Nunatsiaq News
COMMENTARY: Around the Arctic April 06, 2018 - 3:30 pm

Legal Ease, April 6

Joining the RCMP


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.


Email this story to a friend... Print this page... Bookmark and Share Comment on this story...

(12) Comments:

#1. Posted by Paul Murphy on April 06, 2018

And ladies and gentlemen I thank you and your families for your service.

#2. Posted by The Old Trapper on April 06, 2018

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

While I do agree that police are a vital and necessary job, I am going to take a contrary position.

A member of our military has a duty to give up their life if necessary to protect our country. Look at the number of lives lost by soldiers, sailors, and Air Force versus police officers since 1867 to get a true perspective.

A firefighter is at least, if not more likely, to be killed or injured doing their duty.

A doctor (surgeon) will likely save hundreds or thousands of lives, likewise nurses - especially in Nunavut.

A teacher shapes the minds of the next generation, and are often role models for children.

Police are important but we need to take the time to acknowledge all of our professionals.

Thank you one and all.

#3. Posted by Taivitii on April 06, 2018

The RCMP is a very rewarding career. It definitely has its challenges which most would expect in regards to a high demand, constantly on-call (in the smaller communities) but I loved it! and you get compensated well.

One of the more challenging things about it is getting in but if you can do it, DO IT! I left after 15 years and I’ve since been offered amazing opportunities, especially as an Inuk. Within the professional fields, RCMP officers are regarded highly - knowing the the extensive application process. But like the Old Trapper said - there are many others also.
BUT - the RCMP is in desperate need of more Inuit / Inuktitut speaking officers in Nunavut and they will help / or SHOULD be helping you get through the application process as best as they could.
As it’s not all front-line police work - in my years I had 4 completely different jobs within from general duty (beat cops), to a drug awareness officer and even on the Prime Ministers Detail. APPLY! it can be a great career!

#4. Posted by Andy on April 06, 2018

Thank you The Old Trapper, I could not agree more. Every job has an importance in one way or another. Saving lives, protecting our citizens from natural or human forces are highly valued, but I also respect all other employees, being a custodian, clerk, a trades person or office administrator for example. All have their role in our society and are needed to maintain a functional country

#5. Posted by The Old Trapper on April 07, 2018

As Taivitii said the RCMP can be a very rewarding career, and I certainly mean no disrespect for the men and women who choose this as a career. The vast majority of RCMP members I have know go far beyond their normal duties to help the community.

I do want to say to the youth that you can have a rewarding career, be it RCMP, teacher, Doctor, nurse, firefighter, military, pilot, vet, etc. It all starts with staying in school, work hard, play hard, and you will succeed. You have a lot more options than just working for the GN in an office pushing paper.

You could even become a lawyer like James who gives back to the community in many ways including this column.

#6. Posted by Fred on April 07, 2018

Old Trapper,

I’ve worked in the private sector for more years than most Nunavummiut have been alive.

I agree with you about all the rewarding careers that are available.

But, you know what, none of those careers are available to people who live in parts of the world where there is no functioning government.

We need some people pushing paper in GN offices.

More than that, we need honest, competent, dedicated, hard working paper pushers who are willing to work in anonymity, so others can have the rewarding and glamorous careers.

#7. Posted by Thugs in perpetuity on April 07, 2018

The RCMP is a self protecting, government sanctioned gang.

#8. Posted by Paul Murphy on April 08, 2018

All good comments and then we have #7. Your anonymous name says it all.

#9. Posted by The Other Side on April 08, 2018


I have no direct experience with the RCMP, but a friend of mine joined the police in Washington, DC. 

He was 6 foot 2 inches tall, a fitness extremist who would ‘drop and do 50 pushups for no reason at all, without breaking a sweat’, he had a university degree in philosophy, he was part Native American, he had the biggest smile you ever saw, and I never saw him angry at anyone. 

He applied because he “wanted to make a difference”. He was exactly what they said they were looking for and he had no trouble getting hired.

He quite 6 months after he was hired, and he never spoke about his experience as a police officer.

So, maybe there’s some truth in the comment by #7, too.

#10. Posted by James on April 09, 2018

The comments about other jobs being important are very true—I certainly didn’t mean to disrespect firefighters, members of the Forces and other emergency workers!  That said, if you are looking for a career and are otherwise suitable the RCMPolice is a great option!

#11. Posted by Lawman on April 10, 2018

How long do you think thugs and crooks would strut around, playing
the big shot if there were no police or lawyers protecting them?
  In 1979 my cousin, who was in West Africa, saw about 20 serious
criminals executed at a public firing squad, and they were screaming
for civil rights, justice,mercy, and whatever else.
I also know of two young hardcases from Nunavut, who ran for the
police in Montreal, screaming for protection, because some bikers were
after them.
Like your comment #8.

#12. Posted by James on April 10, 2018


The police are a necessary part of public hygiene - like a water supply.  Sometimes the water supply is tainted and sometimes police are bad - look at some corrupt countries.  But that says we need to fix the problem and not to eliminate the police.  Having young Nunavutmiat join the RCMPolice is a great way to make sure the police understand and care about Nunavut.

Remember my personal information

Notify me of follow-up comments?