The President of the Association of Manitoba Municipalities says they are happy to hear the Manitoba government is continuing to call on the federal government to fund the back pay owed to the RCMP.
Last week, during the discussion of rural crime and community safety officers, the topic of back pay came up. Justice Minister Kelvin Goertzen noted he and Municipal Relations Minister Andrew Smith have renewed calls to the federal government to fund the retroactive pay. AMM President Kam Blight says having to pay this will cause communities a lot of trouble.
"Municipalities have been facing a lot of challenges, especially rising inflation. It has just gone through the roof and the costs are escalating at a rapid rate," says Blight. "To now have to absorb all these costs of retroactive charges that were negotiated by the federal government on our behalf, and we were not sitting at the table, is just absolutely ludicrous."
Blight says it comes out to around $5.1 million for 21 municipalities throughout the province. This is not counting the salary costs from this point on, and Blight says municipalities are not seeing an increase in services.
"We're very disappointed. I think this is something that the federal government should be fully absorbing as they were the ones that were doing this and negotiating with our wallets," says Blight. "This should be a tab that they're picking up, and we're definitely going to continue to call on the federal government to absorb these costs because this is on them."
Mayor of Portage la Prairie Sharilyn Knox says this will cost the city $900,000, something they'd prefer to use toward crime prevention.
In a media release, Goertzen said, "We appreciate and value the work of the RCMP in Manitoba. However, municipalities were not consulted nor were they involved in the negotiation of the back pay that the federal government negotiated in the RCMP contract. Simply handing the bill to municipalities isn't good enough and will significantly impact local municipalities and their residents."