May 24th, 2016
Deputy Commissioner Marianne Ryan
Commanding Officer RCMP ‘K’ Division
Re: Wild fires in Fort McMurray
Dear D/Comm. Ryan,
As you are aware, the National Police Federation (NPF) represents members of the RCMP across Canada. One of the issues of great concern to us is the day to day safety of our members who put their lives in jeopardy for the protection of the residents of Fort McMurray and across Canada.
It is clear that the wild fires in Fort McMurray are a disaster unparalleled thus far in Canadian history and keeping that in mind, we understand that not all contingencies can be planned or prepared for. Initial reports of members not having access to, or not being issued the proper safety equipment is of concern to us and our membership – we would hope that any and all claims of an occupational injury be given serious consideration and the follow up treatment of those claims be expedited.
As have many Canadians, we have been monitoring the air quality index within the Fort McMurray area and have serious concerns, as surely you do, about what our members are being exposed to simply by breathing. So we would ask that you ensure that all members are not only equipped with but also use the appropriate personal protection equipment.
Beyond that, we would like to express our sincere appreciation for the leadership, respect and compassion you have shown to our members in this definite time of stress, exhaustion and confusion. All reports have indicated that you have gone above and beyond with respect to ensuring a fair and well balanced approach to the human side of the equation.
Clearly, our members have no choice but to return to duty and place themselves in harm’s way; and our members will continue to shine as the best of the best in the worst of circumstances. We appreciate your ongoing focus and attention to workplace safety, member wellness and work life balance.
The National Police Federation is committed to the safety and well-being of all members of the RCMP. As much as it is our mandate to ensure fair and equitable treatment for the membership, it is equally important to maintain a respectful dialogue with RCMP management in order to remedy issues in a meaningful and cooperative way. The membership deserves to know that their rights and workplace issues are being met with the highest level of professionalism and concern. The NPF will continue to monitor this situation and engage with the membership to address concerns.
Co-Chair – National Police Federation