The Vancouver Police Department’s new contract comes with a sizable wage increase and it triggers a “me-too” clause in Surrey.
Vancouver police officers are poised to ratify a new two-year collective agreement giving, them a 4.5 per cent raise each year.
The tentative deal between the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) and Vancouver Police Union will give a first-class officer about $122,000 a year, making them the highest-paid in Canada.
“There is one year that is retroactive so that’s built into the current budget we’re asking for, and there will be adjustments made according to the new collective agreement as we move forward,” VPD Deputy Chief Steve Rai said.
On Tuesday, Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim’s slate approved funding boosts of more than $12 million for first responders, which will be paid for by reserve funds.
Vancouver’s draft 2024 budget calls for a property tax increase of 7.6 per cent.
“We never said there would be no tax increases,” Sim told Global News.
The Surrey Police Service has a “me-too” clause, which means pay increases will match those of the VPD, which has Surrey Mayor Brenda Locke worried about money.
“Surrey Police Service, if it should go ahead, would mean more than a double-digit tax increase,” Locke said.
B.C.’s two largest cities are facing huge cost increases, with taxpayers set to pay more.
The VPD’s tentative collective agreement could also impact the RCMP, former B.C. solicitor general Kash Heed said.
“Given the fact that Vancouver has a substantial increase in what they’re going to pay their officers in benefits, it’s going to attract the people that may have gone to the RCMP over to Vancouver,” he said.
“Vancouver is going to have the cream of the crop that want to enter the policing profession.”
Vancouver city council has also approved a budget increase for the city’s fire department.
The budget for Vancouver Fire and Rescue Services will grow by $6 million.
Similar to the VPD, the increase will accommodate ongoing fringe benefit adjustments and overtime costs.
A report added that the money will be used to maintain staffing levels, which have been being stretched thin by injury claims and sick leaves.