Police union issues warning to Esquimalt

Opinions differ on Victoria police contract obligations

The union representing Victoria police officers has warned Esquimalt that if it contracts RCMP services, there could be serious financial, administrative and legal repercussions.

If the province approves the township’s RCMP recommendation, the union says its collective agreement would continue, and the union would apply to the B.C. Labour Relations Board for successor rights to represent the non-unionized RCMP officers who would work in Esquimalt.

That could prove expensive for Esquimalt, said Tom Stamatakis, president of the B.C. Police Association, the union representing 243 uniformed Victoria officers.

“Citizens should be concerned because if (labour issues are) not resolved through negotiation and consultation then that means you end up in litigation, and that costs money,” Stamatakis said.

He warned Esquimalt council in a letter made public at a council meeting last week, which he also sent to Clayton Pecknold, the province’s director of police services, Solicitor General Shirley Bond, Victoria Police Chief Jamie Graham and Victoria Mayor Dean Fortin.

Fortin, chair of the Victoria Police Board, said if the province allows Esquimalt to switch to the RCMP, “you would think the province and Esquimalt would be responsible for (any) transition costs.”

But Esquimalt Mayor Barb Desjardins said the police union’s letter “came prematurely,” because the solicitor general has not yet made a decision on Esquimalt’s police proposal.

The township’s contractual obligations under the current collective agreement differ depending on the source.

Fortin said the police board, made up of Esquimalt, Victoria and provincial representatives, employs the officers, and the two municipalities pay the police bill.

Desjardins said the board employs the Victoria officers, while the City of Victoria pays their salaries.

“The police union may have a contract with VicPD,” she said. “That is a very different thing than people suggesting we have a contract for policing with Victoria. It’s not with Esquimalt.”

The mayors agree, however, that the situation is complicated due to the nature of the provincially-mandated police amalgamation, said to be the only one of its kind in B.C.

“We are an amalgamated police force and I don’t, nor does anyone at this time, understand the complexity of this, and nor do we need to at this time because we have not received a response from the solicitor general,” Desjardins said.

If the police association applies to represent RCMP officers working in Esquimalt, “it’s going to be a mess in sorting that out” because RCMP officers are not allowed to unionize under federal law, said Kenneth Thornicroft, law and labour relations professor at the University of Victoria’s Peter B. Gustavson School of Business.

The province could pass legislation to deny those successor rights, he said.

But if the Township’s RCMP officers came under the current collective agreement, “potentially, police officers in Victoria – if they have seniority rights or bumping rights – would bump into those positions. How would the RCMP be able to carry on? They would no longer be RCMP employees,” Thornicroft said, adding he doesn’t foresee that happening.

“It’s legally going to be a tangled web, that’s for sure.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Escaped python found in Saanich building reunited with its owner

The little snake is at ‘home, safe and sound,’ CRD chief bylaw officer says

COVID-19: Victoria hopes to provide financial relief through property taxes, utility bills

A number of city projects could be deferred in light of pandemic

Highway 1 tree removal impacts traffic Tuesday evening

Work starts April 7 at 6 p.m. between Finlayson Arm Road and Westshore Parkway

Victoria police seek public’s help finding man missing more than a week

Joel Diment 26 and has short brown hair and hazel eyes

Greater Victoria donates 166 tents, 240 sleeping bags and more for those in need

Items placed in 72-hour quarantine before being distributed to help homeless self-isolate

Mental Health: Planning for a crisis

Crisis planning lays out a blueprint in case hard times hit

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

Comox spring training cancelled for Snowbirds next month

The team announced that due to ongoing travel restrictions they will not be training in the Valley

Some Cowichan schools to reopen for children of essential-services workers

Cowichan Valley will open 8 elementary schools this week

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

Physiotherapists turn to technology to reach patients during COVID-19

Just because services, jobs, and socializing have been put on hold, it… Continue reading

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

Most Read