The exodus of police officers continues in Montreal

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The police exodus continues in Montreal

In January 2023, there are 45 fewer officers on the streets of Montreal than a year ago, according to the union police officers.

The SPVM can no longer compensate for the loss of its officers who leave their jobs for retirement or for better working conditions.

Despite promises to hire hundreds of new police officers by Quebec and Montreal, the workforce of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) experienced 218 departures in 2022, including 74 resignations. “Unheard of”, according to the president of the Fraternity of policemen and policewomen of Montreal, Yves Francoeur.

In his bulletin for the year 2022 which he commented on Friday at the microphone of the show Tout un matin on ICI Première, the president of the Montreal police union is sounding the alarm about the lack of hiring and the increase in the number of departures within the SPVM workforce.

The observation we made on January 11 is that in 2022, we had 218 departures, including 144 retirements and 74 resignations – that's unheard of – while we had 207 hires and, since the beginning of the year, we have had around ten or fifteen departures, relates Yves Francoeur.

Yves Francoeur, president of the Montreal Police Brotherhood

“As of January 13, 2023, there are fewer police officers in streets of Montreal than on January 13, 2022. There are about 45 fewer. »

— Yves Francoeur, president of the Montreal Police Brotherhood

Already in 2022, the police department and the City have not been able to meet their [hiring] goals. What we are told is that there would be 310 hires this year for around 160 to 200 departures. So, net, we should end up at 170, but so far, that's not happening.

Emphasizing that the figures he presents are not contested by either the SPVM or the City, the president of the Fraternité is concerned about this drop in police personnel, which should, on the contrary, increase in the city in light of the efforts announced by the mayor and the Quebec government.

Harder working conditions in Montreal ensure that fewer recruits are tempted to work at the SPVM insofar as demand is strong in the suburbs and in national police forces.

I would like to remind you that on August 28, the Government of Quebec announced 450 additional police officers over five years in Montreal for a sum of 250 million, declared Yves Francoeur, who notes a deterioration in the working conditions of the police. According to him, this is fueling the problem by causing more departures.

The holiday season which is coming to an end has been particularly difficult for the police in Montreal, he underlines .

Our officers on the road are young police officers, often with small families. It is agreed that they must have either Christmas or New Year's Day off, but must absolutely have one of the two holidays.

This year, we have a lot of people who worked on both holidays and, in addition, even people who worked on only one of the two holidays very often did so in compulsory overtime, deplores Mr. Francoeur.

Isabelle Richer receives André Durocher, retired SPVM inspector

Over the past three years, the City of Montreal had to pay tens of millions for vacations not taken by the police. Vacations that could not be granted for lack of personnel to replace, claims Mr. Francoeur.

This increased pressure on officers and the resulting dissatisfaction raise fears for the physical and psychological health of police personnel.

“On increased between 2017 and 2021 from 3,700 to 5,200 assistance program consultations. »

— Yves Francoeur, president of the Montreal Police Brotherhood

Our people, given the nature of their work, have to make decisions in a fraction of a second that will have very great implications, reminds the president of the Fraternity. We want our people to be in possession of all their means.

Recall that five days before the elections, in November 2021, Mayor Valérie Plante reiterated her promise to recruit 250 police officers by December 31, 2022. According to her, this should represent a net addition to the workforce of the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal.

SPVM police officers must intervene daily in difficult conditions.

Previously very popular in the career choice of future police officers, the SPVM is now struggling to renew its workforce given the competition from other police forces and less advantageous working conditions.

People are less interested in coming to Montreal because the danger is greater. I have three police officers who have been shot in the past two years. […] These are not serious or fatal injuries, but they were shot, explains Yves Francoeur.

The problems of traffic, parking and housing costs in Montreal would also weigh in the balance. The word goes around, it's complicated to come to Montreal.

The salary of new police officers at the SPVM would also be problematic.

“The starting salary is $42,500. You will try to afford housing on the island of Montreal with a starting salary of $42,500. »

— Yves Francoeur, president of the Montreal Police Brotherhood

The lack of support from the Town Hall for its police officers and the compulsory overtime are also invoked by the president of the union to explain the lukewarmness of new recruits to opt for the SPVM. Many SPVM police officers would also look elsewhere in search of better working conditions.

We have more than a hundred police officers in our ranks who are currently in the process of employment with the Sûreté du Québec or the RCMP.

Despite the creation by Quebec, at the National Police Academy, of a special cohort of agents intended to replenish the ranks of the SPVM, several candidates change their minds once their training is complete.

There are measures that have been taken to pass them more quickly, but what we see, unfortunately, is that there are a lot of people who register to come to Montreal, but they don't have no contractual obligation to remain in Montreal. […] People, even a few days before their arrival in Montreal, have a promise of employment in the suburbs or at the Sûreté du Québec.

” So we are told, say, that on January 15 or February 15 we will have a contingent of 30 new police officers who end at 20, at 22, sometimes at 18. This is the reality we live.

—Yves Francoeur, President of the Montreal Police Brotherhood

Police officers in training at the National Police School of Quebec during a public demonstration

Although the problem of hiring and retaining new officers in Montreal is complex in a national context of labor shortages, the Fraternity of police officers offers possible solutions, starting with an increase in the salary at the hiring new agents which currently stands at $42,500 per year.

Another idea that was proposed by the police department to the municipal administration, but which was not adopted, according to Mr. Francoeur, consists in paying police officers in training for the four-month internship at the National School of police – which costs around $9,000 – in exchange for signing a contract in which the recruit agrees to work and stay at the SPVM for a period of two or three years.

In the meantime, the president of the Fraternité calls on the SPVM and the City to show good will and to commit to resolving the problem quickly.

The staffing issue is an absolute emergency for me. And I intend to make every effort to promote the recruitment and retention of resources within our organization, replied by email the new director of the SPVM, Fady Dagher, late Friday afternoon.


To achieve this, he intends to meet future police officers and talk to them transparently about the challenges of the profession in Montreal.

“I would like to welcome candidates who will make an informed choice and who will accept these challenges with us, like a moral contract. »

— Fady Dagher, director of the SPVM

Cohorts of police officers in training at the National Police School of Quebec will be assigned to the SPVM, a- he added.

Our responsibility, as an organization, is to equip them and support them so that they are able to carry out their mission, and to support them in fulfilling their role. They have my support, that of the organization and we also count on that of the population.

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