Canada hired more female police officers in 2022, while the number of racialized officers remained unchanged

Of note:

The representation of women in police departments across Canada continued to increase in 2022, according to a new report by Statistics Canada, while the number of racialized officers remained largely the same.

More than 2,000 police officers and nearly 1,900 recruits were hired in 2021/2022, an increase of about 900 between the categories compared to the year before, the report says.

That year, 15 per cent more female officers were hired than the year before and 16 per cent more female recruits were hired. Recruits are people training to be police officers.

Overall, women represented 23 per cent of police officers in 2022, while just eight per cent of the police force comprised racialized officers, the report says.

Number of women officers continues to increase steadily

Police services in the country have been hiring more and more women since 1986, the report notes, when data on gender was first collected. At the time, women represented less than 4 per cent of all officers in Canada.

As of May 2022, there are more than 16,000 women working in Canadian police departments, up by more than 270 compared to 2021.

Most women on the force last year held positions as constables, making up about 24 per cent of all such positions in the country.

While women still represent a slightly smaller portion of senior and nonsenior ranks (commissioned and non-commissioned), the number of officers is rising on both fronts.

In 2022, 18 per cent of senior officers were women — the highest number recorded to date.

Racialized officers continue to represent less than 10 per cent of the force

While 26.5 per cent of Canada’s population was racialized in 2021, according to census data, only eight per cent of all police officers were racialized in 2022, the report found.

The figure did not change from 2021.

The report notes efforts are underway to boost diversity and inclusion among the ranks, highlighting the importance of representing the diversity of the population among police.

Racialized recruits, training to be police officers, did increase by three percentage points compared to 2021. That year, 11 per cent of recruits were people of colour, while the same was true for 14 per cent of recruits in 2022.

In the RCMP, racialized officers made up 13 per cent of personnel. In municipal services, they made up seven per cent.

Indigenous populations, meanwhile, made up five per cent of people in Canada in 2021, and four per cent of police in 2022.

In First Nations police services, more than half of officers identified as Indigenous.

They comprised 7 per cent of the RCMP, one per cent of officers in municipal police and two per cent of those in the Sûreté du Québec and Ontario Provincial Police, the report says.

Police operating expenditures increased by 12 per cent

Across the country, police services spent $18.5 billion in 2021/2022 on operating budgets.

After factoring in inflation, operating expenditures increased by eight per cent. That amounts to $342 per person for the 2021/2022 year, the report adds.

Salaries and wages accounted for 67 per cent of expenses, benefits were 17 per cent and other operating expenditures accounted for 16 per cent of the money.

The report credits the implementation of the first collective agreement for RCMPmembers and reservists, in part, for the increase.

Since a reckoning hit police services across the country in 2020, many anti-racism advocates have called for police funding to decrease or for services to be abolished altogether.

Others have made the case for initiatives such as new body cameras, that have added funding to police, and some have called for more police in the face of growing violence, as has sometimes been the case in Toronto.

‘Police strength’ decreases despite an increase in number of officers

The number of police officers compared to the Canadian population had been relatively stable for two years, but that rate decreased in 2022, the report says.

In 2022, the rate of “police strength” was 181 officers per 100,000 population, down one per cent from 2021.

This rate decreased despite there being about 70,560 police officers in 2022 — 400 more than the year before — due to the growth in the Canadian population.

This occurred as police calls increased by 2.7 per cent, which the report points out happened as pandemic restrictions eased and fewer people stayed at home.

The report also notes that civilian employees — clerks, communications staff, managers and other administrative professionals — are making up more police employees.

Source: Canada hired more female police officers in 2022, while the number of racialized officers remained unchanged

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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