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Feds Unloading RCMP Responsibility: Advocate

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Sylvain Chartrand CD:
***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***

Feds Unloading RCMP Responsibility: Advocate

St. John’s - Citizen advocacy organization Our Duty is condemning the federal government’s proposed budget plans for the RCMP.

Yesterday, Assistant RCMP Commissioner Daniel Dubeau unveiled the Mounted’s deficit reduction plans to staff.  Entitled ‘RCMP Health Services Modernization’, the memo outlines a number of crucial changes, some of which “require authority to change legislation.”  Among the changes are: relegating medical costs from federal to provincial budgets, privatizing supplemental health insurance, outsourcing disability case management, and scrapping the RCMP’s current psychological support program.  It will also discard its current leave-entitlement program for a “sick-leave bank system”.

Our Duty President Jeff Rose-Martland says these moves amount to the federal government shirking responsibility.  “Care of our national police force is being dumped to provinces and private companies,” he said.

“By Act of Parliament, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a federal body.  They serve by federal appointment and they answer to federal authority.  Whether they serve at home or abroad, Members of the Mounted are employed by the Government of Canada.  Members answer to the RCMP Commissioner, who answers to the Public Safety Minister of Canada.  It is a clear chain of command in one direction and a clear chain of responsibility in the other.”

The Our Duty President notes that the proposed changes will result in inconsistent benefits for the Mounted.  “Primary health benefits vary provincially, which means Members will be covered - or not - based on where they serve.  The cost of additional coverage will be levied on the officers, which will mean a pay reduction that varies by deployment.”

Rose-Martland also condemns the internal changes.  “A leave-bank system means that Members will have to earn time-off in advance.  That will have officers working when they are not fit because it’s January and they haven’t earned sick time yet.  Or worse, they will have used their available time and have to return to work when they are not capable of fulfilling their duties.  Leave-bank changes focus from performance to pay check.  We should want our police operating at peak ability, not mucking along until the boss says they can have time off again.”

He adds, “The outsourcing is going to alienate Members.  Right now, whether it is disability management or personal support, the Mounted looks after its own.  These changes will have Members appealing to outsiders and feeling abandoned by their peers.”

“The Federal government wants to use the Mounted but not take care of them,” the citizen advocate concludes, “No matter how you spin this, cost savings or efficiency, it still amounts to dereliction of duty.”

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NOT FOR PUBLICATION

Media Contact
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Jeff Rose-Martland
President, Our Duty

exec@ourduty.org
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BACKGROUND

RCMP Health Services Modernization

As a government organization, we have a responsibility to spend taxpayer dollars wisely. Government agencies must always look for efficiencies and the RCMP must focus on keeping Canadians safe.

 Our Senior Executive Committee set two overarching principles as the basis for the RCMP’s deficit reduction exercise: minimize impacts on direct policing operations as well as the impact on RCMP employees.

 A number of our proposals require authority to change legislation in order to move our initiatives forward. On April 26, 2012, the Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act was tabled in the House of Commons so I can now provide you with some high-level detail on the RCMP Health Services Modernization proposals which will be implemented over the next two years and contribute to the RCMP’s savings.

 Basic Health Care

 The Jobs, Growth and Long-term Prosperity Act is proposing that Regular Members fall under the Canada Health Act.   If adopted, Regular Members will need to apply to be covered by provincial health care. In addition, the RCMP will also be working with provinces and territories on how to implement this new process. This new approach to Regular Member health care will allow the RCMP to modernize its Health Services program.

 The inclusion of Regular Members in the Canada Health Act will allow the RCMP to decrease administrative functions that do not support core policing.   This opportunity will also realize financial savings for the RCMP and the provincial/territorial contract partners as Regular Members would be defined as an “insured person” under the Canada Health Act. Accordingly, Regular Members would no longer be billed to the contracting jurisdiction as non-provincial residents, which previously added to the cost of their treatment by as much as 200%. 

 If approved, a more detailed implementation plan, including how to apply for provincial health care/card, will be communicated to Regular Members.

Supplemental Health Care

 Regular Members will continue to obtain the health care services they require. In support of this, the RCMP will be moving its supplemental health care program to an actual insurance provider for supplemental health coverage rather than the current internally funded program.

 More information on this initiative will be communicated as we move forward with implementation plans.

Sick Leave

 The RCMP is examining the possibility of implementing a sick leave bank system. Under this proposal, all Regular and Civilian Members would accumulate sick leave instead of the current system of leave entitlements.

 The RCMP is also looking at establishing an internally-funded short-term disability program based on a leave bank system. This program is part of an overarching Disability Case Management Program to help manage a member’s return to work in a more professional, beneficial and timely manner.

Disability Case Management

 The RCMP is modernizing the administration of its current Disability Case Management Program by moving to an outsourced model which would have an external service provider undertake the administrative functions related to the management of individual member cases and associated return to work.

Member/Employee Assistance Program (M/EAP)

 The M/EAP program will transition to the Employee Assistance Services (EAS) program from the current peer-based referral agent. Health Canada’s Employee Assistance Services (EAS) provides a referral service when addressing psychological services. EAS is the largest public sector provider representing more than 140 organizations and over one million clients across Canada.

 All employees (including Regular Members) and their dependants will receive consistent, timely, professional and confidential access to short-term counseling services.  Services will be available from certified counselors 24 hours per day, 365 days a year though a telephone service.

 More information on this initiative will be communicated as we move forward with implementation plans.


 I recognize that you will have questions, especially on how these initiatives will impact you and when they will be implemented. A dedicated team has been established to oversee these Health Services Modernization initiatives. We will share more information and details with all employees as soon as they become available.

 Sincerely,

 D.G.J. Dubeau, A/Commr.
 Chief Human Resources Officer

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