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Police resources in Canada, 2018

Released: 2019-10-03

Police services' operating expenditures totalled $15.1 billion in 2017/2018, up 2% from the previous year when adjusted for inflation. In 2018, the number of police officers in Canada declined by 1%.

As in previous years, the vast majority of spending in 2017/2018 was on salaries and wages (66%) and benefits (15%), with other operating expenditures accounting for the remaining 18%.

Policing operating expenditures per capita in Canada (adjusted for inflation) were $318 in 2017/2018. This represents the highest per capita cost since 2012/2013, when such expenditures were $321.

In addition to salaries, wages, benefits and other operating expenditures, police spent $666 million in capital funds on items such as vehicle and police equipment, new buildings, and information technology operations. This was the first time capital expenditures were collected as part of the Police Administration Survey.

In 2017/2018, some of the largest cost-drivers for Canada's police services (reported as either operating or capital expenditures) included spending on radios ($193.0 million); software, applications and computer systems ($146.7 million); other telecommunication devices ($85.4 million), and computers and hardware ($77.7 million). These amounts provide insight into specific costs for police services across Canada.

Detailed analysis is provided in the new Juristat article released today, "Police resources in Canada, 2018," and the accompanying infographic, "Police personnel and expenditures in Canada, 2018."

Chart 1  Chart 1: Police expenditures per capita, current dollars and constant dollars, Canada, 1987/1988 to 2017/2018
Police expenditures per capita, current dollars and constant dollars, Canada, 1987/1988 to 2017/2018

Police strength declining since 2011 

As of May 15, 2018, there were 68,562 police officers in Canada, 463 fewer than a year earlier. As a result, the rate of police strength decreased 2% to 185 police officers per 100,000 population in 2018, the lowest since 2001. This was the rate's seventh consecutive annual decline.

Rates of police strength declined in nine provinces and territories in 2018, with the largest decreases in Saskatchewan (-8%), Prince Edward Island (-4%) and Ontario (-4%). In contrast, Nova Scotia (+1%), Yukon (+1%), British Columbia (+2%) and the Northwest Territories (+2%) all reported increases.

The police services of Calgary (-11%), and Toronto (-8%) reported the largest declines in the rate of police strength, while Richmond (+10%), Kelowna (+9%), Longueuil (+7%), and Codiac Regional (+6%) posted the largest gains.

Chart 2  Chart 2: Rate of police officers and civilian personnel per 100,000 population, Canada, 1962 to 2018
Rate of police officers and civilian personnel per 100,000 population, Canada, 1962 to 2018

The number of female officers continues to grow in all ranks

The number of women in policing grew by 196 in 2018, up 1% from the year before.

Overall, there were 14,943 female officers in Canada in 2018, accounting for 22% of all police officers. This proportion has been rising steadily since 1986 (the year data collection began), when women accounted for 4% of officers.

The representation of women among both constable and senior positions continued its upward trend in 2018. Women accounted for 23% of constables in Canada, 19% of non-commissioned officers and 15% of commissioned officers.

Chart 3  Chart 3: Female officers as a percentage of total police officers, by rank, Canada, 1988 to 2018
Female officers as a percentage of total police officers, by rank, Canada, 1988 to 2018

Nearly 10% of officers are members of visible minorities

Members of visible minorities represented more than one-fifth (22%) of Canada's population in 2016, while they accounted for 8% of police officers and 12% of recruits in 2018.

One-quarter of Toronto Police Service (25%) and Vancouver Police Department (25%) officers were members of a visible minority group, while this was the case for one-fifth of Peel Regional Police Service (20%) officers. According to the 2016 Census, 51% of Toronto's population belongs to a visible minority group, while this proportion is 48% in Vancouver and 62% in Peel. While one-third of Montréal's population belongs to a visible minority group, the same was true of 8% of the city's police officers.

Less than 5% of police officers identify as Indigenous

Indigenous people in Canada accounted for 5% of the population in 2016, while they represented 4% of police officers (2,829) and 3% of recruits as of May 15, 2018.

Within First Nations police services, 62% of officers self-identified as Indigenous, while this proportion was 8% within the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. The share of officers in municipal police services who identified as Indigenous was 2%, while this proportion was also 2% within the Ontario Provincial Police and 1% in the Sûreté du Québec.

Number of civilian personnel in police services continues to grow

In addition to sworn officers, police services employed the equivalent of 31,050 full-time individuals on May 15, 2018, up 1,998 (+7%) from a year earlier. These employees consisted of 26,851 civilian personnel (86%), 2,539 special constables (8%) and 1,660 recruits (5%). The number of civilian personnel in police forces has been rising steadily since data collection began in 1962.

Women accounted for 71% of civilian personnel within police services, while they represented 36% of special constables and 24% of recruits.


  Note to readers

Several factors may account for differences in the number of police officers per 100,000 people across jurisdictions and police services. These include differences in police services' priorities, policies, procedures and enforcement practices, as well as the availability of resources.

In Canada, information on police personnel and expenditures is collected by Statistics Canada through the annual Police Administration Survey. Using data collected by each police service in Canada, this report provides details on police personnel at the national, provincial and territorial, and municipal levels.

Data in this report represent two distinct time periods. Most of the information on police personnel is based on a "snapshot date" of May 15, 2018, while expenditures represent the calendar year ending December 31, 2017 (or March 31, 2018 for those police services operating on a fiscal year basis).

The data on police officers belonging to visible minority groups provide a comparison of data for the census divisions from the 2016 Census with police service boundaries, which may not include the same census subdivisions.

In this release, rates with a percent change that rounds to 0% are considered stable.

Products

The article "Police resources in Canada, 2018" is now available as part of the publication Juristat (Catalogue number85-002-X).

The infographic "Police personnel and expenditures in Canada, 2018" (Catalogue number11-627-M) is also released today.

Contact information

For more information, or to enquire about the concepts, methods or data quality of this release, contact us (toll-free 1-800-263-1136; 514-283-8300; STATCAN.infostats-infostats.STATCAN@canada.ca) or Media Relations (613-951-4636; STATCAN.mediahotline-ligneinfomedias.STATCAN@canada.ca).

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