The Issue

The Province of Alberta is looking at options to improve Alberta’s place in Canada as part of a “Fair Deal Panel Review.” The panel’s recommendations include replacing the RCMP with an expensive new Provincial Police Service.

1. Paying More for Less

Replacing the RCMP would cost Albertans millions more for less service, further deepening the difference between what Alberta contributes to Canada from what it receives.

  • The federal government pays about 30% of Alberta’s RCMP policing costs – that’s ~160 million annually.
  • If Alberta were to replace the RCMP, Alberta taxpayers and local communities would be on the hook for this ~160 million, and the full cost of provincial policing, plus significant transition costs.
  • In the City of Surrey, British Columbia, transition costs from RCMP to a municipal detachment tripled to $64 million from original estimates, and those costs are still growing. These costs would be significantly higher for an entire province.
  • The City of Red Deer recently rejected the idea of a municipal police service after a KPMG study found a transition away from the RCMP would cost taxpayers tens of millions of dollars and take over four years to complete. The study also indicated that annual costs required to operate a municipal police service would be significantly higher than keeping the RCMP.
  • At a time when Alberta’s economy is facing significant challenges due to the impacts of COVID-19 and uncertain natural resource markets, now is not the time to proceed with unnecessary and costly changes to our policing model.

2. Risks to Community Safety

As seen in other jurisdictions, a transition away from the RCMP would result in less officers, putting rural communities at risk.

  • Since 2017, public requests for police assistance in both emergency and non-urgent matters in Alberta have risen 20%.
  • Despite flat funding and increasing demand, in 2018 the Alberta RCMP dedicated 30 officers and 40 civilians to a Crime Reduction Strategy, with a focus on addressing rural crime rates.
  • The Strategy achieved a 10% decrease in crime rates for rural detachments and 6% for municipal detachments so far. An expensive new police force would put this progress at risk.

3. Albertans Support the RCMP

Albertans value "safe communities and affordable, responsive policing."

  • 81% of Albertans served by RCMP are satisfied with the service they receive
    • 78% in rural north communities
    • 81% in rural central communities
    • 87% in rural south communities

*Pollara Strategic Insights, 1,300 rural/urban responses; online and phone, October, 2020, relative margin of error ±2.7% 

4. Albertans want transparency on this proposal

After spending $2 million on a provincial police force feasibility study by PwC Canada, Albertans want the Province to be transparent on the findings by releasing this report.

  • 92% of Albertans want to see a detailed accounting of costs and impacts to service levels before any change is considered.
  • Municipal leaders across Alberta overwhelmingly oppose the plan and want to instead see improvements made to the RCMP including increased resources and service levels.
    • *Pollara Strategic Insights, 1,300 rural/urban responses; online and phone, October, 2020, relative margin of error ±2.7%