PwC Canada will study the possibility of Alberta moving away from RCMP and towards a provincial police service.
The firm will then provide its assessment on that potential transition — and what it would mean for Albertans — back to the government.
“The study will also consider operational requirements, processes and potential costs for creating a provincial police service,” the Alberta government said in a news release on Wednesday.
The provincial government’s Fair Deal Panel recommended in June the creation of a provincial police force, saying the RCMP has become too bureaucratically inflexible and smaller communities aren’t getting enough front-line officers.
The province said it supported the panel’s recommendation but wanted more analysis.
Alberta Justice said then that a final decision on whether to replace the RCMP would not be made until after a final report was completed by April 30, 2021.
“Through the Fair Deal Panel, Albertans who are policed by the RCMP told their government that they want a provincial police service,” Minister of Justice Kaycee Madu said in a statement.
“Alberta’s government has an obligation to listen to those concerns and explore how a police force designed in Alberta – not Ottawa – would improve the safety and security of Albertans and their property.
“Alberta’s government must make an informed choice, and this report will bring us one step closer to the panel’s recommendation.”
Madu also said considering a provincial police force is “an important part of getting a fair deal for Alberta, while limiting Ottawa’s reach into the province.”
The commanding officer of the Alberta RCMP issued a statement about the study on Friday.
“There is a lot of political commentary and discussion surrounding the provincial police feasibility study currently being conducted here in the province,” Deputy Commissioner Curtis Zablocki said.
“It is my role to ensure Albertans receive professional, responsive police services, and I will continue to do just that.
“There are over 4,500 Alberta RCMP employees who work here and they proudly call this province home. I have the privilege of leading these police professionals, who are committed to the communities they live and serve in, and I am proud of the work they do to safeguard the security of the province each day.
“I have made many recent visits throughout the province, meeting with local government and community leaders, Indigenous chiefs and elders, and a variety of organizational leaders who represent rural and municipal interests in Alberta. I’ve heard often that Alberta RCMP employees are engaged, are doing great work, and are supported in their communities.
“Our first priority has always been, and will continue to be, keeping Albertans safe.
“I believe our success in that priority has been due to the strong partnerships and support we have built together with those we serve, and we will remain committed to working closely with those citizens and communities,” Zablocki said.
PwC was selected after the province’s request for proposals closed in September.
The budget for the study is $2 million.