Historic investment in rural policing

Justice Minister and Solicitor General Doug Schweitzer shakes hands with an RCMP officer in Leduc County.

The Government of Alberta’s new police funding model will inject more than $286 million over five years into frontline law enforcement for these additional RCMP officer and civilian positions. This new cost-sharing partnership will see small and rural communities begin to pay a portion of frontline policing costs, bringing them into line with larger communities and cities.

Under the cost-sharing terms in the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA), Alberta pays 70 per cent of policing costs and the federal government covers the remaining 30 per cent. With the additional investment from municipalities, the federal share of the PPSA will increase as well. This partnership will constitute a total increase in rural police funding of more than $286 million over five years with every dollar of the additional funds invested in frontline policing.

The province is creating a new Alberta Police Advisory Board, where municipal leadership will have a seat at the table, working in collaboration with law enforcement to ensure local needs are heard and implemented. This new governance mechanism will ensure that policing is in line with the priorities of those they are protecting.

“Ensuring Albertans are safe, secure, and protected in their communities goes to the heart of who we are as a government. We want to ensure we fund law enforcement in an equitable and sustainable way that will ensure we have more police in our communities. With this new police funding model, we are making the single largest investment in rural policing since the March West and delivering on our promise to enhance public safety.”

Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“Crime affects many in my own rural community, and it is an issue that is incredibly personal to me. All Albertans deserve to feel safe in their own homes and confident that they will not fall victim to violent or property crime. This new police funding model will provide increased security and certainty for rural Albertans, and value for taxpayer dollars.”

Jason Nixon, Minister of Environment and Parks

“The Government of Alberta has made an unprecedented investment in their police service, and we are ready to deliver on that commitment. The funding model announced will allow the Alberta RCMP to put additional resources where they are needed most immediately – on the frontline in your detachments, protecting your backyards and your farmyards, pushing back crime in a sophisticated and focused manner.”

Curtis Zablocki, Deputy Commissioner, RCMP

“*Rural Municipalities of Alberta appreciates the Government of Alberta’s willingness to consult on this issue, and as a result of input from RMA and rural municipalities, implement a phased-in police costing model. Rural crime has been an ongoing issue in Alberta in recent years, and rural municipalities recognize they need to share in the costs of the solutions to support safer communities. Absorbing additional policing costs will be a significant challenge for rural municipalities given the current economic environment and RMA continues to be concerned about the use of equalized assessment in the calculations of amounts paid, however a reduction in the weighting of equalized assessment based on consultation is appreciated. RMA is looking forward to participating on the Alberta Police Advisory Board to inform how additional funding will be reinvested to improve service standards to the rural and remote municipalities and how municipalities can have increased local input into monitoring the service deliverables as compared to cost increases.”

Al Kemmere, president, Rural Municipalities of Alberta

“AUMA has long advocated for a more equitable police-funding model to address RCMP vacancies and the rising costs of policing while improving community safety. We're pleased to see action on this critical priority by the provincial government, as safe and healthy municipalities build strong communities and a stronger Alberta. Further consultation is critical to supporting local governments with the policing resources they need, and we look forward to actively contributing to the Alberta Police Advisory Board.”

Barry Morishita, president, Alberta Urban Municipalities Association

This partnership places priority on adding uniformed patrol officers in rural RCMP detachments, increasing the total number from under 1,600 to about 1,900, and will also add members to specialized RCMP units that dismantle organized crime and drug trafficking and investigate auto and scrap metal theft.

Furthermore, the new civilian positions will assist with administrative tasks and investigative support to increase response times and help ensure officers have the support network they need to protect Albertans by spending more time on roads and in communities.

Quick facts

  • Small and rural communities, with some exceptions, will begin contributing a portion of their frontline policing costs in 2020. To give communities time to adjust, the new funding model is being phased in: communities will contribute 10 per cent of policing costs in 2020, followed by 15 per cent in 2021, 20 per cent in 2022 and 30 per cent in 2023.
  • Policing costs for each community will be determined by municipal tax base (as measured by equalized assessment) and population to calculate a base cost. Communities will also be eligible for other subsidies that consider other factors that may affect local policing costs.
  • Current annual PPSA amount, 2019-20 (prior to new police funding partnership): $374.8 million
  • Government of Alberta contribution: $262.4 million
  • Government of Canada contribution: $112.4 million
  • Additional investments to current PPSA to April 1, 2024 will be: $286,605,021
    • Government of Alberta contribution: $200,623,515
    • Government of Canada contribution: $85,981,506
  • All additional investments will go towards more frontline resources.

*Editor's note: Includes updated quote


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