paths. It takes a particularly committed and brave person to be a cop in today’s environment and we should all be grateful for them. 

When it comes to Federal policing, the harsh truth is that numerous, successive, federal governments have chosen to chronically underfund and ignore this and many areas of the RCMP. Put simply, you can’t hire if you aren’t given the budget to pay new officers.  

Canada benefits from a single police service providing local, provincial, federal, international, and specialist policing. The RCMP collaborates, communicates, and shares technology and information which is a significant benefit not often experienced in countries with independent police agencies who protect their turf and even compete with one another. Our model has been validated by similar successful single structures in Scotland, Finland, and Denmark. 

The size, scope, and ability of RCMP Members to provide rapid “surge capacity” to Canadians in the smallest to largest communities for disasters such as wildfires, floods, landslides, and other major public safety events is unique and critical, and too often overlooked and undervalued. The deployment of hundreds of consistently trained RCMP Members as we’ve seen in B.C.’s Interior, Yellowknife, Ottawa, and the Atlantic provinces, could simply not be replicated with independent local police services. 

I was present when the MCC Commissioners tabled their report. They were unequivocal in their comments that no person or organization could have predicted that tragic event, and first responders acted appropriately and courageously in an extremely dangerous environment. These are among the most important findings within the three thousand-plus page reports, but not highlighted in the media. Our Members showed true heroism in a tragic and unprecedented maelstrom of violence and evolving intensity, and that should never be forgotten.  

During this holiday season, while many of us have been enjoying rest and time with loved ones, our Members have been away from their families working to safeguard our communities, large and small, to make our world a better, safer place. They deserve our thanks and respect today and every day. We wish them all a safe and happy 2024. 

Brian Sauvé

President & CEO National Police Federation 

About the National Police Federation: 

The National Police Federation (NPF) represents ~20,000 RCMP Members serving across Canada and internationally. We are the largest police union in Canada. The NPF is focused on improving public safety for all Canadians, including our Members by advocating for much-needed investment in the public safety continuum. This includes investments in police resourcing and modern equipment, as well as social programs including health, addiction, and housing supports to enhance safety and livability in the many communities we serve, large and small, across Canada. 

For more information: https://npf-fpn.com/ 

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Media Contact 

Sarah Kavanagh
Coordinator, Media Relations
[email protected]
(604) 842-6864