RCMP Civilian Members - Questions and Answers

Why are Civilian Members unionized?

In 2016, a Supreme Court ruling rendered the RCMP’s Staff Relations Representative (SRR) Program unconstitutional, opening the door for Civilian and Regular Members to Unionize. 

As most Civilian Member (CM) classifications had been already pay-matched or touch-pointed to existing Public Service classifications, PIPSC made applications to Public Service Labour Relations and Employment Board (PSLREB), under Section 58 of the Public Service Labour Relations Act (PSLRA). 

In 2017, PIPSC entered into an Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with TBS to protect and maintain the superior terms and conditions of employment of CMs and protect CMs from losing these superior conditions by moving directly into the Collective Agreements of the various bargaining groups. 

In 2019, PIPSC entered into an Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with TBS to continue protecting CM superior terms and conditions and to provide a transition of CM terms and conditions following deeming.

This allows you to benefit immediately from PIPSC member benefits and representation services that the Institute offers, prior to deeming. Now as PIPSC members, CMs can join in the process of negotiating their terms and conditions and will have a strong voice during negotiations.

What is the status of deeming?

According to TBS, deeming has been suspended indefinitely. The employer has no intention to move forward with deeming unless a majority of CM unions request deeming.  

In 2019, PIPSC and other unions undertook a campaign to prevent CMs from being moved to the failed Phoenix pay system. On March 2, 2020, the RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki announced that the President of the Treasury Board and the Minister of Public Safety recommended that deeming should not proceed. Deeming was previously planned for May 21, 2020.

During the 2023 CM Bargaining Sessions with Treasury Board Secretariat and RCMP, it was further confirmed deeming is still indefinitely suspended and is not a government priority.

Why was deeming postponed in 2020?

Extensive testing was conducted by the Treasury Board, RCMP and Public Services and Procurement Canada to assess the overall stability of the Phoenix pay system and its capacity to pay CMs.

Following completion of the testing, RCMP Commissioner Brenda Lucki announced on March 2, 2020 that they were not completely satisfied that all conditions were in place and that deeming would not go ahead on May 21, 2020.

I have a workplace issue, what can PIPSC to do help?

Should you ever face a conflict with your employer, you have the backing of PIPSC, a strong and professional union with decades of experience in labour relations, to help you navigate the grievance process and protect your rights. Our Employment Relations Officers and Stewards, have the knowledge and expertise to answer your concerns. You can find a list of Stewards here and contact information for our regional offices here.

What can PIPSC do for me?

As a union member, you benefit from a number of key advantages. Your dues pay for top-notch negotiators, research staff and analysts when your group is negotiating a collective agreement. PIPSC stewards and staff provide quality representation at every step of the grievance process. PIPSC supplies expert opinions to correct inequalities in work descriptions and classifications. PIPSC legal experts know the law and provide comprehensive defence of our members’ rights. Through regular presentations to parliamentary committees, interventions in court cases, and timely media promotion and mobilization events, your voice is heard by the government and the public. PIPSC can become your voice in the workplace.

Can a Civilian Member opt out of the union?

Based on the legislation, the only exception to paying union dues is religious observance.

Will PIPSC protect my current conditions of employment and benefits?

Yes. We will always strive to defend and improve the working conditions and benefits for all of our members.

As you know, there are several areas of difference between the terms and conditions for civilian members and their pay-matched comparators in the Core Public Administration. Members are rightly concerned that the employer will push for concessions during bargaining.

We have already signed a Memorandum of Agreement with the Treasury Board stating that your existing terms and conditions of employment will be maintained until deeming occurs. Your engagement and support for your union will be essential to a favourable outcome in negotiations with the employer.

When will I start paying union dues?

In principle, union dues can be collected from the date the Labour Board Decision was rendered (April 13, 2018). The Professional Institute’s Executive Committee as decided to provide a 6 month grace period before collecting union dues from Civilian Members. Union dues will be deducted from your pay on a bi-weekly basis as of November 1, 2018.

What will I gain by signing the Membership form?

By signing a membership card, you become a full member of the Institute. You join a powerful and collective voice, of over 70 000 members with 100 years of experience.

Your PIPSC Membership provides you the opportunity to:

  • contribute and be updated on the collective agreement bargaining process;
  • apply to join the bargaining team;
  • vote on tentative bargaining agreements;
  • become a union steward;
  • defend and improve your working conditions;
  • join a union-management consultation group;
  • vote or run for PIPSC leadership positions;
  • training on various workplace issues;
  • access to strike pay, in the event of a strike or lockout
  • access the PIPSC ServicePlus program; and
  • access to PIPSC post-secondary scholarships.

Signing a membership card is a collective benefit and is crucial to supporting PIPSC led initiatives such as negotiations and issue-based campaigns. Together we are stronger and louder and can make a difference in the workplace.

What is a Rand member?

Rand members are those members who have chosen not to sign a union membership card, but who still pay union dues and are thus entitled to basic union representation and protection.

All those who benefit from the collective agreement are required to pay union dues. The employer is obligated to deduct dues from all employees’ paycheques and forward funds to the union.

Rand members are entitled to the same basic rights and protections as other members, which include the following:

1. Competitive salaries

2. Better benefits

3. Decent pensions

4. Job security

5. Pay equity

6. Representation when it counts

7. Legal advice

How do I sign up to be a PIPSC member?

Completing the membership application is the first step in supporting your Bargaining Team in upcoming negotiations.

Please complete the online application form: https://www.pipsc.ca/member-tools/application

Do I have access to Internal Public Service Employment Opportunities?

For the purpose of selection processes outside of the RCMP, Civilian Members are considered “persons employed in the public service”. They can apply to both advertised and non-advertised hiring processes as long as the area of selection is opened to “persons employed in the public service”. Accordingly, until deeming, they cannot deploy within the core public administration and are not subject to the priority entitlements of the Public Service Employment Act (PSEA) or Public Service Employment Regulation (PSER).

As for processes specific to the RCMP, the area of selection consistently allows for Civilian Members to apply as per their staffing alignment process.

If I apply for a Public Service job, do I have to convert to the PS before the deeming?

Yes. By accepting employment with the Public Service, you are automatically subjected to their terms and conditions.

What will happen to my pension if I convert to the PS before deeming?

If you accept employment with the Public Service before deeming, this will result in you joining the Public Service Pension Plan as a Group 2 contributor. As a group 2 contributor you are eligible to retire without penalty at age 60 with 30 years of pensionable service or 65 with more than 2 years pensionable service. In contrast as the RCMP pension plan allows for retirement at age 55 with 30 years of pensionable service, or 60 with more than 2 years of pensionable service For more information on Public Pension Service Plan, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/pension-plan/plan-information/public-service-pension-glance.html

There are generally 3 options for your RCMP pension:

  1. Defer your pension until the eligible retirement age;
  2. Pension Transfer Value, which is a paid out lump sum of your pension, which has tax implications; and
  3. Pension Transfer Out, which allows the transfer of your RCMP pension into a Group 2 pension plan, this may result in an excess or shortfall on the new pension plan.

For determining the options available to you, it is best to reach out to the RCMP and Public Service Pension Centres.

TBS also recommends reaching out to a certified pension advisor to assist with making this financial decision.

What will happen to my pension upon deeming?

Upon deeming, accrued pensionable service credits under the RCMP Pension Plan will be automatically transferred to the public service pension plan. This includes current RCMP service and previous periods of service that have been purchased while under RCMP Pension Plan (i.e. service buybacks).

Civilian Members under the RCMP Pension Plan on the date of deeming will be transferred as Group 1 members under the Public Service Pension Plan. This is permitted by an amendment under the 2014 Budget Implementation Act, volume 2.

For more information on Group 1 and Group 2 status, please visit: https://www.tpsgc-pwgsc.gc.ca/remuneration-compensation/collectivite-community/employeur-employer/pr-pp-01012013-eng.html

If a Civilian Member were to retire before the deeming date, they will retire subject to the terms of the RCMP Pension Plan. If they retire after deeming date, their retirement will be subject to the terms of the Public Service Pension Plan.

For more information on the terms of the Public Service Pension Plan, please visit: https://www.canada.ca/en/treasury-board-secretariat/services/pension-plan/plan-information/public-service-pension-glance.html

When will bargaining for our terms and conditions begin?

PIPSC has reviewed all the terms and conditions, clause by clause, of every group impacted by the transfer to the Public Service. We’ve already worked to ensure that your terms and conditions of employment are protected until deeming occurs and have negotiated terms for the transition into PIPSC collective agreements following deeming.

We are currently working on improving existing CM terms and conditions of employment through our negotiations with Treasury Board Secretariat and the RCMP. Our bargaining team will keep you posted on any developments.

What will happen to the current Civilian Member sick leave plan?

Civilian Members have consistently identified concerns with any potential reduction in sick leave benefits as a result of the transition into the public service. The negotiated Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) has provisions for crediting sick leave upon deeming.

Public servants are able to fill vacancies in civilian member positions, but civilian members are unable to compete for public servant positions. Why don’t civilian members have mobility to work in the public service now?

While the suspension of deeming has protected civilian members from being transferred into the Phoenix pay system, the lack of mobility is certainly a concern for those members who wish to pursue opportunities within the public service. 

Following the announcement that deeming was postponed, RCMP Commissioner Lucki indicated in a broadcast to members that the RCMP would be engaging their "union partners" in discussions regarding the mobility concerns of civilian members.  While this has raised expectations for interested members, the RCMP has not initiated discussions on this issue.  

Our representatives on the RCMP National Consultation Team have raised this issue with RCMP senior management, to explore whether interim solutions can be identified. 

Notwithstanding the Commissioner's comments, we have to be realistic about the prospects for mobility.  While it would be a positive development to identify mechanisms for members to transfer into the public service prior to deeming, maintaining Group 1 pension status has always been a barrier to mobility for most civilian members, and will remain so until deeming.  Any change to allow pension mobility would require new legislation, which is next to impossible at this time. 

The best option for mobility until deeming proceeds is likely an interchange arrangement or secondment, as has been suggested in internal RCMP correspondence.