Legal Ease, April 6

Joining the RCMP

By NUNATSIAQ NEWS

There is no more responsible or important job than being a police officer.

Society, rightly, gives special powers to police officers to enforce the law and make sure the community is protected and safe.

And the work of the RCMP is not limited to law enforcement—the RCMP is a part of the larger community and helps the community with all sorts of activities. Being a member of the RCMP is something to be proud of.

That said, not everyone is qualified to join the RCMP. But many people have the qualifications, and applications from Nunavut would certainly be welcome.

To become a member of the RCMP you must:

• Be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident in Canada. Individuals with permanent resident status must have lived in Canada for the last 10 consecutive years.

• Be at least 19 years of age.

• Speak, read and write English and/or French.

• Possess a valid, unrestricted driver’s licence.

• Have a Canadian high school diploma or equivalent. If you do not have a high school diploma, you must obtain an equivalency assessment to show you have a sufficient educational background.

• Meet the health and psychological standards, including vision and hearing standards. You will need to achieve a necessary level of physical ability.

Basically, if you are a healthy person without significant mental issues, you would qualify.

Last, police officers must be of good character. Members of the RCMP have to maintain high ethical standards both on and off-duty.

Generally speaking, a criminal record, or a criminal matter pending before the courts, will bar you from the joining the RCMP.

That said, if you have a pardon or record suspension for any criminal activity, you may be able to join the RCMP.

A challenging past will not necessarily block you from becoming a police officer.

According to the RCMP’s official website, for all past actions, some of the things considered in determining a person’s suitability are:

• How serious was it?
• How often did you behave this way?
• What were the circumstances?
• What was your intent?
• Do you regret it?
• How much time has passed since this behaviour occurred, or when the offence was committed?
• How old were you at the time?
• How have you behaved since that time, or since the time of the last incident?

No matter how well-qualified, an individual who cannot be trusted to carry out their tasks honestly and reliably will not be hired.

But if you are in good health and do not have past or pending criminal convictions, the RCMP may be a good place to look for a career.

James Morton is a lawyer practising in Nunavut with offices in Iqaluit. The comments here are intended as general legal information and not as specific legal advice.

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