RCMP Operational Dispatch Centre
In October 26, 2016 – The Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness reached out to my office to brief me of the review of the Truro Operational Dispatch Centre. This is what I was told:
It will primarily focus on employee Health and Safety concerns, positive benefits for employees and operational needs and anticipated costs for the next 5 to 10 years.
Factors contributing to the requirement of this study:
– The OCC building itself is 60 years old and as a result, OCC employees have documented numerous concerns in regards to their work environment. RCMP ‘H’ Division is taking all employee concerns seriously to ensure proper Health & Safety as well (sic) to provide the most comfortable work environment as possible;
– Treasury Board Secretariat sets out requirements for custodian departments to manage Real Property and Deputy Heads are accountable to their respective Ministers and to Treasury Board for the management of their assets. Departments are now being audited on their footprint, the amount of space they occupy and are required to make repayment for excess space in their buildings. In the ‘H’ Division Headquarters building alone (Dartmouth, NS), there is a corresponding significant amount of vacant space of which ‘H’ Division will be required to pay for in the near future.
The goal of this study is to engage employees in contributing to decisions relative to their work site, while being operationally minded and fiscally responsible for the assets the RCMP manages moving into the future. Upon the completion of the study, recommendations will be presented to the RCMP Divisional Executive Committee for their review, consideration, and decision. A final decision is anticipated in early 2017.
This briefing was in response to a memo I sent to Minister Goodale indicating I had heard about this review.
Bill Casey, MPCumberland Colchester
Two years later; I’m still working to keep the Operational Dispatch Centre in Truro. These jobs are important to our local economy and having a back-up location to dispatch emergency response, should something happen to the main RCMP dispatch in Halifax, is critical to public safety in Nova Scotia.
Time Line of Actions Taken By Bill on the RCMP Study on the Centre
October 19, 2016 – Briefed Minister Goodale on the study.
October 31, 2015 – Wrote to Assistant Commissioner Brian F. Brennan, Royal Canadian Mounted Police -H Division to express opposition moving the dispatch centre out of Truro.
November 8, 2016 – Met with a group of personnel from the RCMP Operational Dispatch Centre that did not want to be moved to Halifax.
November 14, 2016 – Sent a letter to the President of the Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce expressing my support for the centre remaining in Truro.
November 14, 2015 – Met with Minister Ralph Goodale’s policy staff to strongly advocate that the Truro OCC remain in the town. This was a follow up to a letter written directly to the minister.
November 28, 2016 –Submitted an Access to Information Request for a report done in 2004 that led to the consolidation of several dispatch centres. The newly created centre was located in Truro in 2006.
December 1, 2016 – Wrote RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson to protest the RCMP moving the Operational Dispatch Centre out of Truro.
December 20, 2016 – Emailed Commissioner Paulson to see if a response to the December 1st letter would be forthcoming.
December 22, 2016 – Commissioner Paulson wrote back later indicating he would set up a meeting; but none has occurred. But I am still working on putting this meeting together.
February 21, 2017 – Wrote to the RCMP pointing out that they were almost two months past the time to respond to an Access to Information Request (ATIP).
February 21, 2017 – Registered a complaint with the Information Commissioner Suzanne Legault re: no response to the ATIP.
February 23, 2017 – Received information that RCMP assigned an ATIP review officer.
March 1, 2017 – Met with RCMP officials in Halifax to discuss the report they are preparing and the options they are looking at as they compile information.
March 3, 2017 – Spoke to the Office of the Information Commissioner. They consider the RCMP is in a “deemed denial” status and an investigation has been opened.
April, 2017 – Our office obtained access to several unredacted pages of the 2004 report, indicating that the RCMP’s own internal recommendations at that time were strongly against locating the OCC in Halifax.
May, 2017 – Our office obtains expert reports from international policing and security organizations that emphasize redundancy and would recommend against relocating the OCC to Halifax.
June, 2017 – I asked Minister Goodale in the House why the RCMP would even consider locating the OCC in Halifax when the public’s safety and best practices clearly say this is not a good idea.
July, 2017 – Minister of Indigenous and Northern Affairs Hon. Carolyn Bennett writes to our office indicating support for the idea of relocating the OCC to Millbrook.
September, 2017 – Our office meets with officials from Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada to discuss the economic, social and reconciliation benefits of locating the OCC in Millbrook.
October, 2017 – I wrote to A/Comm Brennan to encourage an aboriginal set-aside be considered in the event that the OCC is to be moved outside of downtown Truro.
January, 2018 – Canada’s first Minister of Indigenous Services, Hon. Jane Philpott, has endorsed locating an RCMP dispatch centre in Millbrook, near Truro.
June 5, 2018 – Mayyors and Councillors, First Nations Chief, MPs and MLAs, community leaders were invited to a announcement of the findings of the RCMP’s report on the future of the Truro Operational Dispatch Centre.
June 6, 2018 – The RCMP Assistant Commissioners office called employees and community stakeholders to cancel the announcment, just hours before it was scheduled to place at 4 p.m. that day. No indication was given when the annoucement would be rescheduled.
November 28, 2018 – Casey requested the Auditor General review any move of the Truro dispatch centre as it removes redundancy of service which a number of experts have indicated is required to ensure emergency communications are not impacted by an unforeseen emergency that would knock out communications if the was only once centre handling this work.
© 2018 Bill Casey. All rights reserved.