New information and updates: May 16, 2018

The following FAQs have been added to the website:


How will the cost burden of the new police detachment building be determined?

A new police detachment building is in the works to house the combined police services of both municipalities, however project completion is still several years away. This project is expected to cost approximately $23 million. Due to Duncan’s population, currently only North Cowichan pays for 52 percent or $12.1 million for new detachment building, with the rest being covered by the provincial government. If Duncan reaches a population of 5,000 or more before the completion of this project, the City will have to pay for $3 to $4.5 million of the cost. If the two municipalities decide to amalgamate before the completion of the project, the new municipality will be responsible to pay for $15.1 to $16.6 million of the project.


How do municipalities provide and pay for policing?

Through the provincially administered Police Tax, property taxpayers in municipalities like Duncan with fewer than 5,000 contribute to a portion of policing costs that pertain to General Duty/General Investigative Services only.

When a municipality has a population of greater than 5,000 it assumes responsibility for its policing and policing costs. Municipalities over 5,000 population may establish their own municipal police department, or they may contract with the provincial government to have the RCMP provide their municipal policing services.

Municipalities with their own municipal police department, such as Victoria or Saanich, pay 100% of their policing costs.

For those municipalities who use RCMP municipal policing services, municipalities 5,000 to 14,999 population pay for 70% of the contract costs outlined in the terms for the Agreement, whereas municipalities with 15,000 population and over pay for 90% of the contract costs. The federal government pays the remaining 30% and 10% of the contract costs, respectively, in recognition for the benefits it receives through these Agreements. It is important to note that there are certain costs, such as administrative support services and detachment spaces that are not a part of this cost-share and for which the municipality is 100% responsible.

Municipalities typically collect the funds for their municipal police service directly through municipal property taxes.


If amalgamation proceeds, would the new municipality be eligible for any provincial grants or funding to help out with policing costs?

The Province of BC has committed $8.5 million in funding to assist with the first five years of policing costs should amalgamation proceed.

This five-year grant would equal the provincial costs of providing policing to the City of Duncan (based on 10 members and 3 support staff), effective from the formal date of amalgamation. The new municipality would be responsible for the costs of the new police detachment building.

This will significantly address the increase in policing costs for the first five years of the new municipality.


The following FAQs have been updated with the latest information:


Will policing costs change if amalgamation is approved?

OLD: If the two municipalities were to amalgamate, the new municipality would be responsible for 90 percent of its policing costs.

Currently, municipalities like Duncan with fewer than 5,000 people make only a very modest contribution toward the cost of policing their communities through a dedicated police levy. The majority of the cost is borne by the Province. However, when a municipality grows beyond 5,000 (but less than 15,000), it becomes responsible for 70 percent of the policing bill. This bill itself grows as the local police force expands — with each officer representing approximately $170,000 per year in salary, benefits, and support costs. The population of Duncan is nearing 5,000, and as such, the threshold for incurring municipal policing costs is expected to occur, with or without amalgamation, if the population count increases to this threshold by the 2021 census.

Municipalities like North Cowichan, with a population greater than 15,000, pay 90 percent of their policing costs, with the balance paid by the Federal Government.

Once Duncan reaches its 5,000 population threshold, it will have to pay $1.1 million for police services (70 percent). If the two municipalities amalgamate, this cost will go to $1.37  – $1.75 million (90 percent) due to the combined population being over 15,000 (the range is based on the number of officers). This means that the combined impact on police service costs due to amalgamation will be approximately $270,000 to $410,000, depending on policing needs.

If amalgamation proceeds, the Province has committed to providing financial assistance for policing costs, approximately $1.6 to $1.7 million dollars per year, to the new municipality for a total of five years. This will significantly contribute to the increase in policing costs for the first five years of the new municipality.

A greater breakdown of this information can be found on pages 54-61 of the Technical Report.

UPDATEDIf the two municipalities were to amalgamate, the new municipality would be responsible for 90 percent of its policing costs.

Currently, municipalities like Duncan with fewer than 5,000 people make only a very modest contribution toward the cost of policing their communities through a dedicated police levy. The majority of the cost is borne by the Province. However, when a municipality grows beyond 5,000 (but less than 15,000), it becomes responsible for 70 percent of the policing bill. This bill itself grows as the local police force expands — with each officer representing approximately $170,000 per year in salary, benefits, and support costs. The population of Duncan is nearing 5,000, and as such, the threshold for incurring municipal policing costs is expected to occur, with or without amalgamation, if the population count increases to this threshold by the 2021 census.

Municipalities like North Cowichan, with a population greater than 15,000, pay 90 percent of their policing costs, with the balance paid by the Federal Government.

Once Duncan reaches its 5,000 population threshold, it will have to pay $1.1 million for police services (70 percent). If the two municipalities amalgamate, this cost will go to $1.37  – $1.75 million (90 percent) due to the combined population being over 15,000 (the range is based on the number of officers). This means that the combined impact on police service costs due to amalgamation will be approximately $270,000 to $410,000, depending on policing needs.

If amalgamation proceeds, the Province has committed to providing financial assistance for policing costs, approximately $1.6 to $1.7 million dollars per year, to the new municipality for a total of five years. This will significantly contribute to the increase in policing costs for the first five years of the new municipality.

A greater breakdown of this information can be found on pages 54-61 of the Technical Report.


Will the administration of policing change if amalgamation is approved?

OLD: While amalgamation would mean some provincial officers become municipal officers, there would be no overall increase in total officers. Policing would still be handled as a blended detachment, but the proportion of municipal officers will be higher. Changes to the number of officers and service levels would be examined and determined by a future council.

UPDATEDAs an amalgamated municipality, the areas would be served by a single RCMP Municipal Police Unit which would be comprised of the current North Cowichan Municipal Unit members and the addition of resources to accommodate policing the former area of the City of Duncan. This would take place by converting 10 Duncan Provincial police positions to municipal positions; the new municipality would also be required to add 3 administrative support positions to the current level of North Cowichan administrative support staff.


How are police services currently being administered?

OLD: Currently, the two municipalities are served by the same RCMP detachment. Duncan is served by the RCMP Provincial Unit and is largely provincially funded, and North Cowichan is served by an RCMP Municipal Unit which is primarily funded by the municipality.

UPDATEDCurrently, as an under 5,000 population municipality, the provincial government is responsible for policing the City of Duncan. Direct services are provided by the Duncan Provincial Unit, of the RCMP BC Provincial Police Service. These services are paid for by the Province, with a portion of the costs related to General Duty/General Investigative Services being recouped from City taxpayers via the Police Tax.

As an over 5,000 population municipality, North Cowichan is responsible for policing within its municipal boundaries and maintains an Agreement with the provincial government to have the RCMP provide its municipal police services, through the North Cowichan Municipal Police Unit.

The Duncan Provincial Unit and the North Cowichan Municipal Unit are co-located in the same RCMP Detachment building and operate in an integrated manner as a single police force providing service to the combined area.