Mike Dempsey of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees says the United Conservative government is breaking its promise of more money for about 115 officers who will be first responders if police are unavailable. (File photo from Facebook)

Wildlife officers answering dangerous police calls deserve more money: union

A wage increase was promised

EDMONTON — If Alberta wants fish and wildlife officers to take on some of the most dangerous parts of police work, it should pay them accordingly, their union said Tuesday.

Mike Dempsey of the Alberta Union of Provincial Employees said the United Conservative government is breaking its promise of more money for about 115 officers who will be first responders if police are unavailable.

Last fall, the province announced fish and wildlife officers, along with commercial vehicle officers and sheriffs, would be used to increase law enforcement resources in an attempt to address concerns about rural crime.

The fish and wildlife officers were told they could be first on the scene of potentially volatile crime scenes from domestic violence to assaults.

“It’s the most dangerous stuff,” Dempsey said.

Body armour and semi-automatic rifles have already been purchased in recognition of the increased risk, said Dempsey. Extra training is being offered.

And a wage increase was promised.

“Officers and civilian staff involved in the initiative will receive a wage increase that reflects a significant increase in their roles and responsibilities,” said a Nov. 7 message from Alberta’s chief fish and wildlife officer.

But when new job classifications were released last week, Dempsey said no increase was forthcoming.

“Lo and behold, it says your jobs aren’t changing that much, even though you’re doing this real dangerous work now. So you’re not going to be getting any pay raises.”

The government should either say the officers won’t be responding to police calls or pay them comparably, Dempsey said.

“If the job’s not going to change that much, why do they need this program?” he asked. “This looks like a political stunt.”

Dempsey said his members would be going on calls alongside Mounties, who could be making up to $25,000 more in annual salary.

Jerrica Goodwin, a spokeswoman for the minister of Treasury Board and Finance, said a job classification review by the Public Service Commission found the additional duties “would not substantively change the job function.”

“With new work we know adjustments may be made and if there are substantive changes to the job descriptions after six months they can be submitted for review,” she wrote in an email.

Goodwin said integrating provincial peace officers into the Rural Alberta Provincial Integrated Defence (RAPID) Force is a critical part of the government’s strategy to combat rural crime.

She said it would reduce response times and help make communities feel safer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 6, 2020.

wildlife enforcement

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

RCMP. (Black Press File Photo)
Calgary man dies in two-vehicle collision near Sylvan Lake

A semi truck collided with a SUV just east of Hwy. 781 on Hwy 11.

FILE - A Tim Hortons employee hands out coffee from a drive-through window to a customer in Mississauga, Ont., on March 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Tim Hortons to test deposit program for returnable coffee cups and packaging

Test program to start at select Toronto restaurants

FILE - U.S. President Donald Trump, center left, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau chat before a round table meeting of NATO leaders in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Evan Vucci
US NATO allies still short on defence spending aims

None of the 30 allies owes NATO or its members money

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney arrives for an announcement at a news conference in Calgary, Alta., Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020.	Kenney is isolating at home after one of his ministers tested positive for COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol
Alberta premier isolating after minister tests positive for COVID-19

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney is isolating at home

world affairs
British brinkmanship leaves little hope of a Brexit trade deal

The British pantomime is a traditional Christmas entertainment in which stock characters… Continue reading

Smartphone showing various applications to social media services and Google. (Pixabay photo)
National media calling for level playing field with Google, Facebook

In Canada, Google and Facebook control 80 per cent of all online advertising revenues

Red Deer city council will hold a public hearing on Oct. 28 about whether to take the future expansion of Molly Banister Drive off the table. (Photo by MAMTA LULLA/Advocate staff).
Opinion: Molly Banister extension isn’t as important as quality of life

Citizen opposition to the Molly Banister Drive extension has grown since the… Continue reading

Email letters to editor@interior-news.com
I ask myself: ‘What the hell’ has happened to Red Deer?

I moved to Red Deer on Nov. 1, 2001, and I fell… Continue reading

Canada goalkeeper Erin McLeod wipes tears from her eyes after losing 2-1 to England during a FIFA Women’s World Cup quarterfinal soccer game in Vancouver, B.C., on Saturday June 27, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Canadian ‘keeper Erin McLeod happy in Iceland, looks to help others stay positive

Orlando loaned McLeod to Iceland’s Ungmennafelag Stjarnan in August

FILE - Toronto Raptors’ Fred VanVleet (23) goes up for a shot agains the Boston Celtics during the first half of an NBA conference semifinal playoff basketball game Friday, Sept. 11, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Raptors do without live visits from potential recruits as NBA draft approaches

No opportunity to bring players to Toronto training facility

FILE - This Dec. 11, 2019 file photo shows Channing Dungey at The Hollywood Reporter’s Women in Entertainment Breakfast Gala in Los Angeles. Dungey has been named chairman, Warner Bros. Television Group, starting her tenure at the studio early next year. The news was announced today by Ann Sarnoff, Chair and CEO, WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group, to whom she will report. Dungey will succeed Peter Roth who will be stepping down from his Studio responsibilities running the TV Group and its operating divisions in early 2021. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP, File)
Study: TV industry falls short of off-camera inclusivity

Whites held 92 per cent of chair and CEO positions

Most Read