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Part I Police resources in Canada, provinces/territories and census metropolitan areas

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This report examines data collected through the annual “Police Administration Survey” conducted by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. This is the primary mechanism for the collection of data on police personnel and expenditures from each municipal, provincial and federal police service in Canada. With the exception of independent First Nations police services, all First Nations police personnel and expenditures falling under the jurisdiction of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) are reported under RCMP federal policing. Throughout this report, police officer strength refers to the rate of police officers per 100,000 population.

Police personnel

The police sector is currently facing significant human resource challenges given an aging work force, a diminishing youth population, and the need for recruitment and retention of police officers who are reflective of Canada’s increasingly diverse population.

The number of police per capita continues to rise

There were over 64,000 police officers in Canada in 2007, a 2.7% increase from the previous year and the second largest annual increase in the past 30 years. This amounts to one officer for every 512 Canadians. The increase in the number of officers nationally (+1,673) was mainly due to increases in Ontario (+691) and British Columbia (+397). Police strength in Canada increased steadily during the 1960s and early 1970s, peaking in 1975 at 206 officers per 100,000 population (Figure 1). This represented an increase of almost 50% over that time period. Despite recent increases, police officer strength has remained relatively stable over the past 30 years. In 2007, the rate of 195 officers per 100,000 population was 5% lower than the 1975 peak and 2% higher than it was in 2006 (Table 1).

Figure 1
Police officers per 100,000 population on the increase

Figure 1 Police officers per 100,000 population on the increase

Sources: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Police Administration Survey and Uniform Crime Reporting Survey.

International comparison of police strength

Police forces are organized in different ways in different countries. Some countries have more than one police force; for example, state police, community or municipal police, judicial police or gendarmerie, all of which perform some policing duties. These differences should be borne in mind when making comparisons between countries.

International comparisons show that the number of police per 100,000 population is 19% lower in Canada (195) than in the United States, where it is 241 (2006 data),1 12% lower than in Australia at 222 (2005 data)2 and 28% lower than in England and Wales at 270 (2006 data).3 Canada and the U.S. reported very similar rates of police officers until the mid-1980s. While the number of officers per capita grew in the U.S. from 1989 to 1999, it fell in Canada from 1991 to 1998. The rate of police officers in England and Wales dropped by 5% between 1993 and 2000, but hiring since 2001 has begun to reverse that trend.

Civilians account for over one-quarter of all police personnel

In 2007, there were over 25,000 civilians employed in Canadian police services, up 6% from 2006 (Table 1). Civilians accounted for 28% of all personnel in 2007. Clerical support personnel represented the highest proportion (40%) of these employees, followed by management professionals (26%) and communications and dispatch (15%).

Since 1962, the number of civilian personnel has grown twice as fast as police officers. As a result, the ratio of police officers to civilians has dropped from a high of 4.6 in 1962 to 2.5 in 2007 (Table 1).

Rate of criminal incidents per police officer reach lowest point in over 25 years

The number of Criminal Code incidents (excluding traffic) per police officer may be used as one indicator of police workload. Rates are affected not only by the number of police officers, but also by changes in the crime rate. Trends in the number of incidents per police officer generally follow the trends in the crime rate.

Figure 2
Criminal Code incidents per police officer Canada continues to decline

Figure 2 Criminal Code incidents per police officer Canada continues to decline

r revised
Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Police Administration Survey.

The number of Criminal Code incidents per police officer increased steadily from 20 in 1962 to a high of 51 in 1991. Consistent with the drop in the overall crime rate, the rate of crime incidents per officer has generally been decreasing since 1991 (Figure 2, Table 1). In 2006, there were 39 incidents per officer, the lowest in over 25 years. Although the number of incidents per officer has been decreasing in recent years, it is important to recognize that the level of complexity involved in investigations such as organized crime and sophisticated internet frauds have increased. This has created a need for specialized units and training.

Saskatchewan continues to have most police per capita

In 2007, for the seventh consecutive year, Saskatchewan reported the highest rate of police officers per 100,000 population (207), followed by Manitoba (204) and Quebec (198). Prince Edward Island (164), Newfoundland and Labrador and Alberta (both 165) had the lowest rates (Figure 3). With respect to crime rates, one of many factors that can influence the number of police personnel, in 2006 Saskatchewan reported the highest crime rate among the provinces, followed by Manitoba and British Columbia. The lowest crime rates were found in Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland and Labrador.

Figure 3
Saskatchewan has highest rate of police officers per 100,000 population, 2007

Figure 3 Saskatchewan has highest rate of police officers per 100,000 population, 2007

  1. This average excludes the territories and RCMP Headquarters and Training Academy. The territories are not shown on this graph as their sparse populations result in considerably higher police strengths than the rest of Canada.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Police Administration Survey.

Alberta was the only province to report a decline in the rate of officers from the previous year (-1%). The largest increases between 2006 and 2007 were seen in Newfoundland and Labrador and Nova Scotia, each up 6%.

As the number of police officers tends to change very little from year to year, it is best to examine trends over a longer period. All provinces and territories have seen increases in police strength over the past decade, with the exception of Yukon which remained relatively stable. Among the provinces, Newfoundland and Labrador experienced the largest increase (+15%) followed by Saskatchewan (+12%), Prince Edward Island and British Columbia (both +9%) and Nova Scotia (+8%) (Table 2).

Thunder Bay has highest rate of police officers among census metropolitan areas (CMAs)

In 2007, Thunder Bay reported the highest number of police officers per 100,000 population (212) among all CMAs, followed by Saint John (201). The lowest rates were seen in Saguenay (123) and Québec (140). Among the largest CMAs (over 500,000 population), Winnipeg (188), Montréal (184) and Toronto (175) had the most police officers per 100,000 population, while Québec (140) and Ottawa (145) had the fewest (Table 3a).

By comparison, 2006 crime rates among the smaller CMAs (under 500,000 population), were highest in Regina and lowest in Saguenay. Among the largest CMAs (over 500,000 population), crime rates were highest in Winnipeg, Vancouver and Edmonton and lowest in Québec and Toronto.

Figure 4
Female police officers continue to increase, 1967 to 2007

Figure 4 Female police officers continue to increase, 1967 to 2007

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Police Administration Survey.

Women take on more senior roles in policing services

The proportion of female police officers in Canada has been increasing steadily since the 1970s. In 2007, there were 11,853 female police officers in Canada, up 6% from the previous year. Male officers increased by 2%. While females represented less than 1% of all police officers in 1967, their proportion had grown to 18% by 2007 (Table 4).

In 2007, women represented 7% of senior officers, 12% of non-commissioned officers and 21% of constables, while a decade ago they accounted for 2% of senior officers, 3% of non-commissioned officers and 14% of all constables (Table 5). Compared to 2006, the largest increase in the number of female police occurred at the senior level (+26%).

British Columbia and Quebec have largest proportion of female officers

In 2007, more than one-fifth of police officers in British Columbia (22%) and Quebec (21%) were female. Prince Edward Island had the smallest proportion of female officers among the provinces (14%) (Table 6). The largest increases in the proportion of female police officers in the past decade have occurred in Quebec and New Brunswick.

Police clearance rates increase in past two years

Police clearance rates, one measure of police performance, have increased in each of the past two years (Table 1). In 2006, police cleared (solved) 36% of all Criminal Code incidents, up from 32% in 2004. Similarly, clearance rates for violent crime have increased from 69% in 2004 to 72% in 2006. However, clearance rates for violent crimes had generally been declining since peaking at 76% in the mid-1990’s.

Policing expenditures

(Table 7).

In 2006, policing expenditures in Canada totalled $9.9 billion, up 4.4% from 2005 after adjusting for inflation. This marks the 10th year in a row that constant dollar4 spending on police services has increased. The $9.9 billion translates into a cost of about $300 per Canadian (Table 8). Salaries, wages and benefits made up 80% of police operating expenditures in 2006.

Figure 5 compares per capita costs of municipal and provincial policing costs by province. In 2006, the average per capita cost among the provinces was $240 (Figure 5). Only expenditures for municipal and provincial policing are included, as the provinces are not responsible for federal policing and other RCMP non-contract administrative expenditures. Among the provinces, Ontario ($268) and Quebec ($246) reported the highest per capita costs for policing, while Prince Edward Island ($149) and Newfoundland and Labrador ($165) had the lowest. Note that comparisons should be made with caution as costs and services of police operating budgets tend to differ considerably from city to city.

Per capita costs for Yukon ($393), the Northwest Territories ($615) and Nunavut ($678) were excluded from the graph as their sparse populations result in per capita costs that are considerably higher than the rest of Canada (Table 8).

Figure 5
Per capita spending on municipal and provincial policing highest in Ontario and Quebec, 2006

Figure 5 Per capita spending on municipal and provincial policing highest in Ontario and Quebec, 2006

  1. This average excludes the territories.

Source: Statistics Canada, Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics, Police Administration Survey.

Expenditures by level of policing

Provincial legislation can require that cities and towns, upon reaching a minimum population, maintain their own municipal police service. In 2007, there were 489 municipal police services in Canada, of which 178 were services provided through RCMP municipal contracts and 106 through Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) contracts.

Municipal policing accounted for 59% of police officers and 57% of policing expenditures in Canada.

Provincial policing includes all areas of the country not policed by municipal police services, generally rural areas. Provincial/territorial policing continued to account for about one-quarter of both police personnel and policing expenditures.

Federal policing includes RCMP enforcement of federal statutes as well as the provision of protection services in all provinces and territories. In 2006, the cost for expenditures on federal policing and other RCMP expenditures totaled over $1.9 billion, up 6% from 2005 in constant dollars (Table 8). Paid by the Federal government, this includes over $453 million for the share of provincial and municipal policing services provided through RCMP contracts that are considered to be federal policing services. Federal policing and other non-RCMP non-contract costs accounted for 20% of all policing expenditures in Canada.


Overview of policing in Canada

Policing in Canada is the responsibility of all three levels of government: federal, provincial/territorial and municipal. While the federal government is responsible for criminal law, under the Constitution Act, each province and territory assumes responsibility for its own policing at the provincial, territorial and municipal levels. Further, many First Nations communities also administer their own police service.

Federal policing

The federal government, through the (RCMP), is responsible for the enforcement of federal statutes in each province and territory, and for providing services such as forensic laboratories, identification services, the Canadian Police Information Centre (CPIC), and the Canadian Police College.

Provincial/territorial policing

Provincial policing involves enforcement of the Criminal Code and provincial statutes within areas of a province not served by a municipal police service (i.e., rural areas and small towns). In some cases, police boundaries may overlap. For example, in some areas provincial police perform traffic duties on major provincial thoroughfares that pass through municipal jurisdictions.

Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut are the only areas in Canada without municipal police services. In Newfoundland and Labrador the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary, which is a provincial police service, provides policing to the three largest municipalities (St. John’s, Corner Brook, and Labrador City) as well as to Churchill Falls. Newfoundland and Labrador contracts the RCMP to provide policing to the remaining municipalities and the rural areas.

The RCMP provides provincial/territorial policing and community policing services in all provinces and territories except Quebec and Ontario, which maintain their own provincial police services: the Sûreté du Québec and the Ontario Provincial Police, respectively. In Ontario and Quebec, the RCMP only provides policing at the federal level. Where a provincial policing contract is granted to the RCMP, the RCMP automatically assumes the provincial policing powers. In the provinces and territories where the RCMP are contracted to provide provincial level policing, the provinces are billed 70% of total contract costs in most cases. The remaining funds come from the federal government.

Municipal policing

Municipal policing consists of enforcement of the Criminal Code, provincial statutes, and municipal by-laws within the boundaries of a municipality or several adjoining municipalities that comprise a region (e.g., Durham Regional Police in Ontario) or a metropolitan area (e.g., Montréal Urban Community). Municipalities have three options when providing municipal policing services: to form their own police force, to join an existing municipal police force, or to enter into an agreement with a provincial police force or the RCMP. In cases where the RCMP is granted a policing contract to police a municipality, under the billing agreement, municipalities with a population under 15,000 are billed 70% of total expenditures, and municipalities of 15,000 and over are billed 90% of total costs.

First Nations policing

In addition to federal, provincial/territorial and municipal policing, there are also various types of First Nations policing agreements for Aboriginal communities in place across Canada. The First Nations Policing Policy (FNPP),5 announced in June 1991 by the federal government, was introduced in order to provide First Nations across Canada (with the exception of Northwest Territories and Nunavut) with access to police services that are professional, effective, culturally appropriate, and accountable to the communities they serve.

The FNPP is implemented across Canada through tripartite agreements negotiated among the federal government, provincial or territorial governments and First Nations. The agreements are cost-shared 52% by the Government of Canada and 48% by the province involved. Depending on the resources available, the First Nation may develop and administer its own police service, as is the case in most of Québec and Ontario, or it may enter into a Community Tripartite Agreement (CTA). Like self-administered agreements, CTAs are negotiated between the Federal government, the province or territory in which the First Nation is located, and the governing body of the First Nation. Under such agreements, the First Nation has its own dedicated contingent of officers from an existing police service (usually the RCMP). Best efforts are made for these police services to be staffed by Aboriginal police officers. Demand for more policing agreements has grown dramatically in recent years. The program currently serves 356 communities through 154 agreements.6 In 2003/2004, total cost shared FNPP expenditures approached $115 million, with the provincial share at about $55 million.7

Major survey revisions

1986 revision

The Police Administration Survey was revised in 1986 to collect police department expenditures (beginning in 1985) as well as more detailed information on police personnel and functions. As both the old and revised surveys were run simultaneously in 1986, it was possible to examine the effects of the revised survey. An analysis of the data revealed that there were some minor differences in the distribution of police personnel between the two surveys. In order to correct for these methodological differences, the data presented in Table 1 prior to 1986 have been adjusted at the national level.

1996 revision

In 1996, changes were made to the effective date for collecting personnel strength, moving from September 30 to June 15. School crossing guards were added to the survey in 1996 as their numbers warranted a separate category. Prior to 1996, they were captured under the “other” category. Adjustments were made to civilian personnel to account for this change, back to 1986.

Also, expenses associated with the purchasing and leasing of vehicles were now to be included only if they were part of the operational budget of the police service. Prior to 1995, all expenses related to the purchase and lease of vehicles were included, regardless of the type of budget. Benefits were expanded to include those paid by other government sources. The removal of expenses due to the capital purchases of vehicles and the addition of expenses due to the inclusion of benefits paid by other government sources were examined in detail. It was estimated that these revisions accounted for an overall change of less than 1% in reported expenses.

2006 revision

In 2006, changes were made to the effective date for collecting personnel strength, moving from June 15 to May 15. This date change should not have any impact on the continuity of 2006 data with previous years.

Survey definitions and coverage

This report is based upon data collected through the Police Administration Survey conducted by the Canadian Centre for Justice Statistics. This survey collects data on police personnel and expenditures from each municipal, provincial and federal (Royal Canadian Mounted Police [RCMP]) police service in Canada. With the exception of “independent” First Nations police services, all First Nations police personnel and expenditures falling under the jurisdiction of the RCMP are reported under RCMP federal policing.

The following federal policing and security agencies are excluded from the survey: the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, railway and military police. Federal and provincial government departments deploying personnel to enforce specific statutes in the areas of income tax, customs and excise, immigration, fisheries and wildlife are also excluded. As well, private security guards and private investigators are not included in this survey.

Data presented in this report represent police personnel as of May 15, 2007 final expenditures for the year 2006 (or 2006/2007 for those services operating on a fiscal year). Most municipal police services operate on a calendar year while the provincial services and the RCMP operate on a fiscal year. Policing expenditures will be referred to as calendar year (i.e., 2006) throughout this report.

Personnel counts are based on permanent, full-time equivalents; part-time employees are converted to full-time equivalents (e.g., 4 employees working 10 hours per week would equal 1 full-time employee working a 40-hour week). Police officers include the actual number of sworn police officers available for active duty as of May 15. Other employees include all other non-police personnel (civilians and special constables) (e.g., clerical, dispatch, management, cadets, special constables, security officers, school crossing guards, by-law enforcement officers). Temporary police officers, auxiliary police and other volunteer personnel are not included in this report.

Counts for temporary officers are not included in any of the police officer counts, as only permanent, full-time officers (and full-time equivalents) are included. Temporary police officers are hired to fill in, as needed, for permanent police officers. The province of Quebec employs more temporary police officers than any other jurisdiction. Of the 973 temporary officers reported in 2007, 786 or 81% were employed in Quebec.

Police expenditures are actual operating expenditures and include: salaries and wages, benefits, and other operating expenses such as accommodation costs, fuel, maintenance, etc. Capital expenditures, funding from external sources, revenues and recoveries are not included.

Population figures used in this report are provided by the Demography Division of Statistics Canada and represent postcensal or intercensal estimates. Population data are regularly updated and, as such, rates published in this report may differ slightly from rates published in earlier reports. Text and headings indicate the population figures used.

Data from the Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Survey are also included in this report to provide appropriate caseload context for the police in terms of the volume of criminal incidents coming to their attention. The UCR Survey collects crime and traffic offences reported by all police services in Canada, dating back to 1962.

Census metropolitan area (CMA) reference list

Police services included in CMAs 2007


Mission (RCMP Municipal)


Airdrie (RCMP Rural)
Airdrie (RCMP Municipal)
Beiseker (RCMP Rural)
Chestermere (RCMP Municipal)
Cochrane (RCMP Rural)
Cochrane (RCMP Municipal)
Tsuu T’ina Nation Police


Beaumont (RCMP Municipal)
Devon (RCMP Municipal)
Evansburg (RCMP Rural)
Fort Saskatchewan (RCMP Municipal)
Leduc (RCMP Rural)
Leduc (RCMP Municipal)
Morinville (RCMP Rural)
Morinville (RCMP Municipal)
Redwater (RCMP Rural)
Sherwood Park (RCMP Municipal)
Spruce Grove (RCMP Municipal)
St. Albert (RCMP Municipal)
Stony Plain (RCMP Rural)
Stony Plain (RCMP Municipal)
Strathcona County (RCMP Rural)
Thorsby (RCMP Rural)

Greater Sudbury

Greater Sudbury


Halifax County (RCMP Rural)
Halifax Regional Police


Burlington (OPP District)
Halton Regional Police (40%)8
Hamilton Regional Police


Loyalist (OPP Municipal)
South Frontenac (OPP Municipal)


Cambridge (OPP Rural)
Waterloo Regional Police


Middlesex (OPP Rural)
St. Thomas


Deux-Montagnes MRC (SQ)9
Deux-Montagnes Regional
Kahnawake Police Autochtone
Kanesatake Mohawk
Roussillon (Régie)
St-Jérôme Métro
Vaudreuil-Soulange MRC (SQ)9

Ottawa-Gatineau (Ontario portion)

Ottawa Police Service
Ottawa (OPP Rural) - Traffic
Russel County (OPP Rural)

Ottawa-Gatineau (Québec portion)

MRC des Collines de l’Outaouais


Côte-de-Beaupré MRC (SQ)9
Jacques Cartier MRC (SQ)9
L’Île-d’Orléans MRC (SQ)9


Lumsden (RCMP Rural)
Regina (RCMP Rural)



Saint John

Hampton (RCMP Municipal)
Rothesay Regional Police
Saint John


Martensville (RCMP Municipal)
Saskatoon (RCMP Rural)
Warman (RCMP Rural)
Warman (RCMP Municipal)


Sherbrooke (SQ)9


Niagara Falls (OPP Rural)
Niagara Regional

St. John’s

Royal Newfoundland Constabulary
(St. John’s)

Thunder Bay

Shuniah (OPP Municipal)
Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay (OPP District)


Aurora (OPP District)
Caledon (OPP Municipal)
Durham regional police (40%)10
Halton Regional Police (60%)11
Mono (OPP Municipal)
Nottawasaga (OPP Municipal)
Peel Regional Police
Port Credit (OPP Rural)
Toronto (OPP Rural)
York Regional
Whitby (OPP Rural)


Bécancour MRC (SQ)9


Bowen Island (RCMP Rural)
Burnaby (RCMP Municipal)
Coquitlam (RCMP Municipal)
Coquitlam (RCMP Rural)
Langley Township (RCMP Municipal)
Langley City (RCMP Municipal)
Maple Ridge (RCMP Municipal)
New Westminster
North Vancouver City (RCMP Municipal)
North Vancouver District (RCMP Municipal)
North Vancouver (RCMP Rural)
Pitt Meadows (RCMP Municipal)
Port Coquitlam (RCMP Municipal)
Port Moody
Richmond (RCMP Municipal)
Squamish (RCMP Rural)
Surrey (RCMP Municipal)
Surrey (RCMP Rural)
University (RCMP Rural)
West Vancouver
White Rock (RCMP Municipal)


Central Saanich
Colwood (RCMP Municipal)
Langford (RCMP Municipal)
North Saanich (RCMP Municipal)
Oak Bay
Sidney (RCMP Municipal)
Sidney/North Saanich (RCMP Rural)
Sooke (RCMP Municipal)
Sooke (RCMP Rural)
View Royal (RCMP Municipal)
West Shore (RCMP Rural)


Lakeshore (OPP Municipal)
Tecumseh (OPP Municipal)


East St. Paul
Oakbank (RCMP Rural)
Selkirk (RCMP Rural)
St. Pierre-Jolys (RCMP Rural)