“As first responders, our RCMP telecom operators 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.
“The daily reality is much more frightening. Chronic short staffing in Operational Communications Centers across the country is putting public safety at risk. The RCMP has not retained nor hired enough staff required for these critical operations,” added Hippern.
When time is of the essence in a critical situation, Canadians are often waiting long minutes before someone is available to answer their call for help.
The impacts of short staffing are also devastating for our members: 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. Our members and the public deserve better,” said Hippern.
CUPE 104 represents 1,200 RCMP communication specialists across Canada, including 9-1-1 call takers and dispatchers, police telecommunicators, and communications monitoring analysts. They joined CUPE in 2018.