According to RCMP’s own numbers, there is a 40% job vacancy at RCMP Emergency Communication Centres across the country. To end that chronic short-staffing which puts Canadians’ safety at risk, the CUPE local representing the RCMP Emergency Communication specialists is launching a massive ad campaign today.

“As first responders, our members are the public’s first point of contact in an emergency. They make sure RCMP officers and other emergency services can intervene rapidly when Canadians need help. At least, this is the theory,” said Kathleen Hippern, president of CUPE 104.

“Unfortunately, when time is of the essence in a dangerous situation, Canadians are often waiting long minutes before someone is available to answer their call for help. Why? Simply because the RCMP has not retained nor hired enough staff required for these critical operations,” added Hippern.

For eight weeks starting January 9, a massive bilingual ad campaign (bus, bus shelters and digital ads) will target downtown Ottawa where the Treasury Board office is located, as well as the areas surrounding the RCMP headquarters in Montreal and Surrey, BC.

The digital ads invite viewers to an online action tool on to put public pressure on the Treasury Board and the Public Safety ministers, MPs and the RCMP, and force them to address the situation immediately.

Devastating impacts on staff, but no respect at the bargaining table

This short-staffing is not only putting Canadians in danger, it has devastating impacts on CUPE’s RCMP Emergency Communication specialists: workloads are heavier, stress is high, medical leaves and mental health issues are on the rise, vacations are denied, and retention is difficult.

“Our members are public safety professionals who serve Canadians around the clock, every day of the year. They need to be in sufficient number to do their work properly for the benefit of Canadians. The public and our 1,200 members - who are still without a contract five years after certification - deserve better,” said Hippern.

“We are inviting Canadians to use our online action tool to write to the President of the Treasury Board, the Minister of Public Safety, the RCMP Commissioner and their MP to end the short-staffing. And ask them to show respect at the bargaining table for the RCMP Emergency Communication specialists who do vital work for you,” concluded Hippern.

CUPE 104 represents 1,200 RCMP Emergency Communication specialists across Canada, including 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers, police telecommunicators, and communications monitoring analysts. They joined CUPE in 2018.