RCMP recruiting

RCMP recruiting

Due to an aging force, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) is actively recruiting to continue meeting Canada's policing needs. Society changes every decade, and so do the RCMP recruiting qualifications. Right now, about 15 to 20 times more people apply to the RCMP than the target hiring goal. Salary, social status, and traditions are all reasons why so many are willing to be hired as an RCMP constable.

In the 1980s and early 1990s the RCMP implemented hiring goals to increase the ratio of members of specific races, ethnicities, and genders. At that time, the force make-up was almost totally composed of white males. The new hiring initiative, coupled with low overall hiring due to the small number of retirements and the weak Canadian economy, rendered the possibility of white males joining the force rather small. The minority hiring initiative along with a court decision that allowed an RCMP officer to wear a turban while working generated a great deal of controversy. The RCMP never managed to hire as many women as men. (One key reason being that only 20 per cent of applicants are women). As for races and ethnicities, the force managed to increase the number of visible minorities but not to the same proportion as Canadian society.

The actions by the RCMP were, in general, wrongly perceived by applicants and RCMP officers themselves. It was once believed that the RCMP lowers the passing marks or the cut-off lines of their initial eligibility test in order to hire females and visible minorities, however this is not the case. Upon writing the initial entrance exam (RPAB), applicants are requested to indicate their race and gender. This is then used to compete applicants of the same minority against each other rather than being drowned out by the multitude of white male applicants.

A common complaint among Aboriginal members of the RCMP is Racial Geographical Predetermination, known to some as 'Ghetto-ization'. The RCMP is currently the police service of the majority of First Nations within Canada. These First Nations now have a choice of where they obtain their police service from, placing the RCMP in a position where they must now compete to retain these policing contracts. One of the demands of most First Nations is for the majority of the police officers to be of Native descent. While the RCMP has drastically increased the number of aboriginal members within the force, it is caught in a position where to satisfy demand from its clients, it must continually have aboriginal members for its First Nations contracts. With a small percentage of the force still being made up of Aboriginal members this group is kept in high rotation for Aboriginal Policing contracts. These positions are known as some of the most demanding positions, are usually isolated, and are certainly some of the most stressful. Aboriginal members report not being offered many of the same opportunities as their non-native counterparts, as they are constantly pressured to return to Aboriginal Policing within the force.


In the early to mid 1980s all the way to now, the RCMP started to hire older individuals. Members starting their careers in their 30s are now commonplace; those in their 40s are numerous while those doing so in their 50s are rare exceptions. Prior to the early 1980s, the RCMP was aiming to recruit new members aged from 19 to about 25. The practice was relatively customary of those days, and also grounded on three precise beliefs from the RCMP. First, policing could not be the second career of an individual. Second, young men were more moldable than older individuals to the police subculture. Third, criminal activity was linked to adulthood. By hiring young adults, the RCMP secured more chances that those individuals would have a crime free background.


Today, applicants are required to be Canadian citizens. In the late 1950s, both Canadian and British citizens were able to join the ranks.


In the past century, the level of education continued to increase in Canadian society. Educational increment along with the complexity of the RCMP officer's daily tasks and duties rendered formal education more important in the eyes of the force. The population as a whole is now more educated, and so are citizens who join the RCMP. In the past, the requirement had been a 7th-grade or 10th-grade completion. Now, the RCMP formally requires a high school Canadian diploma in order to meet the basic hiring qualifications, although many cadets are now community college graduates or have degrees from Canadian universities. In certain cases, some are even master's degree holders. A debate can be generated about the RCMP hiring policies. The force itself has never formally expressed its position on higher education and hires Canadian citizens with a variety of educational backgrounds. On one side, the basic requirements still call for a Canadian secondary school diploma and on the other, RCMP recruiters are clearly mentioning that the force is looking for diverse life experience. Although many candidates who are refused are university graduates, some cadets at RCMP depot have nothing more than a high school diploma along with life and community volunteer experience.

Height and weight

Another recruiting change that happened in the last 30 years is the removal of height and weight requirements. Before the 1970s, the RCMP hired only men of a certain height and weight. Often, a "good" candidate weighed over 200 pounds (90 kg) and stood at or above six feet (180 cm). Today, the RCMP still maintains physical requirements as a part of the recruiting process; however, the requirement is a timed cardiovascular and strength exercise task rather than specific absolute body measurements. The requirements simulate the physical demands placed on the body of actual RCMP officers facing an immediate physical confrontation.

Marital status

In the 1960s, new members had to be single at recruitment, and keep that civil status for the first five years of service. This, however, is no longer the case.

Political influence

Many have argued that in the 1960s political influence was present if not prominent in the recruiting process. Today, it appears that such practice is only part of history.


Ever since the late 1980s, the RCMP has its recruits sign a cadet's agreement, under this agreement cadets must be willing to serve anywhere in Canada to suit the needs of the RCMP. During the final stages of Depot training cadets provide the RCMP with three preferred Regions and five Divisions to start their careers. The RCMP has a total of four Regions; Pacific, North West, Central and Atlantic. Each Regions has an average of three Divisions (provinces). Cadets are generally posted to one of the supplied divisions which would suit the needs of the RCMP.

In prior years leading to the early 1980s, some RCMP recruits were signing special contracts where the force had to post them in specific regions where they could spend their complete careers.


Some qualifications required by the RCMP have remained the same over the years while others have changed. In 1974 the RCMP hired about 20 women in order to create a female troop. They were sent to the RCMP Academy, Depot Division for training. In the past, many police forces had employed women, especially for civilian duties. This time however, it was different. The RCMP hired women to carry the exact same duties as their male counterparts. It has been a major change in the RCMP and the police overall.

Application Process

Information Session

Applicants must first attend a two-hour information session usually held in the main cities of a province. The information session is usually conducted by a member of the recruiting section and is in place so that applicants are fully aware of what becoming and being a member of the RCMP is all about.

RPAB (RCM Police Aptitude Battery)

After attending the information session applicants are scheduled to write their initial entrance exam, the RPAB, which consists of the RPAT and the SFPQ. Prior to 2004 the test was called the RPAT (RCM Police Aptitude Test), and did not include the second component called the SFPQ (Six-Factor Personality Questionnaire). The RPAT is designed to evaluate an applicant's potential aptitude for police work. The test measures seven skills that are essential in completing the duties of a police officer. These skills include Composition (Spelling, Grammar, and Vocabulary), Comprehension, Memory, Judgement, Observation, Logic, and Computation.

The second test of the RPAB is the SFPQ, which measures an applicant's conscientiousness, a concept not measured by the RPAT. This measure of conscientiousness is being introduced due to its close relationship with concepts such as honesty, integrity and commitment. Conscientiousness is defined as behavior governed by or conforming to the dictates of conscience; principled. The SFPQ has 108 questions and takes approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete. Each question is written as a statement about which a person is asked to what extent they agree or disagree.

An applicant’s RPAB aggregate score is based on both the RPAT score and the SFPQ’s conscientiousness score. The total score will be composed of roughly 60% RPAT and 40% SFPQ scores. Applicants will receive written feedback on their performance for both tests including a score for each of the seven components of the RPAT.

The aggregate (RPAT & SFPQ) score is not currently being used starting in Sept 2005 for selection in the RCMP selection process. If an applicant receives the minimum score of 3.2 out of 5.0 they will receive the application package and continue in the RCMP application process. No other factors are used to determine eligibility in this stage of the RCMP selections process other than the minimum RPAT score. For the testing period April 2004 to March 2005, the mean English RPAT score was 3.480, with a standard deviation of 0.532. This means that roughly two-thirds of the applicants who wrote the RPAT scored higher than the required minimum score.

If one fails the RPAB or is required to re-write it, he or she must wait a minimum of 365 days from the date the applicant last wrote.

The Package

After receiving their RPAB marks, the applicant is placed on the IRL (Initial Ranking List). This is a list that ranks an applicant based on their scores on the RPAB. The applicant will be listed on the IRL however the IRL is not being used for selection and distribution of the Selection Packages starting Sept 2005. The package consists of several forms that the applicant must fill out, as well as instructions on what the applicant must obtain before proceeding to interview, i.e. , high school transcripts, passport photos. Applicants are usually given about 3 weeks to return the package to their recruiting office.

PARE (Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation)

The Physical Abilities Requirement Evaluation (PARE) is a job related physical ability test which is designed to simulate a critical incident where a police officer chases, controls and apprehends a suspect. The test was developed by exercise scientists and is based on extensive research, including a thorough job analysis. One may not take the PARE without first receiving medical clearance from a doctor.

The PARE test is currently free of charge as long as you are an active applicant to the RCMP. Upon passing, a PARE certificate will be issued and is valid for six months. If the certificate expires during the recruiting process, the applicant will be required to be re-tested at the expense of the RCMP. Should candidates fail to maintain PARE certification, enrolment/engagement will be refused.

Regular Member Selection Interview

Applications are scheduled for an interview 4 to 8 weeks following submission of the application package. The interview consists of two components: First, a suitability interview in which the applicants skills and traits are evaluated is conducted. Second, applicants are required to undergo a pre-employment polygraph examination. This examination is used to determine the suitability of the candidate being considered for employment by the RCMP.

The interviews are done by one to two officers, and usually last around 4 hours. During the interviews, applicants are pressed to recall and describe specific examples that demonstrate they have the skills required to become a member of the R.C.M.P. Following the interview, applicants are warned to never discuss the contents of the interview questions to anyone, including other R.C.M.P. officers.

Medical Clearance

All applicants are required to go through several medical test including: Chest X-rays, ECG, Urinalysis, blood tests, hearing test, dental exam, optical exam, and a full medical/physical with an RCMP physician. Applicants may be deferred/rejected at this point for an illness or condition that may prevent the applicant from performing the regular duties during training at the RCMP Academy, Depot Division.

Background Investigation

The security papers the applicant filled out when he/she received the package will now be verified. Normally the background investigator will both call and visit places of employment up to 10 years back, places of residence up to 10 years back, friends, family, relatives, co-workers, supervisors and landlords. The applicant will also have a full credit check, and criminal records check, among other things. This part of the process normally takes anywhere from 3-8 months to complete, depending on the extensivity of the applicant's background (i.e. how many places the applicant has lived or worked).

The background investigation is generally the last step in the process. After the investigation is done the applicant receives a conditional letter of enrollment. After signing and returning the letter, and after passing another PARE test, the applicant is then assigned a troop number and "Depot date"; that is, the date the applicant is to report to Depot.

External links

* [http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/recruiting/index_e.htm Official

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