National COVID-19 Update – March 27, 2020
This page is intended for all RCMP employees.
You should contact your manager if you have any questions specific to your situation.
Commissioner's broadcast sent March 27, 2020
It's easy to lose track of time when the situation evolves at such a rapid pace, so it's hard to believe that we are only a few weeks into Canada's response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Every day, it seems there is new direction or new restrictions. We have seen states of emergency declared, businesses shut down and border and travel restrictions imposed to help fight the spread of the virus.
But policing doesn't stop. For those on the front line, the daily routine of responding to calls, enforcing our laws and keeping Canadians safe is still much the same – but you are alert to this new risk and you are building extra precautions into your operational response, just as you did for fentanyl and other emerging hazards.
We have now seen our first cases of COVID-19 in the RCMP with 6 documented cases in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. We will not get into specific details about individual employees, as this forms part of their private medical history, but we are mindful that not all persons who are COVID-19 symptomatic are tested, but that all people affected are subject to self isolation. We will continue to follow all the proper public health protocols to ensure that everyone's health is protected.
For everybody's protection, it is important that we track any cases of COVID-19 in our organization. We are working under Treasury Board direction to all government institutions to collect COVID-related data from each employee to ensure we can manage disinfection, notify others who may be affected and keep health authorities on top of the situation. There are strict measures in place to protect your personal information, and we only collect and report the data that is within our authorities under the Canada Labour Code and Treasury Board directives.
For those of us that support the front line, we are finding ways to keep performing vital support functions: adapting to telework as we refocus our administrative resources on pandemic priorities.
We will continue to provide you with new information as we receive it (see the list of sources at the bottom of this broadcast), but here are some items that I know you have been asking about:
Suspension of mandatory training
To reduce the risk of virus transmission, all face-to-face training, including officer safety training and other relevant recertification courses offered by the RCMP, have been delayed until further notice. This includes, but is not limited to:
- Any RCMP training which involves the need for a classroom or group setting
- Annual Firearms Qualification (AFQ) for all firearms
- Operational Skills Maintenance (OSM/Block Training) and other applicable use of force re-certifications (see below)
For those whose certifications will lapse during this period, we have temporarily extended the recertification timelines by 180 days. You will still be permitted to carry your intervention options during this extension period. The recertification extension will not affect eligibility for opportunities such as promotion, as these other processes are also on hold as we focus our attention on this pandemic.
We will monitor the situation, and shorten or extend the recertification timelines as necessary. For more information, please contact your manager.
Self-isolation exemptions for northern and remote communities
Several Canadian provinces and territories have imposed requirements for self-isolation for 14 days when travelling into their jurisdictions.
Because they can be especially vulnerable, northern Territories in particular have put special rules in place for employees going to communities in northern divisions, however some have provided exemptions for people who are coming in to provide essential services, such as peace officers, emergency responders, and others who support essential services.
If you are returning to one of these jurisdictions or are traveling there to support the division, please work with your manager and division staff to consult the provincial or territorial health authority and review their requirements. If an exemption from the self-isolation is provided, follow their recommendations.
RCMP employees who are granted an exemption must follow the Directive on Exemption from Self-isolation. Supervisors of exempt employees must read the Directive as well as the checklist for supervisors available at that location.
Update on collective bargaining
The National Police Federation and the Treasury Board Secretariat continue to discuss the most prudent way forward in negotiations, considering the current Covid-19 pandemic, but discussions are ongoing and there is commitment to begin fulsome negotiations.
We have established a weekly conference call with all RCMP bargaining agents to address concerns related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We remain committed to engaging in meaningful discussions and working collaboratively with all of our bargaining agents, and will continue to advise you of any updates.
In the meantime, if you have any questions, I encourage you to reach out to your bargaining agent representative.
We have been developing and refining procedures for cleaning and decontaminating kit and clothing and the inside of fleet vehicles.
These procedures will be published on our COVID resource pages shortly.
For everyone's safety, please take the time to read them thoroughly and ensure that you are following them at all times.
With so much information coming at us, it's hard to stay on top of what's current. Our National COVID-19 Response Team is working hard to get the latest and most relevant information out to those who need it.
We have created some important reference resources online, and they are growing every day. I urge managers especially to review the national COVID-19 Infoweb site daily and ensure that you share them with your teams.
For those without access to the Infoweb or ROSS e-mail:
We've made it through the first couple of weeks. We've got new systems in place and we're finding our feet. Now it's crunch time. The next couple of weeks will test our resources and our resolve to "plank the curve," but I know you can do it. Your colleagues, your families and your communities need your strength and dedication.
So please, stay strong. Stay flexible. Follow the direction of our health experts and authorities and keep yourselves and those around you safe and healthy, and keep doing the outstanding, professional job that you do for all of us.
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