RCMP members have ratified their first collective agreement, and it provides a massive pay increase – an increase that has the District of Sooke calculating how much more they will be paying for policing.
For the first time, a union representing RCMP members has ratified a collective agreement with the federal government to cover nearly 20,000 members.
Before the new collective agreement, a constable could make up to $86,110, while a staff sergeant made between $109,000 and just over $112,000.
According to the RCMP, as of April 1, 2022, a constable will make up to $106,576 — a jump of $20,000. A staff sergeant will make between $134,912 and $138,657 next year.
Raechel Gray, director of financial services of the District of Sooke, said the municipality is just starting to get details of the contract and will be the focus of budget talks this fall.
“Anytime there is a significant cost increase, there is a tax impact,” Gray said.
Over the years, district council has attempted to keep up with ever-increasing policing costs. It’s tucked away $432,102 in a police reserve fund and put aside $277,555 to pay for the increase in police pay.
Community growth is also having an impact on the police budget.
Next year Sooke is responsible for 90 per cent of policing costs, up from 75 per cent, when the municipality’s population will top 15,000 people. This year a new RCMP officer was hired and another is expected to follow in two years.
Sooke, along with other Island communities, is also negotiating with the province on a cost-sharing agreement of police dispatch calls, estimated to cost the district $300,000.
”We’ve been preparing for these challenges, and we’ll look at how to best fund these programs, either through our five-year financial plan or other means,” Mayor Maja Tait said.