Timeline of Canadian Federal Police forces

Canadian Special Police Forces Timeline

As promised, I’ve completed the first draft of a little timeline project on the various “special” police forces of Canada. By “special police force”, I mean those policing entities with a federal mandate. Some police entities may have only had provincial authorities, but were merged into a federal police force. I believe that only the Newfoundland Ranger force falls into that category. While building this timeline, I noticed a few oddities between widely published times and the 1919 report on the operations of the Military Service Act. The discrepancies are enough that it warrants indepth research. For now, the timeline follows the more commonly known timelines.

Here is the list police entities covered by the timeline:

  • Dominion Police (1868 – 1920): Primarily used to provide protection to federal buildings and persons. They had enforcement powers of arrest and fingerprinting.
  • North-West Mounted Police (1873 – 1904):  Frontier enforcement in the NorthWest Territories.
  • Royal North-West Mounted Police (1904 – 1920): Extension of the NWMP. The addition of “Royal” by King Edward VII for heroism in the Second Boer War.
  • Canadian Military Police Corps (Military) (1917 – 1920): CMPC was stood up to enforce the Military Service Act, 1917.
  • Canadian Military Police Corps (Civil) (1918 – 1920): A Special Dominion Police force to apprehend defaulters, who were outside the purview of CMPC. Dominion Police, RNWMP and CMPC (Civil Branch) merged to create RCMP
  • Royal Canadian Mounted Police (1920 – Present): ’nuff said.
  • Canadian Provost Corps (1939 – 1968): When the CMPC disbanded, there was no centralized military police force. Each unit alloted soldiers to play provost. The Canadian Provost Corps stood up at the outset of WWII to fill the gap left by the CMPC.
  • 1st Provost Company (RCMP) (1939 – 1945): one of two companies created when the Provost Corps was established. The RCMP was ordered to supply the unit strength for the 1st Provost Company, which was reabsorbed by the RCMP on 18 Oct 1945.
  • Newfoundland Ranger Force (1935 – 1949): Newfoundland did not immediately join the confederation of Canada. The Dominion of Newfoundland created the Newfoundland Rangers, which were modeled after the RCMP. When Newfoundland joined the Confederation of Canada, the Rangers merged with the RCMP.
  • Canadian Armed Forces Military Police (1968 – Present): Established when the Canadian military unified it forces into the Canadian Armed Forces. Each branch had an independent police force which merged into the CAF (or CF) military police. (NOTE: I haven’t looked into Canadian military police forces beyond WWI. Furthermore, I only have cursory knowledge of non-CMPC military police forces.)

Most of the years aren’t important. I included them as mainly filler. I will add highlights for Boer, WWI, WWII, and possibly a few other key dates.

1. RCMP: http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/en/history-rcmp
2. Newfoundland Ranger Force: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newfoundland_Ranger_Force
3. Dominion Police: http://mpmuseum.org/ww1dominion.html
4. North-West Mounted Police: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North-West_Mounted_Police
5. Canadian Provost Corps: http://canadianprovostcorps.ca/history-0.htm
6. Operations of the Military Service Act, 1917 (pg 21-22): https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uiug.30112049607077;view=1up;seq=34

Additional Resources:
1. Dominion Police: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominion_Police
2. Canadian Provost Corps: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_Provost_Corps#Canadian_Military_Police_Corps