May 24th, 2024

Vacancy rates within Alberta’s RCMP are concerning

By Lethbridge Herald on April 6, 2024.

Mike Ellis

It doesn’t matter if you live in a remote community in rural Alberta or in downtown Edmonton – when you call 9-1-1, the expectation is that a police officer will arrive to help you. 

Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case.

And that is no slight to the hardworking men and women serving on the frontlines within the ranks of our municipal police services and the RCMP, to protect our communities across the province. 

The reality is, in these smaller communities, vacancy rates within Alberta’s RCMP detachments have been an ongoing concern. This it not an issue unique to Alberta – the RCMP have had staffing issues across the country. 

Data recently obtained by the National Post shows that as of February 2023, the service is suffering from significant officer vacancy rates in all eight provinces and three territories where it provides contract policing.

 It is our understanding that nationally the vacancy rate is about 17 per cent.

On average, Alberta has an RCMP officer vacancy rate of 20 per cent. This means that Alberta is only being served by 1,522 of the 1,911 RCMP officers that the federal government has authorized for Alberta.

Make no mistake, we are paying for these services that we aren’t receiving. Alberta’s taxpayers are paying tens of millions of dollars for nearly 400 vacant RCMP officer positions – for boots that are not on the ground. 

As a former police officer, I will always be a strong and unrelenting advocate for our police services and the supports they deserve. 

Under this UCP government, we have invested in the RCMP to ensure Albertans are safe and protected in their communities. If passed, Budget 2024 will provide an additional $20.9 million to communities covered by the Provincial Police Service Agreement to bolster the RCMP’s capacity to respond to crime. 

Despite this increase in funding, many of the vacant positions remain unfilled. Alberta’s government is committed to ensuring Albertans are safe, secure and protected in their communities, no matter which part of the province they live in.

 But with the current levels of crime across Alberta, the shortfall is creating an environment where criminal activity can thrive.

We know that the current RCMP members on the ground are doing everything they can. Our government is here to support them, and we are already taking action to help where we can.

That is why I recently tabled Bill 11, the Public Safety and Emergency Service Statutes Amendment Act 2024. If passed, Bill 11, will enable the creation of an independent police agency to help augment and support other police services in the province, including the RCMP.

Public safety and policing needs have evolved in the province. These changes would enable the new, independent police agency to be responsible for carrying out police-like functions that are already currently being performed by the Alberta Sheriffs. 

This includes functions such as fugitive apprehension, highway patrol and surveillance. 

These initiatives are aimed at supplementing the efforts of local police services by having sheriffs perform some specialized law enforcement functions.

With RCMP detachments facing high vacancy rates, Alberta’s government is looking to fill these gaps. If there’s a call for help and a fully-trained and qualified Alberta Sheriff is a few minutes away but an RCMP member is hours from being available – the decision is simple. 

I, and most Albertans quite frankly, don’t care what the uniform is. They just want help from a police officer. 

As the minister responsible for public safety, I remain committed to working with the federal government, the RCMP and local municipalities to address concerns about the future of contract policing. 

We need to work together to get this right. But I will also not sit idly by as our communities continue to reach out for help. 

We must look at all options on the table to address rising crime rates. 

Not doing so would be negligent on my part because having a police officer attend your 9-1-1 call should be a guarantee in Alberta. 

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Here we go. A provincial police force under the beck and call of corrupt politicians. And the evidence from other jurisdictions suggests it won’t come cheap.


What would you suggest? No laws or enforcement on those who break it? Just curious…


Obviously there is no middle ground between ‘some vacancies’ and ‘no police at all’, as you suggest. Can you explain the police shortage in Calgary and Edmonton, as funded by municipalities and the province? It must be nice to be unencumbered by consistency or coherence in thought.


no laws that prevent politicians from breaking laws, such as electoral related or graft, so then we do not have to waste time pretending such laws will be enforced.


Leave it to you to go political. Those of us with the inside knowledge are keenly aware the number who want this job because of the lack of support from the courts and people like yourself, has diminished to almost non existent. In one recent article one substantially sized municipal police force had merely 34 applicants for new positions. When you need a cop, call your plumber.


Then we agree. Where is the province going to find applicants for their vision of a sturmabteilung when credible police services like Edmonton, Calgary and the RCMP can’t attract enough *qualified* personnel?


it is suprising there are so few takers given all the power and control freaks society is inundated with…i guess they have discovered the big money is not in enforcement, but in being a politician, bureaucrat or corp ceo/board member.


corrupt politicians – is there such a thing?!

Southern Albertan

Remember the Harper/Conservative cutbacks to the RCMP? “Job cuts = cuts to services.”
Now, in all of this, we have an ideologue, populist, authoritarian Premier akin to Harper, who, “seeking to create the libertarian utopia she seeks in Alberta can only be achieved by coercive means. Policing, pensions, and party politics are just the starting points, all meant to take power away from federal organizations.” How much worse does it have to get?

Kal Itea

Maintiens le Droit. Stick with the RCMP. Started in 1874.
No to Alberta police force.


This is the future for our nurses. Can be extrapolated to fire, police, EMS, education, all health care. This is the stupidity you get when you elect the NDP. Keep them out of Alberta. NO wonder there are recruiting issues everywhere.


Anyone that down votes these articles is a complete moron.
The supposed sanctity of the union and the nurses is one big chasm. Any one who feels our nurses should be in the line of fire in this are idiots. Go ahead and downvote. Show your stupidity. Last thing we need in AB is this NDP lunicide.

ONce the NDP hand over control to the drug and weapons culture where are we going to get the nurses.

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