Ottawa, ON — Following is a statement from Brian Sauvé, President of the National Police Federation, urging the Government of British Columbia to prioritize access to COVID-19 vaccinations for RCMP Members:
“The National Police Federation fully supports British Columbia’s effort to roll out vaccines in a safe and appropriate manner—including prioritizing our colleagues in health and social services—but our own 6,500 BC-based Members must also be included for priority access in Phase 2. This is the only way to ensure the safety of our officers and the communities they serve.
Across Canada, some provinces and territories are following the National Advisory Committee on Immunization (NACI) guidance, which identifies police officers among key groups for early COVID-19 immunization. Yet British Columbia’s approach is inconsistent.
The NACI’s recommendations place first responders, including RCMP Members, in the “Stage 2” priority group, along with other essential workers. We believe this recommendation is necessary, reasonable and matches the complicated reality that they must work within.
Our Members are responsible for enforcement of COVID-19 measures, including Public Health Orders mandated by both Federal and Provincial governments. Due to the nature of this and other work, our Members often do not have the opportunity to ensure appropriate physical distancing when they interact with the public, resulting in multiple instances of close contact every single day. In practical terms, this means they are often at a significantly higher risk of contracting COVID-19, and exposing others including their community and family.
Without priority access to a vaccine, our Members will continue to be exposed and possibly infected by the virus, requiring them to quarantine and isolate. This reduces staffing levels, increases stress levels and has a marked impact on the ability to sustain community safety, including the prevention of community transmission of COVID-19.
It is critically important that we have a consistent standard for law enforcement and all front-line workers across the country. British Columbia has an opportunity to take a leadership role and follow the NACI guidelines to ensure that those working in community settings with a high level of interaction with the public, like our Members, are among the first to be vaccinated to slow and stop the community transmission of the virus.
Simply put: protecting our Members helps protect all British Columbians.”
About the National Police Federation:
The National Police Federation (NPF) was certified to represent ~20,000 RCMP Members serving across Canada and internationally in the summer of 2019. The NPF is the largest police labour relations organization in Canada; the second largest in North America and is the first independent national association to represent RCMP Members.
The NPF is focused on improving public safety in Canada by negotiating the first-ever Collective Agreement for RCMP officers, and on increasing resources, equipment, training, and other supports for our Members who have been under-funded for far too long. Better resourcing and supports for the RCMP will enhance community safety and livability in the communities we serve, large and small, across Canada.
National Police Federation
Fabrice de Dongo
Manager, Media Relations