Town of Coaldale Receives Annual Police Funding Equalization Grant from the Province


On Friday, April 12, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services, Mike Ellis, travelled to Coaldale to announce that moving forward, Coaldale will no longer be required to pay for RCMP policing at 100% of the cost.


Ellis Presser

For nearly a decade, the Town of Coaldale has been overpaying for RCMP policing by 30%.

On March 23, 2014, Coaldale Town Council voted to retain the services of the RCMP as the municipality’s police provider and enter into a Municipal Police Service Agreement with Public Safety Canda. It did so because by retaining the services of the RCMP, Coaldale Town Council assumed that Coaldale would receive policing at 70% of the cost - a rate that every RCMP policed municipality between 5,000 and 14,999 in Canada receives.

Unfortunately, despite being geographically located on the Red Coat Trail and having been policed by the RCMP up until 1954, from 2015 onward the federal government has maintained that because Coaldale is an entirely “new entrant” to RCMP policing (ie. that because Coaldale never was “previously policed by the RCMP”) it must pay for policing services at 100% of the cost.

Fast forward to 2024 and approximately 4 million dollars in overpayments later, and the provincial government has decided enough is enough. On Friday, April 12, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Services, Mike Ellis, travelled to Coaldale to announce that moving forward, Coaldale will no longer be required to pay for RCMP policing at 100% of the cost. By providing the Town with an annual policing equalization grant, the province will offset Coaldale’s uniquely high policing costs and, in so doing, rectify a long-standing federal injustice towards the Town.

“Coaldale’s unfair treatment is the result of the federal government’s unwillingness to be flexible and consider the needs of small-town Alberta,” said Minister Ellis. “Where the federal government is unwilling to act, Alberta’s government is stepping in to ensure the residents of Coaldale are safe and protected with stable and predictable police funding. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to ensure our communities are safe places to live, work and play.”

“Coaldale has been required to pay the full amount of the policing bill for far too long,” said MLA Grant Hunter, Parliamentary Secretary for Agrifood Development. “They are the only community in our country that has been forced to do this. The federal government have been petitioned multiple times to rectify this issue but have refused. Today is a good day! Today our provincial government have stepped up and done what the federal government should have done long ago… funded Coaldale’s policing needs.”

“As a municipality, we’ve always been pleased with our local RCMP detachment, especially under the direction of our current Staff Seargent., Mike Numan”, said Town of Coaldale Mayor Jack Van Rijn. “But that doesn’t change the fact that for nearly a decade, Coaldale’s been the only municipality in Canada under 15000 that receives policing from the RCMP at 100% of the cost. To be sure, we’ve tried engaging the federal government on this issue, but ever since 2015 our engagement efforts have fallen on deaf ears. Thankfully, that hasn’t been the case with our provincial government. With the help of Minister Ellis and his team, we’ve been able to find a made-in-Alberta solution to an Ottawa induced problem that will stand to benefit our community for years to come.”

“Coaldale has been overpaying for policing for most of my tenure as an elected official, and so to see this issue finally get resolved is a major win for our Council and a proud moment for our entire community”, said Jacen Abrey, three-term Councillor for the Town of Coaldale. “I’d like to thank Minister Ellis and his team for working with our Council and administrative staff on this file and, furthermore, for stepping up to right a long-standing federal wrong that to this day Ottawa refuses to acknowledge, let alone take responsibility for.”


  • Coaldale has been policed by the RCMP under a municipal policing agreement with Public Safety Canada since 2016 – but unlike every other community its size with a municipal RCMP contract, Coaldale pays 100 per cent of the cost.
  • Coaldale has been denied federal funding on the basis that it switched to the RCMP after Public Safety Canada created the New Entrants Guideline in 1992, a provision that ended the federal subsidy for communities that were never policed by the RCMP.
  • Coaldale was, in fact, policed by the RCMP for several decades before forming its own police service in 1954.

History of policing in Coaldale:

  • 1905-1916: RCMP (municipality under jurisdiction of provincial police service)
  • 1917-1931: Alberta Provincial Police, augmented by RCMP
  • 1932-1953: RCMP (municipality under jurisdiction of provincial police service)
  • 1954-2003: Coaldale Police Service
  • 2004-2015: Lethbridge Regional Police
  • 2016-present: RCMP (municipal policing agreement)