Staffing Shortages



We all know that staffing shortages in our Centres is nothing new and it’s only getting worse. We frequently hear of instances where our members are working in extremely understaffed situations. We work in a highly demanding and stressful job where our priorities are always officer and public safety. When we are required to work longer and harder with fewer staff on duty, both officer and public safety suffer. Equally as important, your health and safety suffer.


Providing enough staff to properly manage the workload is an employer responsibility. Every centre that our members work in has statistics and studies that should be used to accurately determine the number of full-time employees who are required to manage the expected workload of the centre. Most of our centres are not adequately staffed based on these statistics and studies. These numbers are not new. The trends of increasing workload, increasing sick leave, increasing turnover, increasing attrition, and increasing vacancies are not new. The employer has been aware of these trends for years and yet, we are all still working with significantly fewer colleagues than we should be.


We are extremely worried about our members. You are consistently being overworked, underpaid, working overtime, working through breaks, and missing out on vacation and days off. Down time, vacation, and regular days off are critically important to your health and recovery after dealing with high stress and trauma. Many of us have dealt with or are currently dealing with mental health trauma. We have seen several of our members leave their jobs due to medical illness and those who remain are continuing to get sick. Most distressing of all are our friends and colleagues who have died from suicide.


As an executive, we have been advocating relentlessly for our members when it comes to both staffing and mental health supports. In every meeting with the employer, we always talk about the staffing shortages and the dangerous situations being created by the lack of adequate staff to safely conduct our work. We have members on local, divisional, and national health and safety committees where we consistently bring up the staffing shortages in our centres and the impacts on our mental health. We also have members on the divisional and national labour management consultation committees where we always talk about mental health and staff shortages.


We frequently talk to the Commissioner of the RCMP and Treasury Board about the mental health needs as well as the extreme staffing shortages at our work sites. The lack of adequate staffing has created dangerous situations for us, for the regular members, and for the public. We can only do so much work with the available resources that we have. The regular members and the public are having to wait longer and longer for service and the risk to our members of making a mistake is increasing. We are all highly trained professionals who excel at providing top notch service in life and death situations. We cannot be expected to consistently perform at our high standard when we simply do not have enough staff to manage the existing workloads in our centres.


We know that you may be feeling helpless and hopeless. We are all fearful that errors are going to be made due to these dangerous work conditions. These shortages are creating unnecessary trauma on all of us. We need to unite and continue to look out for each other.


As a supervisor, if you or anyone on your team experiences any sort of trauma or critical incident due to a staffing shortage at your work site, please ensure you submit a Hazardous Occurrence Investigation Report (LAB1070) to your manager indicating the details of the shortage. If there is a hazard created by a staffing shortage that impacts public and / or officer safety, a LAB1070 should be completed as well. These can be filled out for each occurrence and can be requested by any employee.


The LAB1070 process is the only official way of documenting the health and safety hazards being created by these critical staffing shortages. If anyone tells you that the LAB1070 is not for this purpose or that you can only put in one “blanket” LAB1070 instead of a new LAB1070 for each occurrence, they are wrong. There is no other way to report this “clear and present danger” to our members, police officers, and the public. Contact your local Steward or Regional Chairperson immediately if you encounter any issues when submitting a LAB1070. Also, feel free to let us know of any hazardous occurrences by e-mail to .


It is very powerful for us when we are able to bring up these specific examples when we are meeting with RCMP Management, the Commissioner, Treasury Board, and any other Employer representatives. We will continue to advocate tirelessly for our mental health and proper staffing at our worksites at every opportunity.