Alberta hires PwC to examine feasibility of provincial police force

19 October 2020 2 min. read

The Alberta government earlier this month announced the hiring of consulting firm PwC Canada to examine the feasibility of transitioning from the RCMP to a provincial police force.

PwC will provide an assessment on the possibility of that potential transition, and will also consider operational requirements, processes, and potential costs. The consultancy will be paid $2 million for the analysis, which is slated for completion by April 30, 2021.

The UCP provincial government opted for additional analysis from the external consultancy after Premier Kenney’s Fair Deal Panel recommended investigating replacing the RCMP with a provincial unit.

The RCMP, Canada's federal police force, has been responsible for provincial law enforcement in Alberta since 1932. Prior to that, the province had its own police unit – the Alberta Provincial Police – which was eliminated during the Great Depression as a cost-cutting measure.

In contrast, Ontario has maintained its provincial police force, the OPP, since its founding in 1909. Provincial forces are typically responsible for policing the areas outside municipalities, as well as highways.

Alberta hires PwC to examine feasibility of provincial police force

In its consultations with community stakeholders, the Fair Deal Panel found concerns that the RCMP force is overly bureaucratic; its member have limited ties to Alberta; its members are unwilling to confront activists; and that its enforcement of gun laws is heavy-handed.

“Through the Fair Deal Panel, Albertans who are policed by the RCMP told their government that they want a provincial police service,” said Justice Minister Kaycee Madu in a press release on Wednesday, October 7. “Alberta’s government has an obligation to listen to those concerns and explore how a police force designed in Alberta — not Ottawa — would improve the safety and security of Albertans and their property.”

Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki, who commands the more than 4,500 Alberta employees of the RCMP, said that his police have been doing a good job in the province.

“I have made many recent visits throughout the province, meeting with local government and community leaders, Indigenous chiefs and elders, and a variety of organizational leaders who represent rural and municipal interests in Alberta. I’ve heard often that Alberta RCMP employees are engaged, are doing great work, and are supported in their communities.”