SURREY, BC, Nov. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - The Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada (MPPAC) applauds a precedent-setting Supreme Court of Canada decision last week to strike down legislation that restricted collective bargaining rights to BCTF. The decision represents a clear warning to the Government of Canada and Federal Minister of Public Safety not to hollow out legislation that will give collective bargaining rights to members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).
"In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada gave the RCMP's rank and file members the right to form a union. Those same justices gave the sitting government one year to write the necessary legislation. Nearly two years later, we are still waiting. In addition, the government is still contemplating excluding certain bargaining rights from legislation. This is a move that would prompt us to immediately launch a court challenge," said MPPAC President Rae Banwarie. "What last week's court decision reconfirms is that, if necessary, MPPAC will launch another court challenge and win the right to collectively bargain on all issues. This includes pay, training and equipment. These are issues that affect our members' jobs, their lives as well as the public's safety."
The RCMP is the only police service in Canada without a union, and more than 18 months of legislative disagreement is holding up what RCMP members deserve -- to have their voice heard on matters such as pay, benefits, harassment, discipline, training, equipment, work conditions, resourcing and safety procedures.
In June, 2016, the Senate of Canada amended the Government's Bill C-7, tabled legislation to honour the RCMP's collective bargaining rights, but which egregiously excluded eight important labour matters. The Senate's revised Bill C-7 (removing all exclusions), which MPPAC supports, must now be re-debated in The House of Commons. Its re-introduction has been stalled by the Government of Canada.
For more than 10 years, MPPAC led the legal fight to give RCMP members the right to collectively bargain with its employer in the Ontario Superior Court, the Appeal court, and finally the Supreme Court of Canada.
"The iconic RCMP brand has become tarnished so when new recruits are asking themselves what's best for me, who will pay me the best, properly equip and train me, and take care of me and my family the best – their answer is not the RCMP," said MPPAC Spokesperson Rob Creasser. "The solution needed to restore dignity to the ranks of our national police force is collective bargaining that's comprehensive and not piecemeal."
MPPAC believes that an RCMP members association with unrestricted collective bargaining in important areas such as equipment, resourcing, and training could have reduced the risks that contributed to many tragedies in our recent history. As the certified bargaining agent, when tragedy occurs MPPAC would have an enhanced capacity to provide necessary support to RCMP members and their families. Some past examples are:
- A 2015 St. Albert, Alberta shooting incident, which took the life of one RCMP officer and wounded an auxiliary officer (MPPAC granted intervenor status)
- A 2015 Kamloops, B.C. near-fatal shooting incident of an RCMP officer
- The tragic 2014 Moncton shootings, which took the lives of three RCMP officers
- The tragic 2005 Mayerthorpe shootings, which took the lives of four RCMP officers
- Harassment, discrimination and sexual abuse claims of current and past employees who have worked for the RCMP since 1974
"These cases all highlight the failings of RCMP management and its processes. When tragedies like these happen our members' and communities' safety is compromised," added Creasser.
MPPAC is a national, non-profit police association which represents regular members of the RCMP in every region of the country. MPPAC is seeking to become the certified bargaining agent for all non-commissioned members of the RCMP, and has been involved in the association movement since 1994.
Of the 227 police agencies in Canada, 226 already have collective bargaining rights – the only exception has been the RCMP. The majority decision from the Supreme Court of Canada in January 2015, gave all non-commissioned RCMP officers the right to collective bargaining. MPPAC has been working on behalf of RCMP members across Canada for many years. MPPAC seeks only the same bargaining and association rights already granted to every other police force in Canada.
SOURCE Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada (MPPAC)
For further information: Rob Creasser, Media Relations, Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, Association Canadienne de la Police Montee Professionnelle, T(250) 371-1071, E: [email protected]; Terry McKee, Media Relations, Mounted Police Professional Association of Canada, Association Canadienne de la Police Montee Professionnelle, T: (506) 850-3907, E: [email protected]