Proposed legislation to create a new RCMP labour relations regime
On March 9, 2016, the Government of Canada introduced legislation (Bill C-7) to create a new labour relations regime for RCMP members and reservists. If passed, the legislation would address the Supreme Court of Canada decision in the Mounted Police Association of Ontario (MPAO) v. Attorney General of Canada case, which found key parts of the current RCMP labour relations regime to be unconstitutional.
Bill C-7 respects the Supreme Court of Canada's decision and the important role of the RCMP as Canada's national police force. While the proposed legislation is in line with some police jurisdictions in Canada as far as elements of collective bargaining, Bill C-7 includes general restrictions related to staffing and pensions that are precluded from collective bargaining for other federal public servants as well. Most importantly, Bill C-7 will ensure members are able to exercise their Charter-protected freedoms, including freedom of association.
Canadians may be interested in understanding what the RCMP is doing to prepare for this significant change to its labour relations regime — one that would be independent from RCMP management — and why the RCMP has already taken specific action in response to the Supreme Court's decision.
Consultations with RCMP regular members
As part of efforts to address the Supreme Court's ruling, the Government of Canada consulted with RCMP regular members on elements of a potential labour relations framework. The proposed legislation takes into consideration the views expressed by regular members. The final report on those consultations is available on the Treasury Board of Canada website.
The dissolution of the Staff Relations Representative Program (SRRP)
RCMP members are not unionized and have been represented through the SRRP. The Supreme Court of Canada's decision in January 2015 determined that the imposition of the SRRP was unconstitutional. The Court gave the Government of Canada one year to address this, and then granted an extension to May 16, 2016.
As a result, the dissolution of the SRRP began this February and will be completed by May 17, 2016. However, until Bill C-7 is passed and a bargaining agent becomes certified, RCMP members still need a mechanism to receive individual advice, support, guidance and workplace representation with respect to workplace issues. That is why the RCMP Commissioner introduced the Member Workplace Services Program in early February 2016.
Cessation of payroll deductions for the Mounted Police Members Legal Fund
As a result of the Supreme Court's decision, the RCMP recently moved to stop members' payroll deductions for membership fees to the MPMLF. Given the relationship between the SRRP and the MPMLF, continuing to deduct legal fund membership fees via the RCMP Member Pay System could be seen as inappropriate and an unfair labour practice. It should be noted that the MPMLF still exists and that it is seeking other options for the payment of dues.
Access to RCMP communications networks by interested associations
The RCMP has made considerable efforts to put appropriate guidelines in place for consistency, transparency and neutrality in our dealings with members and emerging interested employee organizations. For these reasons, the RCMP is not allowing any association to use RCMP resources. This approach is consistent with standard labour practices.
Given this, RCMP members were advised in February 2015 that internal systems (e.g. email and radio systems) are not to be used to disseminate information on any particular labour relations model or employee organization. RCMP Administration Manual, ch III. 2.1.1, refers to correspondence and messages, and states "RCMP communications networks or systems will only be used for official business." Should employees wish to participate in related activities, they must do so on their own time and using their own resources, facilities and equipment.
The exclusion of harassment and conduct matters from Bill C-7
The Government of Canada excluded harassment and conduct from the proposed collective bargaining regime to reflect the legislative authorities under the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act.
The new RCMP member conduct process (which came into force in November 2014 under the Enhancing Royal Canadian Mounted Police Accountability Act) effectively integrated the Treasury Board Policy on Harassment Prevention and Resolution into the broader RCMP system for harassment complaint investigation, resolution and appeals.
The new RCMP Investigation and Resolution of Harassment Complaints process, which was developed through extensive consultation, now provides for a comprehensive, seamless means to respond to harassment complaints, one that provides for informal resolution and relationship repair efforts to be undertaken when appropriate, but that also provides for procedural rights for complainants and respondents once an investigation is initiated.
The decision makers in respect of harassment complaints have the authority to impose conduct measures on respondents where appropriate, without having to initiate an entirely new proceeding, as harassment is now a specifically identified contravention of the RCMP Code of Conduct. In addition, complainants and respondents have access to an appeals process that provides for certain appeals to be subject to a review by an external, independent tribunal, the RCMP External Review Committee.
Commissioner's Broadcast - Launch of new Member Workplace Services Program
Date issued: 2016-02-04
As we move into the next phase of our labour relations transition, I would like to announce the launch of the Member Workplace Services Program (MWSP).
The new program was created in response to the Supreme Court of Canada's ruling in Mounted Police Association of Ontario (MPAO) v. Attorney General of Canada that found the imposition of the Staff Relations Representative Program (SRRP) unconstitutional.
The SRRP has been an integral part of the Force for more than 41 years. We appreciate the dedication and the individual and collective efforts from all the staff relations representatives over the years.
However, with the dissolution of the SRRP to be completed by May 17, 2016, my management team and I wanted to ensure the continuity of advice, support and guidance with workplace issues until a bargaining agent becomes certified.
Until the MWSP is fully implemented on May 17, 2016, you are encouraged to contact your existing SRR or sub-representative as they will continue to provide services in a modified role until the new Member Workplace Advisors (MWA) are selected.
MWAs will be allocated by division, using a fair and transparent selection process. You will have the opportunity to be involved and contribute to your workplace by becoming an MWA or by selecting your preferred advisor. The selection process will roll out over the next few weeks, depending on your division. Details on this process can be found on the new MWSP Infoweb site that launched today.
The new site also outlines the role of the new advisors and the many programs and services that are already in place to assist you outside of the MWSP, such as Employee Assistance Services, the Informal Conflict Management Program, the Peer to Peer System and the Workplace Reporting System.
As we transition to the new framework, managers must familiarize themselves with the related new policy and other related policy amendments, while members must familiarize themselves with employee organizations and labour relations.
During this period of change, we must remain focused on our top priority, the primacy of operations. Please know that labour relations is a priority for the RCMP and I remain committed to providing information to you as it becomes available.
Commissioner's Broadcast - Mounted Police Members Legal Fund payroll deductions to end
Date issued: 2016-02-19
The RCMP will cease members payroll deductions for membership fees to the Mounted Police Members Legal Fund (MPMLF) on March 30, 2016.
The Supreme Court of Canadas decision in Mounted Police Association of Ontario - v. Attorney General of Canada determined that the imposition of the Staff Relations Representative Program (SRRP) was unconstitutional.
New legislation will be coming into force giving regular members the choice to certify a bargaining agent to represent their interests with the Employer, Treasury Board.
Continuing to deduct MPMLF membership fees via the Member Pay System could be seen as an unfair labour practice due to the extensive relationship between the SRRP and the MPMLF since its inception.
You may receive information directly from the MPMLF as to your future options to maintain this payment.
Chief Human Resources Officer Broadcast - Labour Relations in the RCMP
Date issued: 2015-02-17
On January 16, 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) rendered its decision in Mounted Police Association of Ontario v. Attorney General of Canada, declaring that the current labour relations regime in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is unconstitutional.
An interdepartmental project group has been established to review this decision that includes Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat, Public Safety Canada and the RCMP.
The SCC suspended its declaration for a period of 12 months. As a result, the Staff Relations Representative Program will remain in effect during the suspension period.
Many interest groups are advocating specific positions as a result of this ruling and we anticipate this will continue in the days and months ahead. The RCMP has recently received requests to use our resources to distribute information pertaining to the ruling. I draw your attention to the RCMP Administration Manual, ch III. 2.1.1, "RCMP communications networks or systems will only be used for official business," which includes email and radio systems. As such, these systems shall not be used to promote and/or advocate for or against a particular labour relations model or a particular association, or to disseminate information on the subject. Should employees wish to participate in these activities, they must do so on their own time and using their own resources, facilities and equipment.
We are committed to keeping all employees informed as this project moves forward.
Deputy Commissioner Daniel Dubeau
Chief Human Resources Officer
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