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Wildfire impacts on RCMP policing resources

August 23, 2023  By Union of B.C. Municipalities

Aug. 23, 2023, British Columbia – The province of B.C. has provided an update on the use of RCMP policing resources to address the ongoing wildfire situation. Notably, local RCMP detachments in B.C. may be asked to redeploy officers to assist with wildfire response.

On Aug. 18, 2023, the province declared a state of emergency in response to the wildfire situation in B.C. This is considered an “Emergency” under the Provincial Police Service Agreement (PPSA) and Municipal Police Service Agreement (MPSA). Article 9.1 of the MPSA permits the temporary redeployment of police resources for the purpose of addressing the wildfire emergency.

The province has advised that “significant resources within the Provincial Police Service have already been deployed or are under deployment direction.” However, local RCMP detachments may also be asked to deploy municipal officers to assist with wildfire response. Redeployment will be done based on needs assessments and operational ability to assist, and in consultation with affected mayors.

Article 9.1. of the MPSA also requires the province to pay the costs of re-deployment, including officer salaries, transportation and maintenance at the applicable cost-sharing ratio (e.g., 90-10 or 70-30).

Local governments are encouraged to discuss potential impacts with their local RCMP detachment commanders.

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