The City of Surrey says one of the most potentially thorny issues in transitioning to a municipal police force has been resolved.
The city announced Wednesday that a formalized agreement has been reached that will allow RCMP officers to fully move their pensions over to the new Surrey Police Department, should they wish to work for the new agency.
The deal between the RCMP Pension Plan and B.C.’s Municipal Pension Plan (MPP) means RCMP members who join the new force can take their contributory and pensionable service with them, should they transfer between forces.
The MPP serves about 330,000 public employees in a variety of sectors including health, cities and school districts.
WATCH: Province takes control of Surrey police transition
“Not only is this agreement a major milestone in the creation of our own city police department, but it more importantly answers a significant and legitimate concern expressed by RCMP members and their families about pension portability,” said Mayor Doug McCallum in a media release.
Last month, the province gave Surrey the green light to transition to the new police force, contingent on recommendations from a new joint transition committee made up of provincial and city staff and chaired by former attorney general Wally Oppal.
The proposed transition has been highly controversial.
It was one of McCallum’s key campaign pledges, but has since faced backlash including an anti-transition petition that’s gathered more than 25,000 signatures.
Three Surrey city councillors have also left McCallum’s coalition in recent months over concerns associated with the transition.