Since signing a policing agreement with the federal government in 2016, Coaldale has been the only municipality in Canada to pay 100 per cent of the cost of its RCMP contract. Ratepayers in Coaldale have been saddled with more than $4 million in extra costs as a result and Alberta’s government will no longer allow this to continue.

An annual provincial grant of $550,000 will remove a significant financial burden from ratepayers in Coaldale and protect public safety by making up for a shortfall in local police funding from Public Safety Canada, the federal ministry responsible for the RCMP.

This action by Alberta’s government is in response to the federal government’s refusal to provide Coaldale with the same 30 per cent subsidy it extends to similarly sized towns across the country that are policed by the RCMP under municipal contracts. 

“Coaldale’s unfair treatment is the result of the federal government’s unwillingness to be flexible and consider the needs of small-town Alberta. Where the federal government is unwilling to act, Alberta’s government is stepping in to ensure the residents of Coaldale are safe and protected with stable and predictable police funding. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure our communities are safe places to live, work and play.”

Mike Ellis, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services

“Coaldale has been required to pay the full amount of the policing bill for far too long. They are the only community in our country that has been forced to do this. The federal government has been petitioned multiple times to rectify this issue but have refused. Today is a good day! Today our provincial government has stepped up and done what the federal government should have done long ago—funded Coaldale’s policing needs.” 

Grant Hunter, MLA for Taber-Warner

“As a municipality, we’ve always been pleased with our local RCMP detachment, especially under the direction of our current staff sergeant, Mike Numan. But that doesn’t change the fact that for nearly a decade, Coaldale’s been the only municipality in Canada with a population under 15,000 that receives policing from the RCMP at 100 per cent of the cost. To be sure, we’ve tried engaging the federal government on this issue, but ever since 2015, our engagement efforts have fallen on deaf ears. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case with our provincial government. With the help of Minister Ellis and his team, we’ve been able to find a made-in-Alberta solution to an Ottawa-induced problem that will stand to benefit our community for years to come.”

Jack Van Rijn, mayor, Town of Coaldale

“Coaldale has been overpaying for policing for most of my tenure as an elected official, so to see this issue finally get resolved is a major win for our council and a proud moment for our entire community. I would like to thank Minister Ellis and his team for working with our council and administrative staff on this file and, furthermore, for stepping up to right a long-standing federal wrong that to this day Ottawa refuses to acknowledge, let alone take responsibility for.”

Jacen Abrey, three-term councillor, Town of Coaldale

The amount of Coaldale’s provincial grant will be adjusted in future years as the overall amount of its municipal policing agreement changes. Although the immediate aim of this grant is to alleviate the financial hardship on Coaldale created by the missing federal subsidy, the provincial government will continue to advocate for Coaldale to be treated fairly by the federal government.

Quick facts

  • Coaldale has been policed by the RCMP under a municipal policing agreement with Public Safety Canada since 2016 – but unlike every other community with a municipal RCMP contract, Coaldale pays 100 per cent of the cost. 
  • Coaldale has been denied federal funding on the basis that it switched to the RCMP after Public Safety Canada created the New Entrants Guideline in 1992, a provision that ended the federal subsidy for communities that were never policed by the RCMP. 
  • Coaldale was, in fact, policed by the RCMP for several decades before forming its own police service in 1954. 
  • History of policing in Coaldale: 
    • 1905-1916: RCMP (municipality under jurisdiction of provincial police service) 
    • 1917-1931: Alberta Provincial Police, augmented by RCMP 
    • 1932-1953: RCMP (municipality under jurisdiction of provincial police service) 
    • 1954-2003: Coaldale Police Service 
    • 2004-2015: Lethbridge Regional Police 
    • 2016-present: RCMP (municipal policing agreement) 

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