December 13, 2021

An increase in policing costs related to the first collective agreement negotiated between the federal government and the National Police Federation, the union that represents the RCMP, will have a significant impact on City of Portage la Prairie taxpayers.

In the City of Portage la Prairie, RCMP contract costs are shared with a 70% municipal and 30% federal split. The agreement provides for a 23.7 percent wage increase, retroactive to 2017. It is estimated that the City of Portage la Prairie will be responsible for $800,000 in backpay, plus an additional $800,000 annually in increased protective services costs. This will have a significant impact on City taxpayers with an average increase of $137 per property roll in 2022.

The City of Portage la Prairie has partnered with the Association of Manitoba Municipalities (AMM) and the Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) to ask that any retroactive pay increases which were negotiated by the federal government be absorbed fully by the federal government.

“Our municipality strongly believes that it would be both unreasonable and unfair to download these costs onto municipalities, especially while our focus remains on COVID-19 recovery efforts.” said Mayor Irvine Ferris, “We have outlined these concerns in a letter to Federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair and in discussion with provincial Justice Minister Cameron Friesen.”

“What we’re saying to the federal government is that we were not consulted and didn’t get to take part in these negotiations. While we fully support the RCMP, these costs far exceed what were communicated to us by the federal government” Ferris said.

These new costs will need to be considered in the overall discussions of the 2022 City budget.  Unless City Council is looking at significant cuts to services in other areas, residents should anticipate this increase to their tax bill in the 2022 tax year.