Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

National

Eyes on Surrey, B.C., as it moves to replace RCMP with local police force

If you like this, share it!

SURREY, B.C. — Anti-gang advocate Sukhi Sandhu says he will be watching closely as the new city council in Surrey, B.C., attempts what many local governments before have considered but few have done: replacing its RCMP with a munici…


If you like this, share it!
Avatar

Published

on

If you like this, share it!




  • SURREY, B.C. — Anti-gang advocate Sukhi Sandhu says he will be watching closely as the new city council in Surrey, B.C., attempts what many local governments before have considered but few have done: replacing its RCMP with a municipal police force.

    The city just east of Vancouver is among the fastest growing in the province, with a young and diverse community that speaks more than 100 different languages and where about one-third of its residents are under 19. It’s expected to surpass Vancouver in population as the largest city in B.C. by 2041.

    With that growth, the longtime resident said he’s concerned about gun violence involving youth, even as the RCMP says overall crime is on the decline.

    When two teenagers were found dead on a rural road in what police called a targeted shooting in June, Sandhu said many in the city felt the same way: “Enough is enough.”

    “We have no hesitation in saying that we are at a crisis point socially in Surrey,” said Sandhu, who is a spokesman with the anti-gang violence group Wake Up Surrey.

    “We’ve seen rapid growth in our city in terms of our development but at the same time we’ve seen a social decay.”

    Council unanimously passed a motion immediately after it was sworn in this week to terminate its contract with RCMP and begin forming a municipal force.

    The RCMP says it would be the first time a local government moves from the national force since Cape Breton, N.S., made the move in 2000. Abbotsford, B.C., dropped the Mounties in 1995, when it amalgamated with Matsqui and formed the Abbotsford Police Department, and a small town in Prince Edward Island made the move in the early 1990s.

    Rob Gordon, a criminology professor with Simon Fraser University, said it’s a daunting and costly task. While it typically comes with the benefit lighter caseloads for local officers, it means immediately losing a 10 per cent subsidy that the federal government offers any municipality that uses an RCMP.

    “There will be a lot of eyes on Surrey to see whether or not it is cost effective to do this,” he said.

    Mayor Doug McCallum has defended the expense, which he said voters condoned when they filled all but one council seat with Safe Surrey party members who ran on making the change.

    “A local police force will understand the community better and will be more motivated to tackle problems,” his campaign platform said.

    McCallum has said he believes the switch to municipal policing can be accomplished within the next two years at a cost of about $120 million.

    Assistant RCMP Commissioner Dwayne McDonald, who is in charge of the Surrey detachment, has already said his officers will remain on the job throughout any changes.

    Yvon Danduran, professor emeritus of criminology at the University of the Fraser Valley, said one benefit of a municipal police force is the perception of governance. The RCMP gets its direction from Ottawa, while a police board oversees a local force and the city holds the purse strings.

    “It’s really about ownership and control,” Danduran said. “If you have your own police force, you live with it, you improve it and you try to be proud of it.”

    The RCMP says statistics in Surrey don’t back up the alarm. Overall crime has declined in the past decade in all areas, including violent offences and property crimes.

    Cpl. Elenore Sturko said publicity around some high-profile cases, such as the hockey dad who was gunned down in front of his home in a case of mistaken identity in July, may be skewing perceptions of crime in the city.

    “People, especially externally, have a perception of Surrey as being a dangerous place or having a real crime problem that’s not necessarily supported by what we see statistically,” Sturko said.

    Shootings have declined by about half since a spike in 2015, when there were 59 instances of shots fired in the municipality, she said.

    Homicides remain relatively steady, with a local rate of 2.15 per 100,000 population in 2017, above the national average of 1.8. There have been 13 homicides so far this year, compared with 12 in 2017, eight in 2016 and nine in 2015.

    Mounties have also increased enforcement in several areas, Sturko said, including boosting staff on its gang enforcement unit. It has prevention programs specifically targeting at-risk youth and other education and community engagement initiatives like a diversity unit, she said.

    “It is such a unique community and we have unique needs, but we also have unique programs,” she said.

    “That doesn’t necessarily mean people’s concerns are alleviated. That comes with more work in sharing, for example, the success that we are having and letting the public know what kind of headway we’re making and what’s happening,” Sturko said.

    Sandhu said he is skeptical that changing the police force alone will answer a problem that requires more grassroots change. The solution has to come from the community itself, he said.

    “The current situation in the city of Surrey should be a red flag for all political leaders that when you neglect the demographics or uniqueness of a city and try to do a one-size fits all school district, a one-size fits all policing model, you are going to get to this stage.”

    Amy Smart, The Canadian Press


    If you like this, share it!
    Advertisement [bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

    National

    Unions increasingly at odds over replacing troubled Phoenix pay system

    If you like this, share it!

    OTTAWA — Government officials say the Trudeau government will be presented with options for replacing the troubled Phoenix civil service pay system within the next few weeks. 
    And a spokesman for the department overseeing the projec…


    If you like this, share it!
    Avatar

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • OTTAWA — Government officials say the Trudeau government will be presented with options for replacing the troubled Phoenix civil service pay system within the next few weeks. 

    And a spokesman for the department overseeing the project says those options will likely include multiple pilot projects.

    The plan could pit at least two of the three potential bidders on the projects against each other in a competition to see which system works better, either independently or in tandem with one another.

    But the proposal is laying bare divisions among the unions representing the roughly 300,000 federal employees who have been living under the Phoenix pay cloud for more than three years.

    One of those unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says the move is wrongheaded and could result in another bungled pay system.

    The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents about 60,000 of those employees and has been working closely with the government to find a new pay solution, doesn’t share PSAC’s concerns.

     

    The Canadian Press


    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    National

    Unions increasingly at odds over replacing troubled Phoenix pay system

    If you like this, share it!

    OTTAWA — The federal team charged with finding a replacement for the government’s troubled Phoenix pay system will present the Liberals with options within weeks that are expected to include “multiple pilot projects,” government official…


    If you like this, share it!
    Avatar

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • OTTAWA — The federal team charged with finding a replacement for the government’s troubled Phoenix pay system will present the Liberals with options within weeks that are expected to include “multiple pilot projects,” government officials say.

    The plan could pit at least two of the three potential bidders on the projects against each other in a competition to see which system works better, either independently or in tandem with one another.

    “In the coming weeks, the next-generation team will present options to the government for next steps, which will likely include multiple pilot projects to test possible solutions beginning later this year,” Treasury Board spokesman Farees Nathoo told The Canadian Press in an email.

    The proposal is laying bare divisions among the unions representing the roughly 300,000 federal employees who have been living under the Phoenix pay cloud for more than three years.

    One of those unions, the Public Service Alliance of Canada, says the move is wrongheaded and could result in another bungled pay system.

    Testing separate pay systems through individual government departments, or in groups of departments, could produce problems for federal employees similar to those being experienced under the current, flawed system, warns PSAC national president Chris Aylward.

    “That is very concerning because they have no clue about the way forward,” Aylward said.

    When issues began to surface shortly after the IBM-built Phoenix pay system was launched in 2016, the government initially, in part, blamed the problems on segregated, antiquated departmental human resources systems that were incapable of properly communicating with each other and the Phoenix system, he noted.

    “It concerns me if they say, ‘We don’t know how many providers we are going to use, we may have to use more than one,'” said Aylward.

    “It sounds like we’re starting Phoenix all over again…. They need a system that works. One pay system that works for all 300,000 employees that currently get paid out of Phoenix.”

    The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents about 60,000 of those employees and has been working closely with the government to find a new pay solution, doesn’t share PSAC’s concerns.

    “I think that, so long as those are compatible systems and they are connected through some sort of internal cloud, then there shouldn’t be a problem between systems,” said union president Debi Daviau.

    “But at this point we’re just trying to determine what is going to be the best system.”

    Daviau suggested a pilot project at the Canada Revenue Agency, for example, could see about 50,000 people properly paid within a year, as opposed to implementing an entirely new software product, which could take several years.

    PSAC, which represents the vast majority of federal workers, recently rejected an agreement supported by 13 other unions that will see federal employees who’ve been impacted by the failures of Phoenix provided an extra five days of paid leave over four years.

    It has also walked away from contract talks with Treasury Board affecting more than 100,000 workers, turning down proposed pay increases amounting to 1.5 per cent annually.

    The government last week invited “qualified respondents” to submit proposals to enter a third stage for developing a new HR and payroll system to replace Phoenix, after narrowing the field of potential bidders to three companies: Ceridian, SAP and Workday.

    Bob Conlin, the public services lead in Canada for Germany-based SAP, suggested the government should tread carefully if it ultimately decides to contract more than one system provider and test their programs in different departments.

    SAP already provides human resources systems for the Canada Revenue Agency and the Customs and Border Services Agency.

    Those departments would benefit more from combining HR and payroll services under an existing service provider, said Conlin.

    “If they were to extend (HR) with payroll, it would not be a Herculean leap for them,” he said in an interview.

    “They would benefit in a big way from the opportunity to upgrade to modern technology.”

    But Conlin cautioned that CRA, CBSA and the Department of National Defence, in particular, must be treated carefully.

    “Those are some of the clients that absolutely have to get done right,” he said. “They are also some of the more complex civil service pay environments.”

    On Thursday, the Parliamentary Budget Office told the House of Commons the government could expect to pay about $57 million dollars to buy, test and implement a new pay system. The price tag did not include annual operating costs estimated to reach almost $106 million.

    The PBO also estimated it will cost taxpayers $2.6 billion to stabilize the existing pay system until a new one is fully adopted.

    The former Conservative government had estimated Phoenix would save $70 million annually.

     

    Terry Pedwell, The Canadian Press


    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    may, 2019

    mon20may1:30 pm4:00 pmWellness Recovery Action PlanningCanadian Mental Health Association1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

    tue21may5:30 pm7:00 pmLiving Life to the FullCanadian Mental Health Association5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

    mon27may1:30 pm4:00 pmWellness Recovery Action PlanningCanadian Mental Health Association1:30 pm - 4:00 pm

    tue28may5:30 pm7:00 pmLiving Life to the FullCanadian Mental Health Association5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

    fri31may5:00 pm11:30 pmAB Sports Hall of Fame Induction BanquetInduction Banquet5:00 pm - 11:30 pm

    Trending

    X