For the first time ever, a union representing RCMP members has reached a tentative collective agreement with the federal government to cover nearly 20,000 Mounties.
The National Police Federation announced this morning that, after 23 months of negotiations, its board of directors has endorsed a tentative deal with the Treasury Board of Canada.
"This new collective agreement will provide RCMP members with fair, competitive compensation after falling behind other provincial and municipal police services for far too long and going without a raise for four-and-a-half years," said union president Brian Sauvé in a statement.
"It will also help create a more clear, predictable, and defined workplace for all Members, and support recruitment and increased resources benefiting all Canadians."
A union spokesperson said the deal will now be sent to the membership to review, with plans to ratify sometime this summer.
No other details about the deal were made available, but any kind of pay boost could put new pressure on budgets for multiple levels of government.
The salary talks also come at a moment of national and international reckoning over police budgets, driven by in-custody deaths in the United States and investigations of Canadian police services' use-of-force policies.
Since the start of negotiations, Sauvé has said his goal is to bring Mounties in line with other police agencies.
According to RCMP wage figures last updated in 2016, a constable makes between $53,000 and $86,110, while a staff sergeant can make between $109,000 and just over $112,000.
A constable for the Edmonton Police Service, meanwhile, makes between $69,107 and $112,427, according to the EPS website.
The federal government said it's pleased to have reached a six-year tentative agreement for regular members. The deal would cover RCMP reservists and all officers below the rank of inspector.
"This is a monumental day for the RCMP," said Commissioner Brenda Lucki in a statement.
"We look forward to continuing our positive and collaborative working relationship with the NPF to advance a shared interest — ensuring our employees are supported so that they can do their best work for Canadians."
RCMP members have been fighting for years to get to this stage. Until 2015, RCMP officers had been barred from forming a union since the 1960s, when other federal public servants gained the right to collective bargaining. It was one of the only police forces in Canada with that restriction.