September 2, 2021

Ottawa, ON – Today, the National Police Federation, in partnership with Professor Linda Duxbury and Sean Campeau of Carleton University’s Sprott School of Business, released a ground-breaking report on the negative and unique impacts of COVID -19 on the wellbeing of RCMP Members and their families.

Most notably, the survey found that 76% of RCMP Members who responded to the survey reported high levels of job stress. These levels of stress are higher than in most other participant groups – including other first responder workers. This is due to their already stressful occupation and work experiences, the increased and new pressures of COVID-19 added to the ongoing challenges of balancing work, and their family demands and needs.

“The results are significant and worrying, but they are in many ways not surprising,” said Brian Sauvé, President of the National Police Federation. “Our Members have for several years been forced to make-up for significant funding cuts and shortfalls, and they continue to be asked to provide services beyond crime prevention and law enforcement, which is unsustainable. That’s why we’re calling on the federal government to make the right investments in mental health supports for our Members.”

“A couple of things struck me when we did this analysis,” said Professor Linda Duxbury. “First, the RCMP would not be able to fulfil its mandate if members did not donate their personal time to delivering service to the community – 40% of the officers say they never have an uninterrupted break while at work, and many are called into work when they are on leave. And second, there are costs associated with continuing to expect officers to do more with less, including increased stress levels and a decline in wellbeing, which have become more pronounced during the COVID pandemic.”

Below is a summary of the report’s main findings, and here is the full report:

RCMP Members experience high levels of job stress and work-life conflict

During the pandemic, an astounding 76% of the RCMP officers who responded to our survey reported high levels of job stress. Another one-in-four reported moderate levels of job stress. Work interference with family life is also a problem for our Members, with 72% reporting high levels of this stressor.

COVID-19 has exacerbated ongoing police resources shortages

A third of constables in the sample stated that they have decided not to seek promotion or transfer during the pandemic, which makes proper succession planning a challenge. A quarter of them stated that they had experienced reductions in their work productivity and an increase in absenteeism because of the pandemic due to illness, quarantine, family needs and related stress. And a fifth have coped with increased demands at home by taking more personal days, and/or adjusted their work hours to work more evenings and on weekends.

Parents reported higher levels of COVID-related stress

Members with children were more likely to say that they have seen a considerable decline in the amount of personal time they have (25% for parents vs 10% for non-parents), a reduction in their energy levels (37.5% for parents vs 23.5% for non-parents), and the amount of time they have for sleep each night (25% for parents vs 15.5% for non-parents). Like many working parents and families throughout the pandemic, they’ve had to make some occasionally painful adjustments.

About the National Police Federation:

The National Police Federation (NPF) was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP 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 and is the first independent national association to represent RCMP Members.

The NPF is focused on improving public safety in Canada by focusing 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.

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Media contacts:

Fabrice de Dongo                                                        
Manager, Media Relations
[email protected]
(647) 274-7118

Steven Reid
Media Relations Officer
Carleton University
(613) 265-6613
[email protected]

Note to Editors:

  1. The online survey was completed by just over 1,000 RCMP Members during the second wave of the pandemic (October to December 2020)
  2. The report provides an overview of the objective data and findings which explores two key areas: (1) How are RCMP Members faring during COVID-19? and (2) How do gender and parenthood impact key findings regarding employee wellbeing?
  3. This report is one part of a broader national study conducted by Carleton University, in collaboration with Ryerson University and the Conference Board of Canada, titled “Employee Wellbeing in Times of COVID,” which will be released separately.