President Neufeld Meets with RCMP Commissioner on Pressing USJE Issues

On March 7th, National President David Neufeld met with RCMP Commissioner Mike Duheme as part of the RCMP’s regularly scheduled National Labour Management Meeting. Mr. Neufeld seized the opportunity to highlight a number of issues that are of high importance to USJE’s members. These include the status of the 12 recommendations that were identified in Dr. Rose Ricciardelli’s report in 2022 to improve the working conditions of Detachment Services Assistants (DSA), the status of the Memorandum of Agreement between the RCMP and USJE’s Elected Officials (Regional Vice Presidents), as well as learn more about the RCMP’s Taskforce on Retention.

Detachment Services Assistants

In regard to the ongoing work to implement the DSA related recommendations from USJE, Commissioner Duheme has asked his senior staff to provide a fulsome assessment of where things currently stand.  The implementation of recommendations – which were identified in Dr. Rose Ricciardelli’s report commissioned by USJE – is being led by the RCMP’s National Health and Safety Committee. The RCMP has bundled the recommendations into an Action Plan and various internal RCMP project leads have been tasked with advancing various elements. The RCMP offered the following updates:  

  • The development of a nation-wide orientation package is nearing completion and will be rolled out within the year.
  • The RCMP has piloted an online training module for DSAs. Pending some adjustments, which are being made based upon feedback from the pilot, it is the RCMP’s intent to make it available nationwide in both languages as quickly as possible.
  • Request for Bullet proof barriers: Anti-Vault Counter Barrier and impact resistance glass are now in place for all renovated detachments. The RCMP reported that their Property division is in the process of doing an assessment of every Detachment.  550 out of 664 Detachments have had a preliminary review.  President Neufeld asked for clarification on why only some RCMP Detachments would have bullet proof glass versus just a protective barrier. Commissioner Duheme said he would follow up.  
  • Assessments are also underway to examine the location of panic buttons and where specifically they may need to be moved to be in closer proximity to DSAs.
  • The RCMP is currently in the process of replacing its current Service Desk Manager software to better support the evolving needs of the RCMP; the new system will have more advanced functionality, and DSAs will be invited to become super-users when its rolled out so they can provide real time feedback on any challenges of glitches.  

MOA for Elected Union Officials

President Neufeld asked that the RCMP reconsider how it is managing the issue of leave for full time elected positions, particularly USJE’s Regional Vice Presidents (RVPs). Despite the fact that the RCMP Labour Relations team continues to insist that this is an issue that only the Treasury Board can resolve, the Treasury Board is indicating that this is, in fact, an issue that the RCMP can rectify on its own. 

In the case of USJE, this has become a critical matter, as a former USJE RVP is unable to access employment within the RCMP after serving multiple terms as an elected official.  

Mr. Neufeld insisted that it is imperative that the RCMP holds the substantive positions of the very small number of RCMP employees who may be elected to a Regional Vice President role within USJE. In any one term of elected office within USJE, this could represent a total of 6 positions that would need to be held across the country. In the absence of doing this, the RCMP is sending a message to its own employees that there is a real risk in taking a USJE leadership position as they may likely compromise their future employment.  

Further, President Neufeld emphasized that, in a hybrid world, there should be flexibility for an employee who is returning to the workplace after serving several terms of as a Regional Vice President. Because the RCMP did not hold this individual’s substantive position, she has had to apply for various jobs and has not been provided an employment opportunity within the RCMP based upon her geographic location. The Commissioner noted during the course of this exchange that he is open is taking another look at this matter.

Update on Retention Taskforce

USJE and other bargaining agents were provided a quick update regarding the soon to be released recommendations from the RCMP’s Retention Taskforce which focused on all Categories of Employees.  The Recommendations will be shared with Bargaining Units in the coming weeks once approved by the National Senior Management Team. 

Areas for improvement include:

  • Improved and far more meaningful onboarding throughout the organization, particularly for Public Service Employees through Sharepoint;
  • Cultivating personal connections and a sense of belonging: The proposed creation of a guide for all supervisors to capture crucial info about an employee’s experience within the year well ahead of exit surveys, plus more investments in employee development and a job well done. The report highlights the need for more formal and informal recognition by supervisors.
  • Better recognition of the employment realities of Civilian Members and Public Service Employees, particularly as it pertains to public safety related risks and exposure to traumatic persons, materials, incidents, calls, graphic materials etc. RCMP has to give more consideration to the risks attached to some of the positions, and how to support their mental health and ensure a positive employment experience.      

Finally, USJE provided a brief update on its Presumptive Injury campaign and the urgent need to ensure federal public safety personnel, including public service employees within the RCMP, have access to better mental health supports, are have access to presumptive injury coverage under Worker’s Compensation. Commissioner Duheme stated that he is fully supportive of these efforts and would do   whatever he could do  to  ensure real progress is made on this campaign.