Yukon RCMP federal investigations unit lost funding for two positions in 2018-19

The Yukon RCMP’s federal investigations unit has been running with two fewer investigators since the 2018-19 fiscal year, when the Yukon RCMP saw a $254,000 reduction in its federal funding.

But while the situation isn’t “ideal,” the unit, which handles investigations involving things like money laundering, organized crime and national security, is still “managing” and working through its cases, according to Yukon RCMP Supt. Brian Jones.

The issue of the funding reduction and its impact on the unit was raised by Yukon Party MLA Brad Cathers in the legislative assembly on March 28.

“At a time when the Yukon is dealing with an increase in drug-related crimes, including the opioid epidemic, we need increased resources for policing, not a reduction,” Cathers said, addressing Department of Justice Minister Tracy-Anne McPhee.

“… We know that the funding was a federal cut to the budget for the Yukon RCMP federal policing program,” he said. “What we are asking is whether or not the Minister of Justice will stand up to her federal counterpart and impress on him the need to restore this funding.”

The Yukon Party later shared a copy of an email exchange between Cathers and Yukon RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Sheppard from January, in which Sheppard says the reduction of $254,000 “effectively represents 2 investigator positions” and associated costs.

The unit has a full roster of 11 investigators, meaning that currently, only nine are funded.

Speaking to reporters afterwards, McPhee said that the Yukon government was made aware of the situation in the fall of 2018 and “immediately” began speaking to federal officials about the impact the reduction could have on the territory.

Those conversations are still ongoing, she said.

“RCMP, of course, are organized as (a) federal police force, but they are our only police force here … So absolutely, we have a huge role to play in this conversation,” McPhee said.

“The federal RCMP might make those decisions on a national basis, but the opportunity for us to explain to them what that means here in the territory is absolutely critical and we took every opportunity to do that,”

In an interview the afternoon of March 28, Jones said that the Yukon RCMP hasn’t yet received its federal funding for 2019-20, but doesn’t anticipate a dramatic change from the previous fiscal year.

The role of the federal investigations unit is “a little different” than those of other units, he explained, and it typically focuses on long-term, project-based investigations.

“It doesn’t mean that there’s less police officers in their police cars driving around Whitehorse,” he said of having two fewer investigators.

“…(There are) very different pressures on the unit in terms of, they’re not responding to immediate calls for service or homicides, so in that sense, you can predict the workload with a higher degree of certainty. So in that sense … I would say this situation is more sustainable, although not ideal, given the type of work that this unit does.”

With files from Julien Gignac

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Yukon’s Dylan Cozens selected by the Buffalo Sabres seventh overall in the NHL draft

Cozens is the first Yukoner to be selected in the first round of the draft

Man fined after unsuccessfully arguing Yukon driving laws don’t apply to him

Christopher Brown was found guilty of four charges under the Motor Vehicles Act on June 20

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Fossilized teeth found near Old Crow belonged to ancient hyena

The two fossilized teeth were discovered in 1973 and 1977

Changes could mean closing Whitehorse council and senior management meetings to the public

Sessions, which are separate from official council meetings, would be closed to the public

Letter: Celebrating Indigenous Peoples Day

Celebrated on June 21, National Indigenous Peoples Day is around the corner.… Continue reading

City news, briefly

A summary of some of the issues discussed at the June 17 Whitehorse city council meeting

Whitehorse training conference highlighted trans health care needs

The conference, hosted by the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, was June 13-15

COMMENTARY: Foreign funding for local environmental groups no conspiracy

Foreign funding doesn’t mean activism isn’t locally grown, says CPAWS Yukon’s executive director

Letter: Yukoners want ‘climate action now’

Yukoners Concerned are excited that despite the basketball game on TV, over… Continue reading

Letter: Cars and bikes — let’s take care of each other

As a dedicated long-time cyclist who has plied the Alaska Highway route… Continue reading

Letter: Flag gone missing on the Chilkoot Trail

Note: a copy of this letter has been sent to Christopher Hunter,… Continue reading

Yukon Orienteering Championships continue with sprint races

Held over three weeks, the championships include middle-distance, sprint and long-distance races

Most Read