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Description found in Archives
Fonds consists of
Place of creation
No place, unknown, or undetermined
1 photograph b&w.
213 architectural drawings
18 technical drawings
1 remote sensing image
Scope and content
Fonds consists of records created and/or maintained by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and its predecessors. Researchers are cautioned that unprocessed textual records and records in other media are not reflected in this description.
Conditions of access
Copyright belongs to the Crown.
Photographs: Copyright expired. Credit RCMP and National Archives of Canada.
Cartographic material : Copyright belongs to the Crown. Credit Library and Archives Canada.
Architectural, technical drawings: Copyright belongs to the Crown. Credit Library and Archives Canada.
Finding aids are available. See lower level descriptions and accession records in ArchiviaNet (the NA website). (Other)
Creator / Provenance
Biography / Administrative history
The North West Mounted Police (NWMP), predecessor to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP), was established in 1873 by "An Act Respecting the Administration of Justice and for the Establishment of a Police Force in the North West Territories" (36 Vic., c.73). The prefix "Royal" was conferred on the North West Mounted Police through the Coronation Honours List published 24 June 1904. An act to amend the Royal North West Mounted Police Act (RNWMP) was passed and assented to on 10 November 1919 (10 Geo. V, c. 28). Among other provisions, the act provided for a change in name to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.
At the time of its inception, the NWMP was responsible for policing the territory from the western boundary of Manitoba to the Rocky Mountains. The general duties of the force included the establishment of law and order, pacification of the aboriginal inhabitants of the region and the collection of customs dues. North West Mounted Police posts were first established in 1874 at Fort Macleod and Fort Pelly. The NWMP expanded into the Keewatin District at the request of the Lieutenant-Governors of Manitoba and the North-West Territories in 1889 (NA, RG 18, volume 32, file 249, 1889). In 1904 an NWMP expedition was made to the Hudson's Bay area to open M Division and establish Canadian sovereignty (NWMP, Annual Report, 1904, part IV). On 1 March 1905 N Division was established to operate in the Athabasca District (RNWMP, Annual Report, 1905, pp. 27-30).
During the same year a temporary agreement was made between the newly created provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan to retain the services of the Royal North West Mounted Police. The agreement was renewed in 1910 (P. C. 2116, 29 October 1910). Effective 1 January 1917, the RNWMP was relieved of all police duties on behalf of the Provinces of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta for the duration of the First World War. In the years that followed, amendments to the Royal North West Mounted Police Act expanded the scope and responsibilities of the re-named force. As a result of the 1919 amendment, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police absorbed the Dominion Police Service and its functions, most notably those dealing with security and intelligence matters. The revised act extended the RCMP's authority to the whole of Canada and resulted in the reorganization of the force into four branches: Criminal Investigation, Intelligence, Finance and Supply and the Adjutant's Office. As a reflection of the force's national role, authorization was given to move RCMP headquarters from Regina, Saskatchewan to Ottawa. In accordance with the "Royal Canadian Mounted Police Act"(R. S. C. 1927, c. 160), the RCMP signed an agreement with the Saskatchewan government in 1928 to take over the responsibility for maintaining law and order from the provincial police (P. C. 580, 14 April 1928). In 1932 the RCMP made similar agreements with five other provinces: Alberta (P. C. 243, 3 February 1932); Manitoba (P. C. 541, 8 March 1932); Nova Scotia (P. C. 676, 29 March 1932); New Brunswick (P. C. 721, 31 March 1932); and Prince Edward Island (P.C. 858 19 April 1932). Effective 1 April 1932 the Royal Canadian Mounted Police also assumed the responsibilities of the Preventive Service of the Department of Revenue, most notably the prevention of smuggling and the enforcement of the Excise Act (P. C. 857, 16 April 1932). During 1932 a Marine Section of the RCMP was established and staffed by seafaring ranks (P. C. 166/2293, 4 November 1932 and P.C. 202/2055, 12 December 1932). In 1938 B Division, Yukon Territories, and G Division, Northwest Territories, were amalgamated and their headquarters was located in Ottawa (RCMP, Annual Report, 1939, p. 45).
With Canada's declaration of war in September 1939 and the passage of the War Measures Act (5 Geo. V, c.2) and Defence of Canada Regulations (P. C. 2483, 3 September 1939), the RCMP faced increased responsibilities. The force surveyed vulnerable assets such as railways and bridges and, in consultation with private corporations and public utilities, planned for their protection. In 1939 the RCMP began registering `enemy aliens' and arresting and interning known Nazi Agents (RCMP, Annual Report, 1940, pp. 8-10). When hostilities with Japan commenced in late 1941, the RCMP carried out a program of registering all residents of Japanese descent and assisted the British Colombia Security Commission in their removal from coastal areas. The RCMP also assisted in the confiscation and disposal of Japanese property. With the completion of the Alaska Highway in 1943 RCMP detachments were located along the Yukon portion of the road to provide supervision over its use (RCMP, Annual Report, 1944, p. 54). After the close of the Second World War, the Marine and Air Divisions of the force were re-established and re-equipped (RCMP, Annual Report, 1946, p. 19). In 1950 the RCMP completed agreements to assume the responsibilities of the provincial police services in British Columbia and Newfoundland (P. C. 1/4175, 28 August 1950 and P. C. 2/4175, 28 August 1950). In 1984, in the wake of the MacDonald Commission, many of the security and intelligence functions carried out the RCMP were assumed by the newly-created Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) (SC 1983-1984, c. 21; RSC 1985, c.C-23, s.3(1)). (It should be noted by researchers that the RCMP records on security and intelligence matters dated prior to 1984 are contained in the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service Fonds).
The administrative relationships of the North West Mounted Police changed frequently during the first two decades of its existence. Originally under the control of the Department of Justice, the NWMP was placed in the Department of the Secretary of State in 1876 (P. C. 364, 20 April 1876). In 1878 control of the force was transferred to the Department of the Interior (P. C. 957, 14 November 1878), and then to the Department of Indian Affairs in 1883 (P. C. 2122, 17 October 1883). The next change came in 1887, when control of the NWMP was transferred to the President of the Privy Council (P. C. 1973, 3 October 1887). In 1889 control of the force was shifted to the Department of Railways and Canals (P. C. 2741, 29 November 1889), then back to the President of the Privy Council in 1891 (P. C. 1360, 17 June 1891). In 1921, two years after the Royal Canadian Mounted Police came into existence, management and control of the force was transferred to the Department of Justice (P. C. 3603, 21 September 1921). Early in 1922 control of the force was shifted to the Department of Militia and Defence, only to be returned to the Department of Justice two months later (P. C. 324, 10 February 1922 and P. C. 923, 26 April 1922). Finally, in 1966 responsibility for the force was transferred to the Solicitor General of Canada (P. C. 1965-2286).
From its humble beginnings at Fort Macleod and Fort Pelly, the North West Mounted Police expanded steadily in the late nineteenth century, but maintained a relatively uncomplicated admistrative structure. From his headquarters in Regina, Commissioner A.Bowen Perry commanded a force of 651 officers, in 11 divisions located in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Yukon and the North West Territories. The modern administrative structure of the force began to take shape with the creation of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in 1919. The original organization of the RCMP consisted of a Commissioner, and four branches, including Criminal Investigation, Intelligence, Finance and Supply and the Adjutant's Office. Between 1928 and 1950 the RCMP made agreements with eight provinces (excluding Ontario and Quebec) to provide police services. Starting in 1928, with the addition of "F" Division the RCMP began to make renewable agreements with the provinces to provide police services. Five such agreements were made in 1932. The provinces involved were Alberta ("K" Division), Manitoba ("D" Division), Nova Scotia ("H" Division), New Brunswick ("J" Division) and Prince Edward Island ("L" Division). In 1950 the RCMP made similar agreements with the British Colombia ("E" Division) and Newfoundland ("B" Division), bringing the number of "land divisions" to 12. A Marine Division and Air Division were opened in 1932.
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