Eyeing a Career in Policing – How Canadian Policing Has Evolved

Did you know that Canada’s policing history dates all the way back to 1835 when Toronto created the first police department? The department took into account England’s Metropolitan Police Act in order to establish and uphold the law. It wasn’t long after this that Quebec and Montreal both followed suit. From there, police forces and departments started spreading across the country.

It’s hard to even imagine what that first police force must have looked like and operated as, especially when you take a look at just how evolved today’s police departments have become. But for those eyeing a career in policing here in Canada, it doesn’t hurt to take a deeper look into how the industry has evolved over the past 100+ years.

Policing Began as a Local Effort

One of the most notable differences between the early police forces and today’s police force is that they began with a local concern. It wasn’t about a “Canadian” police force that enforced and upheld the law from coast to coast, rather it was a community, or even municipality approach.

It’s easy to understand why this was the case, as communication between departments in different cities and locations across the country wasn’t exactly easy. It’s not like today where thanks to technology information can be shared in real-time. Instead, communities looked after their citizens and didn’t take on a national approach.

The Creation of the North-West Mounted Police

While the areas of Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City focused on their own community-driven police forces, Canada’s north-west created its own solution – the North-West Mounted Police. This particular police force was put into place by Canadian Prime Minister John A. MacDonald and had a few main duties.
It was meant to:

1.Police Canada’s vast north and western frontiers
2.Offer judiciary functions
3.Provide military functions

It started out as just 150 police offers and then grew from there. It was eventually renamed the Royal North-West Mounted Police.

The Dominion Police Force – Canada’s East Coast Solution

Then there was the Dominion Police Force, meant for policing Canada’s east. This one was created a few years before the North West Mounted Police in 1868. Its main duties were to:

1.Perform secret service work
2.Protect all government buildings in the east
3.Offer security functions for the “state”
4.Maintain the region’s criminal records

It was given formal jurisdiction over the entire country, but its focused remained in the east since this was the most densely populated areas of Canada.

And Then There Was One – The Joining of Canadian Police Forces

It really didn’t take long for Canada to come to the realization that it made more sense to join the many different forces into one calling it the Royal Canadian Mounted Police – RCMP – which is still the nation’s police force.

The RCMP came to be in 1904 and to this day it is the policing service in each of the provinces except for Quebec and Ontario. These provinces have their own separate provincial force. Regardless of these separate provincial forces, the RCMP has total jurisdiction across the country when it comes to national security and federal crimes.

Today’s Job Outlook is Good

Of course, not every field out there is on solid ground, and many industries are changing and evolving which means eliminating positions that once existed. The same cannot be said for policing in Canada, as this is a field that has good career potential now and looking ahead into the future.

A salary growth of 15% was reported between the period of 2010-2016, and the median salary of a police officer in Canada is now $83,990. Of course, that salary is based on a number of factors most importantly being where you are located in the country. There’s also the fact that some areas of the country are more difficult than others to get a job. The big city of Toronto tends to be the hardest to get in at ground level.

As for what you’ll need in order to become a police officer, the following will be required:

You need to complete a college or university law and security program
You will need to pass a psychological exam
You will need to pass a physical exam (policing tends to be a very physically and mentally demanding job)
You will need to complete three to six months’ worth of police training as a cadet

The Trend of Community Policing

In terms of the current trends in policing, they can be summed up in two words – community policing. This is the idea of policing an area while building trust with the community. People need to feel comfortable in their police officers, believe they are fair and upholding the law, and that you can comfortably seek them for help.

For bigger cities, such as Toronto and Vancouver, the push for community policing is proving to be harder, and is taking a lot more effort. So, for officers working in this area, it’s something they need to be mindful of and work towards building trust and confidence within the community.

Today’s community policing programs specifically look at:

The incidences of police violence in communities and across the country
The friction that can exist between minority-majority communities and the police
The costs to the community when incarceration happens

For a more in-depth look at today’s policing programs and courses, be sure to click here.

An Exciting Career Path with a Rich History

As you start to read about Canada’s very long policing history it becomes clear almost immediately just how important of a role it has played in shaping the nation. Through good times, and the more challenging ones, Canada’s police officers have sworn to protect each and every citizen, helping to create a country that boasts some of the lowest crime rates in the entire world.

Choosing a job in this field means you not only want to make a difference to the country, but you want to play a role in the country’s history.

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